Briefs

Gianforte declares state of energy emergency

BY: - February 13, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte issued Friday an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency to make it easier for carriers to supply propane, heating oil, and diesel fuel during harsh winter conditions, according to an announcement from his office. “Montanans have seen harsh winter weather this week, affecting families who depend on propane and heating […]

Fifth lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

BY: - February 12, 2021

Rep. Ross Fitzgerald, R-Fairfield, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the fifth legislator to receive a positive diagnosis this session. Fitzgerald is a close contact of a legislator who previously tested positive, COVID Panel Chairman Jason Ellsworth said in a news release. The lawmaker was tested on Wednesday and received the diagnosis Friday. He […]

Gianforte: Mask mandate expires

BY: - February 12, 2021

The statewide mask mandate has expired “effective immediately,” according to a new directive issued Friday from Gov. Greg Gianforte. “Individual responsibility remains Montana’s best tool to combat the spread of COVID-19,” read one of his directives. “Montanans are encouraged to wear masks and should follow the best industry practices adopted by any business they visit […]

Superintendent Arntzen delivers State of Education

BY: - February 11, 2021

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen said Thursday she has directed staff to make building industry partnerships a priority. In her State of Education address, Arntzen said she was pleased to join Montanans in a CTE (career and technical education) workforce development “superhighway,” and noted the Office of Public Instruction has developed a one-stop website […]

Voter ID bill passes Senate vote

BY: - February 10, 2021

A proposal to make Montana’s voter identification laws more stringent has received preliminary approval in the state Senate, another step forward for a series of “election integrity” bills supported by Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen and the governor’s office. SB169, sponsored by Sen. Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, builds on existing state law that requires voters casting […]

Bills extending trapping season and allowing snaring of wolves pass second reading in the house

BY: - February 10, 2021

Two bills aiming to increase Montanans’ ability to hunt wolves passed second readings on the House floor Wednesday. House Bills 224 and 225 would allow for the snaring of wolves and extend wolf trapping season dates. Rep. Paul Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, sponsors both bills. As it stands now, registered trappers can use footholds to trap […]

Rep. Beard tests positive for COVID-19

BY: - February 10, 2021

Rep. Becky Beard, R-Elliston, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the House and Senate GOP. She is the fourth lawmaker to receive a positive diagnosis this session. Elliston got tested on Monday and received the diagnosis Wednesday morning. She last worked in-person at the Capitol on Friday and has been working […]

Gianforte to hold first bill-signing ceremony, for liability shield law

BY: - February 10, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte will hold his first bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the Governor’s Reception Room at the Capitol, his office announced in a news release. Gianforte will sign Senate Bill 65, a bill protecting businesses, health care providers, nonprofit organizations, and places of worship from lawsuits if they make a good faith […]

Rep. Putnam tests positive for COVID-19

BY: - February 8, 2021

Rep. Brian Putnam has tested positive for COVID-19, the Legislature announced this weekend. Putnam, R-Kalispell, began feeling symptoms of the virus on Thursday, got tested the next day and received his diagnosis on Sunday morning, said a statement from the House and Senate GOP. He attended virtually last Friday, and will continue to participate in […]

Bill ending same-day registration in Montana passes House

BY: - February 5, 2021

Legislation that would end Election-Day voter registration in Montana has passed out of the state House on a 64-34 vote. It now awaits action in the Senate. The bill, Rep. Sharon Greef’s House Bill 176, cuts off voter registration at noon the day before an election, something Greef, R-Florence, and other proponents say would help […]

Permitless concealed carry bill passes third, final reading in House

BY: - February 5, 2021

A bill that removes restrictions on people’s rights to carry firearms in Montana is heading to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk. House Bill 102, as amended, passed 68-30 on Friday in its third and final reading in the House. Two Democrats were absent; Rep. Derek Harvey, a Butte Democrat, voted to support the bill, and he […]

Fudge’s nomination as HUD head advances

BY: - February 4, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday advanced to the full Senate the nomination of U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The committee’s chair, Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said he’s confident that Fudge will work to address the housing crisis and prevent families from […]