Author

Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Arren Kimbel-Sannit is an Arizona-bred journalist who has covered politics, policy and power building at every level of government. Before getting his dose of northern exposure, Arren worked as a reporter in all manner of Arizona newsrooms, for the Dallas Morning News and for POLITICO in Washington, D.C. He has a special interest in how land-use decisions affect working-class people, which he displayed through reporting on the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the Los Angeles Times and PBS Newshour. He's also covered housing, agriculture, the Trump presidency and more.

MSU College of Nursing receives $101 million gift

By: - August 30, 2021

Montana State University on Monday announced a $101 million gift from a pair of insurance executives to significantly revamp MSU’s College of Nursing, which operates on five campuses throughout the state. The donation, from Texas-based Goosehead Insurance founders Robyn and Mark Jones, will go to new facilities at each campus, five endowed professorships, a scholarship […]

Former DPHHS head Sheila Hogan named Montana Democratic Party director

By: - August 30, 2021

The Montana Democratic Party has hired former Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Sheila Hogan as its executive director, the party announced Monday. Hogan’s pick fills the vacancy created by the departure of labor organizer Sandi Luckey as party director during the summer. Legislator Moffie Funk had been serving in an interim role […]

Montana fire season not over yet, despite rain and cooler temps

By: - August 25, 2021

Montana’s fire season still has weeks — if not months — to go, even with recent rains and cooler temperatures, Gov. Greg Gianforte and other Montana officials said in a press conference in Missoula on Wednesday, repeating calls for increased active forest management and encouraging residents to remain cautious. Gianforte took the opportunity to thank […]

Gianforte: Montana will not impose mask or vaccine mandates

By: and - August 24, 2021

Amid rising COVID-19 delta variant cases locally and across the country, Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday encouraged Montanans to get vaccinated, but he said emphatically that the state would not be shutting down businesses or imposing vaccine or mask mandates. In his first scheduled press conference at the Capitol in months, Gianforte acknowledged the heightened […]

Looming deadline will test consensus in Montana redistricting commission

By: - August 23, 2021

The stakes for the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission have been raised. The body in charge of drawing legislative and congressional maps for the state has spent weeks dealing with the technical side of the process: enumerating mandatory and discretionary criteria for district maps, discussing how to allocate incarcerated people, creating processes for public comment. […]

Gov’s fire briefing: 50 residences have burned this year, top-priority fire is Thorne Creek

By: - August 18, 2021

Montana may be in for a cold, rainy spell, and most of the state might have breathable air for the first time in what feels like forever, but wildfire season is still in full swing. There are 25 active large fires in the state, which has seen 792,000 acres burn so far since January, Gov. […]

Progress on prison gerrymandering on the horizon for Montana redistricters

By: - August 17, 2021

The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission has been wrestling all year with the possibility of counting incarcerated people at their last known home address for the purpose of redistricting, largely due to the difficulty of data collection. It’s an idea that poses a variety of logistical problems: Montana’s Department of Corrections, like many other state […]

Planned Parenthood challenges four Montana abortion bills

By: - August 16, 2021

Planned Parenthood of Montana on Monday mounted a legal challenge to a slate of laws passed in the last session restricting access to abortion, a lawsuit that opponents of the bills have long promised. The suit challenges the bills on constitutional grounds, citing specific privacy protections in the Montana Constitution and the state Supreme Court’s […]

COVID aid commission approves $15 million affordable housing financing program

By: - August 13, 2021

A state commission formed to guide the expenditure of federal COVID-19 aid has recommended approval of a $15 million affordable housing gap financing program, one of several housing and rental assistance initiatives that state officials have greenlit thanks to money from the American Rescue Plan Act and other pandemic assistance packages. The ARPA Economic Transformation […]

Attorney General, lawmakers: Let us have our day in court

By: and - August 12, 2021

Montana’s Attorney General petitioned the state’s highest court this week to reconsider a unanimous order enjoining the Legislature from its quest to obtain a trove of judicial records as part of an inter-branch conflict stemming from the passage of legislation this session overhauling the process for filling vacancies on the court. In a brief filed […]

Proposed changes to Medicaid eligibility continue to receive pushback in interim hearing

By: - August 10, 2021

Healthcare advocacy organizations in a legislative hearing on Tuesday railed against proposed language amending state Medicaid law that will end 12-month continuous eligibility for Medicaid expansion members, warning that the policy change could result in vulnerable Montanans losing their healthcare due to added regulation. The language, part of an amendment to an existing application the […]

New eviction moratorium could buy time to ramp up emergency rental assistance

By: - August 6, 2021

Montana, like states across the nation, has struggled to spend down its emergency rental assistance funds — whether due to hefty documentation requirements that limit some potential applicants, logistical challenges, staffing or a lack of public awareness. The state has awarded $14.3 million to 2,594 households out of an available $352 million for COVID-19 related […]