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.

Biden signs marriage protection act while Montana’s Zephyr looks on

By: and - December 14, 2022

Montana Representative-elect Zooey Zephyr didn’t just make history by becoming the first openly transgender woman to be elected to the Montana Legislature, she watched history on Tuesday in the nation’s capitol. Zephyr, who won election from a district in Missoula, attended Tuesday’s “Respect For Marriage Act” bill signing in Washington D.C., by U.S. President Joe […]

Rep. Beard to fill vacancy in Senate District 40 following Gauthier resignation

By: - December 12, 2022

Rep. Becky Beard was selected to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Terry Gauthier in Senate District 40 by a joint board made up of commissioners from Lewis and Clark and Powell counties held Monday in Helena. Beard won five votes out of the six commissioners, according to Lewis and Clark County Commission Chairman Jim […]

Like cats and dogs: Legislative district divides discussed during public hearing

By: - December 10, 2022

“Do not force a wildcat and a bulldog to share the same cage, the results may not be pretty,” said Columbia Falls resident during a redistricting public hearing on Saturday. Legislators and community members spoke against the proposal to include Columbia Falls and Whitefish in the same house district during a public hearing hosted by […]

Lake County planning to withdraw law enforcement from Flathead Reservation

By: - December 9, 2022

Lake County Commissioners announced Friday they intend to initiate the process of withdrawing from a nearly 60 year-old agreement with the state over criminal jurisdiction over the Flathead Reservation. In both a release announcing the withdrawal and in a legal complaint filed against the state of Montana in the summer, Lake County says that the […]

Streamline permitting, prioritize infill and consider new methods to address Montana housing crisis

By: - December 8, 2022

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s Housing Task Force published a preliminary draft of its second set of recommendations aimed at regulatory changes for state and local governments, and heard public comment during a hearing Wednesday evening.  This round of recommendations looked at streamlining permitting processes, studying and prioritizing infill development to utilize existing infrastructure and investing in […]

Democrats align with aspects of Gianforte’s budget, push for more help for working families

By: - December 7, 2022

Leaders from the Montana Democratic party praised aspects of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s budget, like the child tax credit and property tax relief, but said his plans don’t go far enough to offer long-term relief. House Minority Leader Kim Abbott of Helena said she was “thrilled” Gianforte incorporated a child tax credit into his budget, […]

Redistricting commission votes to put Democrats’ map out for public comment

By: - December 1, 2022

After four days of discussion and revision, Montana’s Redistricting commission voted along partisan lines — with the nonpartisan chair as the tie-breaking vote — in favor of a Democrat proposed legislative map. The map will be open for public comment and likely more changes. “This is a tentative map. I expect robust public comment on […]

Hand-recount affirms Merchant wins Cascade County Clerk and Recorder race

By: - November 29, 2022

A hand recount of ballots in Cascade County confirmed businesswoman Sandra Merchant beat 16-year incumbent Rina Moore by a razor-thin margin to become the county’s next Clerk and Recorder.   The recount concluded Tuesday morning, with Merchant holding a 36-vote lead over Moore. Recounts in Montana can be requested if the margin is less than 1/4 […]

Helena judge to decide on wolf hunting case Tuesday

By: - November 28, 2022

A Helena judge said he will issue a decision Tuesday after hearing arguments over Montana’s wolf hunting regulations on Monday. Defendant Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and plaintiffs WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote, both environmental nonprofits, argued over a motion for a preliminary injunction in front of District Court Judge Christopher Abbott in what an […]

‘I’m humbled it gets to be me’: Zephyr to be the first out trans woman in Montana Legislature

By: - November 18, 2022

When the wheels touched down in Missoula on Nov. 8, Zooey Zephyr was the last to deplane. It was election night, and Zephyr learned she had won her race in House District 100. People sitting next to her told her they were supporters and soon-to-be constituents. On her way off of the plane, Zephyr turned […]

Lawmakers adopt revenue estimates, told to avoid ‘sugar high’

By: - November 17, 2022

Lawmakers were warned on Thursday: Don’t be tempted by the “sugar high.” That was how a temporary bump in revenue was described by economic experts who explained to lawmakers that the numbers seen on the report were more a factor of federal stimulus than change in the state’s steady economic fortunes. Legislators were advised Thursday […]

Montana Department of Corrections researching drones as possible solution to staffing shortage

By: - November 15, 2022

The state Department of Corrections is looking at drones as a potential solution at the Montana State Prison, which has experienced severe staffing shortages along with an overcapacity prison population. Tuesday, legislators and stakeholders heard a presentation on how Nevada is considering using drones as part of a $240 million program to make up for […]