Author

Nicole Girten

Nicole Girten

Nicole Girten is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune as a government watchdog reporter. She holds a degree from Florida State University and a Master of Science from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

The Montana state Capitol in Helena shortly after sunrise on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.

Bill to codify Indian Child Welfare Act in state law gets first hearing

By: - February 3, 2023

A handful of proponents spoke to their personal experiences being raised outside of their Native American culture and the struggle in adulthood to reconnect with their heritage during a hearing on Wednesday at the House Human Services Committee. Leo Thompson said she was placed with a non-Native family as a child and that her parents […]

Legislative redistricting recommendations sent to secretary of state and commission

By: - February 2, 2023

The legislature sent its recommendations for legislative districts to the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission and secretary of state on Thursday. The redistricting commission is meeting next week, Feb 10 and 11, to take the legislature’s recommendations into consideration. The recommendations in Senate Joint Resolution 8 were approved by both chambers and are unchanged from […]

Bills prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors, changing obscenity law pass committee

By: - January 31, 2023

Two controversial bills that galvanized opposition at a couple of lengthy hearings, one prohibiting gender affirming care for minors and the other changing the obscenity law for materials in schools, passed their respective committees Tuesday. Opponents of both bills said there would be an outsized impact to the LGBTQ community in the state if they […]

Montana proposes a bill that would allow doctors to opt out of certain medical procedures

By: - January 30, 2023

A woman comes into an emergency room, and she has a placental abruption. Clinicians pull together a team to get a blood transfer, and things are chaotic in the ER, a scenario painted by Rep. Laura Smith. There’s still a fetal heartbeat, but in order to save the mom’s life, they have to remove tissue […]

State, Powell County investigating suspected homicide at Montana State Prison

By: - January 30, 2023

Montana Department of Corrections and Powell County officials are investigating a suspected inmate homicide at the Montana State Prison, a Montana Department of Corrections news release said Monday. Todd C. Fisher, 49, was pronounced dead on Sunday. He had been incarcerated since 2019 after being convicted in Dawson County for deliberate homicide and tampering with […]

Blackfeet Family Services removes children from shelter overseen by Heart Butte superintendent

By: - January 27, 2023

HEART BUTTE — Blackfeet Child and Family Services removed 11 children from a shelter Thursday on Heart Butte School District property overseen by Mike Tatsey, who is under scrutiny as superintendent for the district. The Feather Woman Healing Lodge is a short-term group shelter for K-12 students. Tribal officials appeared to be shuttering operations at […]

Giffords announces launch of new Montana Coalition of Gun Owners for Safety

By: - January 25, 2023

A gun safety advocacy non-profit founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords announced the launch of a new chapter in Montana on Wednesday. According to a press release, Gun Owners for Safety is a coalition of hunters, sport shooters and collectors, have come together to advocate for common sense gun violence prevention laws and promote […]

Legislators, trans Montanans speak out against ‘Slate of Hate’ bills

By: - January 24, 2023

Legislators, transgender Montanans and the Montana Human Rights Network called out a number of Republican proposed bills as a “Slate of Hate” during a press conference on Tuesday.  Shawn Reagor with the Montana Human Rights Network said that the organization was tracking 54 bills going through the legislature that they see as anti-LGBTQ, including Senate […]

Kalispell City Council holds hearing on proposed park ordinance

By: - January 24, 2023

Kalispell City Manager Doug Russell presented pictures of unhoused people and human feces in Depot Park during a meeting on a proposed ordinance Monday night. “I’m going to go through a series of pictures, and this may be the most troubling thing I’ve done as a city manager in 20 years,” he said. Russell said […]

Committee passes draft redistricting recommendations, questions commission chair

By: - January 20, 2023

A select committee passed recommendations for changes to a proposed legislative district map on Friday following a hearing where Republicans grilled redistricting chair Maylinn Smith. Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission Chair Smith fielded questions from legislators on the commission’s process and how it weighed mandatory vs. discretionary criteria for redrawing the map, like compactness (district […]

Elections conspiracy bill gets hearing, Native Caucus writes letter in opposition

By: - January 20, 2023

Sen. Janet Ellis, D-Helena, said she objected to the use of the phrase “Zuckerbucks” to describe a grant from the nonprofit Center for Technology and Civic Life, during a hearing on Wednesday. Madeline Malisa, one of the proponents for the bill, said “Zuckerbucks” again. The conspiracy is rooted in conservative skepticism surrounding a $350 million […]

Committee takes up prison gerrymandering, precinct sizes

By: - January 19, 2023

Senate Bill 77 would lead to more equitable counts of the Native American community in redistricting by “solving the problem of prison gerrymandering,” proponents said Wednesday in a legislative committee meeting. Prison gerrymandering is a practice wherein incarcerated individuals are counted during the census at the facility where they are serving their sentence as opposed […]