Campus free speech bill passes 11-0; companion HB349 passes 7-4

BY: - March 18, 2021

A bill to protect free speech on public college campuses passed 11-0 on Thursday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Jen Gross, D-Billings, said she remembers as a student being subject to a “free speech zone” near a building no one ever walked by. She said she liked the bill and the “slightly less prominent” […]

Healthcare exchange members may receive premium reductions, Downing says

BY: - March 18, 2021

Montanans who purchase their health insurance through may be eligible for premium savings.  Montana Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing advises anyone enrolled in these health plans to review their policies following the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan. “Individuals enrolled in a plan will not automatically receive the additional subsidies in their monthly […]

Mask lawsuits against Flathead County businesses to end; state will pay $100K in lawyer fees

BY: - March 18, 2021

Following through on a promise made during his State of the State address, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Thursday the state had reached an agreement with five Flathead County businesses to end lawsuits brought against them by former Gov. Steve Bullock for violating the now expired statewide mask mandate. The state will pay out nearly $100,000 […]

Montana to open vaccine eligibility to 16 and older starting April 1

BY: - March 16, 2021

Montana announced Tuesday that everyone 16 years and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting April 1, beating the federal deadline by one month. Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the expanded eligibility at a press conference Tuesday. You do not need a Montana state ID to receive the vaccine. On March 8, Montana […]

Montana launches new institute to improve quality of life for residents

BY: - March 9, 2021

Montana joined the ranks of more than 30 states with the launch of the Montana Public Health Institute in 2020. MTPHI aims to strengthen Montana’s public health system capacity, focusing on its rural, frontier and tribal communities and supporting sound health policy and funding. MTPHI’s work began with programs and services that support Montana’s local […]

Meatpacking inspections bill pass as amended

BY: - March 1, 2021

An amended House Bill 336, which seeks to change meatpacking inspections, passed the House Appropriations Committee 21-3 on Monday. The bill aims to forge an interstate agreement among willing states that would adhere to the same regulations as federally inspected meat-packing plants so that packers and ranchers could market products across state lines. However, the bill’s […]

Montana Dems establish first-of-kind tribal committee

BY: - February 27, 2021

The Montana Democratic Party is now the first state party in the country to establish a Democratic Tribal Committee. On Thursday, the Fort Peck Democratic Tribal committee elected Maria Vega and Lance Four Star to its leadership team. With their election, Maria Vega and Lance Four Star become the first ever Chair and Vice-Chair of […]

Gianforte signs bill that gives more support to schools

BY: - February 26, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 15 into law this week to support K-12 public schools. A news release from the governor’s office said state funding of public schools amounts to 45 cents of every state tax dollar. The bill applies inflationary adjustments to school funding. “Our public schools now have the foundation to prepare […]

Attempt to delay recreational pot rollout gets tabled in committee

BY: - February 26, 2021

A bill that would have delayed the rollout of recreational marijuana in Montana by one year failed to pass out of committee Friday morning. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings, introduced House Bill 457 to the House Business and Labor Committee Friday. In November voters passed Initiative 190 that would allow for the sale […]

House committee approves right-to-work bill

BY: - February 26, 2021

The House Business and Labor Committee passed legislation on Friday enacting right-to-work in Montana, a key step forward for a proposal that would significantly overhaul labor law in the state. The committee voted 11-9 to pass an amended version of House Bill 251, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Hinkle, R-Belgrade. In short, the bill would ban […]

House passes one concealed carry bill while Senate kills another

BY: - February 25, 2021

A pair of bills in the House and Senate to expand the right to carry a concealed firearm in public buildings faced different fates during voting Thursday. The lower chamber passed House Bill 436, sponsored by Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls, on a 66-32 vote. That bill will ban local governments from enacting ordinances preventing […]

Bill to limit absentee ballots tabled

BY: - February 24, 2021

A bill to place significant restrictions on absentee voting was tabled Tuesday in committee — and vocally slaughtered by a couple of lawmakers. “This bill is just probably the worst bill I’ve seen all session if you want the truth of the matter,” said Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth. “It just needs to die.” The bill […]