Blair Miller

Blair Miller

Blair Miller is a reporter based in Helena who primarily covers government, climate and courts. He's been a journalist for more than 12 years, previously based in Denver, Albuquerque and mid-Missouri.

Bill to ban gender-affirming care in Montana clears key House hurdle

By: - March 23, 2023

House Democrats pleaded with their Republican colleagues Thursday to stay out of other Montanans’ health care decisions and reject a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and punish providers.  After addressing her colleagues, Rep. Emma Kerr-Carpenter, D-Billings, looked directly into the camera mounted at the front of the chamber, broadcasting the hearing to […]

Section D subcommittee chair Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings, outlines the Section D portion of House Bill 2 during the second reading floor discussion on the budget for the next biennium on March 22, 2023.

Legislative budget proposal breaks with governor on OPD, prison bed shortage requests

By: - March 22, 2023

The section of House Bill 2 that concerns the judicial branch, law enforcement and justice contains tens of millions of dollars worth of additional investments compared to the past biennium, but breaks with the governor’s requests on certain aspects, like more support for the Office of State Public Defender and how to deal with a […]

Rep. Buckley’s Best Beginnings Scholarship expansion moves forward

By: - March 22, 2023

A bill that aims to expand eligibility for a scholarship that helps lower-income Montanans pay for child care and could help another 723 children is moving forward after some tweaks and a bipartisan vote. Rep. Alice Buckley’s House Bill 648 passed the House Human Services Committee on Friday, as amended, on a 13-8 vote, with six […]

Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings, testifies on House Bills 512 and 518 in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Senate Judiciary hears bills aiming to give legislature, lawmakers powers in lawsuits

By: - March 21, 2023

Rep. Bill Mercer said Tuesday he felt some attorneys would be willing to work for free on behalf of the legislature if the body wants to defend the constitutionality of a bill it passes in court, or if it wants to sue an agency it believes is not adhering to a law it passes. The […]

Rep. Greg Frazer, R-Deer Lodge, presents his House Bill 380 to the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, March 20, 2023.

Proponents say homeless provider grant proposal would have positive community impacts

By: - March 20, 2023

A bill that would provide $2 million over the next biennium in state matching funds to nonprofits and local governments that serve Montana’s homeless population would have positive economic impacts for the communities that receive them beyond what can be measured in the fiscal note, proponents of the measure told the House Appropriations Committee on […]

Bill seeking to cut Montana unemployment eligibility to 20 weeks clears Appropriations Committee

By: - March 18, 2023

Great Falls Republican Rep. Steven Galloway’s bill to cut Montana unemployment eligibility from 28 weeks to 20, which he says will allow business owners to pay their employees more rather than paying into the unemployment insurance trust fund, saw one of the shortest Appropriations hearings of the session Thursday. No one testified as proponents, opponents, […]

The Montana state Capitol in Helena on the opening day of the 2023 legislative session on Jan. 2, 2023.

Appropriations tables state-paid fees and costs for people acquitted in self-defense cases

By: - March 17, 2023

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday tabled a bill that would have required the state to pay attorney’s fees for citizens who are acquitted in cases where they were found to be using justified force as a defense. Lawmakers were concerned by a fiscal note which said the bill would have “unknown” impacts on the […]

Montana lawmakers propose sending up to 120 inmates to private prison in Arizona

By: - March 16, 2023

Montana lawmakers gave initial approval to a budget amendment this week that would allow the state to send up to 120 state prisoners to a privately run facility in Arizona operated by CoreCivic to the tune of nearly $8 million over the next two years. The House Appropriations Committee voted 14-9 Tuesday to approve the […]

Bill seeks to increase eligibility, cap copays for families receiving child care scholarships

By: - March 14, 2023

A bill from Rep. Alice Buckley, D-Bozeman, that has bipartisan support and was heard in committee on Tuesday aims to provide an estimated additional 1,000 children in Montana with Best Beginnings Scholarship program eligibility to offset child care costs for low-income Montana families. House Bill 648 puts the Best Beginnings program into statute, increases the […]

Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls, answers questions from the House Judiciary Committee on her House Bill 405 on Monday, March 13, 2023.

Opponents say citizen-called grand jury constitutional amendment would amount to ‘inquisition’

By: - March 13, 2023

A bill heard in the House Judiciary Committee Monday seeks to send a proposal to voters in the 2024 election that would amend the Montana Constitution to allow groups of citizens to form grand juries which could return indictments county attorneys would be forced to prosecute lest they be indicted themselves. House Bill 405, sponsored […]

Judge approves $1.4M in attorneys’ fees from $4.3M Logan Health data breach settlement

By: - March 9, 2023

The class-action attorneys who reached a data breach settlement with Logan Health are entitled to around $1.4 million in attorneys’ fees – one-third of the $4.3 million settlement – despite objections from the current and former mayors of Kalispell, a Cascade County District Court judge ruled Thursday. Kalispell Mayor Mark Johnson and former mayor Tammi […]

Acid mine drainage at the Crystal Mine within the Basin Mining Area.

EPA announces $65M toward three Montana Superfund site cleanups

By: - March 8, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is putting $65 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law toward cleanups at three Superfund former mining sites in Montana, the agency announced Tuesday. The money will go toward ongoing cleanup efforts at the Basin Mining Area in Jefferson County, the Carpenter Snow Creek Mining District in Cascade County and the […]