Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming.

It’s back: Ankney resurrects NWE bill by amendment

By: - April 23, 2021

Less than two days after a controversial bill to allow NorthWestern Energy to acquire a bigger chunk of coal-fired Colstrip generation died on the House floor, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, resurrected a large portion of the measure, reworking a bill that began its life to allow arbitration for public water disputes. Over the objections of […]

Judiciary panel rejects Levine, supports Ohman, silent on Abbott

By: - April 23, 2021

The Senate Judiciary took three different paths with three different judges on Friday morning, all holdover appointments from former Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat. The judges’ confirmation, historically bipartisan and procedural, has been mired in partisanship as the Legislature has passed or is moving bills to reshape the judiciary. The GOP dominates the House and […]


Colstrip’s future may be forever tied to its past

By: - April 22, 2021

For the past decade or more, lawmakers, politicians and residents have asked the question: What is Colstrip’s future? That’s an understandable question. Coal continues to fall out of favor and demand for electricity rises while renewables increase and natural gas remains abundant and historically cheap. For a moment, I’d like to consider Colstrip’s past. As […]

Governor vetoes wineries bill

By: - April 21, 2021

A bill that was vetoed Monday by Gov. Greg Gianforte would have put new requirements on state wineries and would have grandfathered in existing ones. House Bill 440 passed both the Montana House and Senate respectively with comfortable margins, 66-32 in the lower chamber and 30-20 in the upper. The bill would have required wineries […]

Dems sue to stop changes to voter ID, Election Day registration

By: and - April 20, 2021

Just a day after Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed two laws that would change how and when voters register, attorneys for the Montana Democratic Party have sued to stop them, saying they unfairly disenfranchise young voters, the elderly, Native Americans and the disabled even though not a single case of voter fraud has been documented […]

Proposed law would create abortion review committee for Medicaid

By: - April 20, 2021

A first-of-its-kind abortion review committee for patients who get an abortion using Medicaid funds has been proposed by Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalsipell. In a new amendment that was proposed after House Bill 686 cleared the state’s House of Representatives, Regier created what opponents are calling an “abortion court,” to review whether the state will pay […]

Court enjoins lawmakers’ subpoenas, while Chief Justice issues a letter to legislators

By: and - April 16, 2021

The Montana State Supreme Court made a series of orders on Friday that temporarily suspended legislative subpoenas and allow the high court to slow the process on two different but related cases, which entangled all three branches of state government and stretch the limits of their respective constitutional power. In its order on Friday afternoon, […]

Court administrator appeals to Supreme Court to stop another subpoena

By: - April 16, 2021

The attorney for the Montana high court administrator has made a new emergency motion to the Montana Supreme Court to quash or stop a new subpoena issued to his client, Beth McLaughlin, that would require her to testify before a special select committee of lawmakers on Monday. That same committee, charged with investigating the Montana […]


Can someone get this woman a Pulitzer?

By: - April 15, 2021

I have written plenty of columns about other people. I have written about politicians. A few family members haven’t forgiven me for mentioning them in a column (Dad, I’m looking in your direction). I have even written about fellow staff members. This is the first time I have ever written about another fellow journalist not […]

Governor, Legislature respond to SB140 challenge

By: - April 14, 2021

A mountain of legal briefs were filed Wednesday at the Montana Supreme Court in a battle that entangles all three branches of the state’s government. One lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor that changes the way judges are appointed in the state. Lawyers for Gov. […]

Lawmakers to investigate judiciary while emails show hurried records search

By: and - April 14, 2021

On Wednesday, the Montana Legislature announced it was creating a special select committee to investigate the judicial branch, while emails between Department of Administration Acting Director Misty Ann Giles detail some of the behind-the-scenes efforts to obtain emails of Montana’s court administrator. The committee will examine potential legislation regarding judicial transparency, recusals and other court […]

LaFountain was a piece of Montana history

By: - April 14, 2021

Montana lost a living piece of history on March 24. Staff Sgt. Ernest F. LaFountain died after a year-long battle with cancer. I met him through the “Vietnam Voices” project The Billings Gazette produced during 2015-’16. He was one of nearly 80 Vietnam Veterans I interviewed. Not only did the state lose a Purple Heart […]