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.

Abortion providers file lawsuit against state agency rule restricting Medicaid abortion

By: - April 28, 2023

Abortion providers in Montana filed a lawsuit against the state in district court on a rule they argue would eliminate access for Medicaid-funded abortions in the state, according to a Friday press release. The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU of Montana on behalf […]

UPDATED: House Judiciary secretary quits, joins as staff to Zephyr; committee to meet Monday

By: - April 28, 2023

House Judiciary Committee Clerk Jamie Van Valkenburg quit her job Friday morning to join Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, as her staffer, Van Valkenburg told the Daily Montanan. “Representatives Zephyr called me last night saying ‘Hey, I have this opportunity for you, I would love to have you specifically as part of my staff,’” said Van […]

Zephyr working from bench outside House floor; while her committee meetings cancelled

By: - April 27, 2023

Censured and removed from the Montana House floor, Rep. Zooey Zephyr arrived for work on Thursday morning and made a makeshift “Desk 31,” her desk number assigned by the Legislature, down the hallway just feet away from where 99 other representatives were seated. Zephyr said House Speaker Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, told her she’d have to […]

Bill to increase barriers for third parties on the ballot resurrected, then dies on House floor

By: - April 27, 2023

A Senate bill to increase requirements for third party candidates to get onto a primary ballot was taken off the table in committee, passed and then failed on the House floor. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, would have increased signature requirements for third parties to get on the primary ballot and would […]

After floor ban, Rep. Zephyr says she feels ‘joy and pride’ standing up for constituents

By: and - April 26, 2023

After being banned from the Montana House floor for the last eight days of the 2023 legislative session, Rep. Zooey Zephyr feels like she did the right thing. “I stood up in defense of my community, and I stood up on behalf of my constituents and on behalf of democracy,” she told the Daily Montanan […]

House leadership, public, respond to censure of Rep. Zooey Zephyr

By: , and - April 26, 2023

After the vote to discipline Rep. Zooey Zephyr, Republicans said the outcome was fair and preserved order, but Democrats said banning the Missoula Democrat was a sad symbol for democracy — and unprecedented. Members of the public were quiet compared to the rally to support Zephyr and subsequent protest that erupted in the gallery on […]

Montana House votes to discipline Rep. Zephyr, ban from floor, gallery

By: , and - April 26, 2023

Rep. Zooey Zephyr will not be allowed on the floor or gallery of the Montana House of Representatives for the remainder of the legislative session and will only be allowed to participate via Zoom after Republicans on Wednesday voted to punish the Missoula Democrat for what they said were her breaches of decorum and House […]

House Speaker Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, speaks to the press a day after seven people were arrested in the House gallery protesting his not recognizing Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, on the House floor. Speaker Pro Tem Rhonda Knudsen and Majority Leader Sue Vinton joined him at the news conference.

Montana House cancels Tuesday floor session as leadership considers response to Zephyr protests

By: and - April 25, 2023

The Montana House canceled its floor session on Tuesday as Republican leadership determines its next steps following Monday’s protest in the chamber that led to the arrests of seven people. House Speaker Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, held a brief news conference Tuesday morning in which he said Monday was “a dark day” for the state and […]

The Montana state Capitol in Helena on Jan. 2, 2023.

Attempts to breath life into failed jungle primary bill and bill targeting third parties fail

By: - April 24, 2023

A proposal to try to block U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in the 2024 election again failed to get off the ground in a legislative committee Monday — after being tabled last week. House and Senate committees met with the premise of potentially reviving bills proposed by Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, one of which would have […]

‘Let her speak’: Protesters scream, arrests follow after Speaker doesn’t recognize Zephyr

By: - April 24, 2023

Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, stood at her seat in the Montana House Chamber with her microphone in the air, while the other representatives evacuated the floor as shouts of “Let her speak!” echoed from protesters in the House gallery above. Protesters threw gloves covered in fake blood on the House floor Monday as police with […]

House rejects Senate amendments to MICWA, Indian Education for All

By: - April 22, 2023

The House voted to reject Senate amendments that weakened two bills sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, R- Box Elder, on the floor on Friday. The first bill aims to put the language from the Indian Child Welfare Act into Montana code, but the Senate amendment added a sunset date of two years. The second […]

Cascade County elections group files COPP ethics complaint, Library lawyers up

By: - April 22, 2023

A local elections group in Great Falls filed an ethics complaint against newly elected Cascade County Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant and other county officials alleging electioneering and more than 20 untrained volunteers working in the Elections Office. A newly formed group called the Election Protection Committee said it filed the complaint earlier this week […]