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.

Budget bill clears the House and is headed for the Senate

By: - March 23, 2023

The bill to appropriate more than $14 billion, including federal dollars, for state government for the upcoming two years advanced after a marathon hearing on the House floor Wednesday. House Bill 2 passed second reading on a party line vote, Republicans in favor and Democrats in opposition, after more than a dozen attempts by Democrats […]

Great Falls Public Library Mill Levy election set for June 6

By: - March 23, 2023

The Great Falls Public Library Mill Levy will be held on June 6 as originally planned, a library press release said Thursday. Cascade County Elections Officer Sandra Merchant sent an email in March to the library saying she would prefer the election take place during the September primary election because of strains on the office […]

Presentation for election plan in Cascade County canceled, to be rescheduled for date unknown

By: - March 22, 2023

A planned presentation on how Cascade County will conduct upcoming elections was cancelled as Elections Officer Sandra Merchant tested positive for COVID-19, County Attorney Josh Racki said on Wednesday Racki said the meeting would likely be rescheduled for next week. The presentation was slated to provide details about how the elections will run after Merchant […]

‘Zuckerbucks’ bill heard in House committee; concerns from Native community continue

By: - March 21, 2023

Sen. Shelley Vance, R-Belgrade, said it was never her intention to affect agreements between tribes and counties in a bill that would prohibit private funds from being used to conduct elections in the state. Senate Bill 117 was amended to make sure tribes would be able to donate space or their own funds for the purposes […]

Bill to ban diversity and inclusion training for state employees heard in House committee

By: - March 21, 2023

Sen. Jeremy Trebas, R-Great Falls, provided two examples of situations where he’d heard of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training happening in Montana during a hearing for his bill that would ban such instruction for state employees. One was in a Twitter exchange in which Trebas said a user told him, “‘Soon we’ll be subjected to […]

Bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors is heard in House committee

By: - March 20, 2023

Access to gender affirming care significantly reduces suicide among transgender youth and is needed in a state with an already high suicide rate, opponents to Senate Bill 99 testified on Monday. The bill would ban gender affirming care for minors in the state, with criminal punishments for physicians who provide it. It already passed in […]

Cascade County Elections Office said mail ballots may not be feasible; five elections on horizon

By: - March 17, 2023

Mail-in ballots may be off the table for upcoming local elections in Cascade County as the Elections Office scrambles under new leadership. In January, the Secretary of State’s Office approved Cascade County’s mail ballot election plan. However, on March 10, the county elections officer said a poll election would be held instead. The change caused […]

Bill to define ‘sex’ as male and female passes first hurdle on Senate floor

By: - March 15, 2023

Sen. Mary Ann Dunwell, D-Helena, said a bill that would define sex in Montana code as male and female is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in the country. “It erases human beings from our legal code. It erases trans people, and tens of thousands of Montanans with differences in sexual development. […]

Social Security income tax bill sparks debate, narrowly moves forward

By: - March 14, 2023

Around 20 legislators stood up on the House floor Tuesday when Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, asked those who benefited from a bill that would strike taxes on Social Security income to rise and identify themselves. There were some chuckles and joking as standing clearly signified a legislators age and surely the number of those who […]

Workforce housing served two ways: Proposals from parties differ on how to tackle the shortage

By: - March 14, 2023

One of the biggest barriers to recruiting and retaining staff across industries in Montana is housing, proponents for a bill to infuse $500 million into affordable housing projects said. The workforce housing shortage has been a topic of debate in the legislature this session, with both Republicans and Democrats proposing solutions to the problem. Tirza […]

Senate Finance sends ‘sex’ definition to floor, Dems requesting ‘deep dive’ into fiscal impact

By: - March 13, 2023

A bill to define sex could be costly for the state, the Montana University System, Commissioner of Higher Education and Department of Corrections have assessed. “We’ve also got technical notes that made it clear that there are some credible threats to federal funding statewide, and obviously, that is a huge price tag,” said Minority Leader […]

Governor cites ‘historic’ tax relief, Dems say only for the wealthy

By: - March 13, 2023

Gov. Greg Gianforte touted historic tax relief on the steps of the Montana capitol on Monday as he signed into law six tax slashing bills into law – and one that changes corporate income taxes. The bills include a cut to income tax for top earners from 6.5% to 5.9%, a property tax rebate of […]