From electric buses to asphalt: Congress jockeys for federal transportation cash

BY: and - May 21, 2021

WASHINGTON — The nearly $1 billion that U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is seeking through Congress’ revamped earmarks process isn’t a typo. The Louisiana Republican says Baton Rouge desperately needs a new bridge to alleviate a crush of roadway congestion — at a cost of $955.2 million for several projects. That far exceeds the $20 million that […]

UPDATED: KIDS COUNT: Child care critical to modern Montana economy

BY: - May 21, 2021

Last year, Montana counted one licensed child care slot for every three children under the age of 6. If looking at only children with all parents working, Montana meets the need of 48 percent of children who need care. Those are two statistics from the Montana KIDS COUNT report released Thursday from the Montana Budget […]

Gianforte signs $12.6B budget

BY: - May 20, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday signed the state’s $12.6 billion biennial spending plan, fulfilling the Legislature’s sole constitutional authority and enshrining tax and spending cuts that he and allied lawmakers championed this session. The budget comes in more than $100 million slimmer than the proposal that Gianforte brought to the Legislature at the beginning of […]

Gianforte signs HB701, beginning new chapter for marijuana legalization in Montana

BY: - May 18, 2021

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday signed House Bill 701, landmark legislation that implements and regulates the recreational marijuana program that voters approved in a ballot initiative last year and funds a substance abuse prevention program that the new governor has championed since his first days in office. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hopkins, […]

Gianforte signs $275 million broadband bill

BY: - May 11, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed an ambitious, federally funded broadband expansion package Tuesday, enacting a $275 million investment with pledges to close Montana’s digital divide and shake its slump as one of the least connected states in the country. The bill, SB297, leverages COVID-19 aid dollars available from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to improve […]

Rosebud mine owner, union ask for veto on Colstrip fuel source bill

BY: - May 10, 2021

The mining company that supplies the Colstrip power plant with coal is requesting that Gov. Greg Gianforte veto legislation that would exempt the plant operator from compliance with certain state environmental regulations if it seeks to alter fuel sources used at the plant, meaning that Colstrip would circumvent environmental and economic impact reviews, among other […]

More than $350B in federal recovery funds starts rolling out

BY: - May 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — States, cities and counties can begin to tap their share of the $350 billion in federal funds intended to spur a national recovery from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, White House officials announced Monday. The Biden administration said the much-anticipated money, which was included in the massive relief law enacted earlier this […]

Montana to axe expanded unemployment benefits funded by feds, create back-to-work cash bonus

BY: - May 4, 2021

The state Department of Labor and Industry on Tuesday paired its announcement of a new direct payment-based workforce incentive created from federal COVID-19 aid with news that Montana will soon be the first state to decline federally-funded, expanded unemployment insurance benefits related to the pandemic, increased payments that would otherwise be available through September. This […]

That’s a wrap: 67th Legislature is in the book

BY: , , and - May 2, 2021

“The End” — not typically how news stories start, but the end came for the 67th Legislature, and by most accounts, it was one of the most memorable and consequential in the state’s history as a Republican supermajority swept into office, including capturing the governor’s chair. Because of the overwhelming number of Republicans, free to […]

Recreational pot bill headed to governor’s desk

BY: - April 27, 2021

After a whirlwind 24 hours that saw the fate of the bill change dramatically on more than one occasion, the Legislature has passed House Bill 701, landmark legislation that implements the recreational marijuana program that voters approved last year. The state House on Tuesday morning passed the bill as amended by the Senate on third […]

Montana to get second congressional district per Census count

BY: - April 26, 2021

Montana on Monday made history — with the help of number crunchers and surveyors from the U.S. Census Bureau — becoming the first state to lose a congressional seat and then gain one back. The Census announced Monday that Montana would be one of six states to pick up at least one congressional seat — […]

Flagship pot bill emerges from Senate committee

BY: - April 21, 2021

They may have just missed 4/20, by which point they had hoped to see House Bill 701 hit the floor, but a committee of Senate lawmakers succeeded Wednesday evening in passing a heavily amended version of a bill to implement and tax recreational marijuana in Montana, one of the final priorities of a legislative session […]