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.

Gianforte signs five abortion bills; Dems accuse him of ‘dismantling women’s rights’

By: - May 3, 2023

Gov. Greg Gianforte started off a signing ceremony with fellow Republicans for five abortion bills with a round of applause for “protecting the lives for the most vulnerable amongst us, unborn children.” Legislation signed into law Wednesday includes a bill to ban abortion after 24 weeks; a resurrection of Legislative Referendum-131 with new language after […]

‘Blue Bench Brigade’ protects bench where Zephyr has worked since censure

By: and - May 2, 2023

A group of Helena professionals who work in tech made their way to the Capitol on Tuesday to join a revolving crew of people protecting the bench where Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, has been representing her constituents. “I don’t do well with bullying, and I decided instead of just kind of staying at home and […]

Cascade County ballots put out an hour late, COPP complaint rejected

By: - May 2, 2023

Larry Winship and his wife Cheryl went to the Montana ExpoPark in Cascade County to vote before work at 7 a.m. Problem was: No ballots were ready. Winship said they were asked if they could take a seat for a while, but they both had to get to work. “I don’t know when we’ll get […]

Closed for the people’s business: Montana House gallery lock-out continues; censure rare in Montana

By: and - May 2, 2023

The week after the Montana House took an historic vote on party lines to ban Rep. Zooey Zephyr from the floor, the chamber gallery remained closed to the public, and Zephyr has had to fight to work on a bench in the hall. Members of the public can observe, in person, the work of legislators […]

ACLU of Montana files lawsuit challenging Zephyr censure; Zephyr speaks in committee

By: - May 1, 2023

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana announced it has filed a lawsuit against the state Monday challenging the censure of Rep. Zooey Zephyr, D-Missoula, alleging it was a violation of First Amendment rights and the representation of her constituents. The lawsuit names Speaker Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, and Sergeant of Arms Brad Murfitt as defendants. […]

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 […]