States question whether new federal stimulus law rules out tax cuts

BY: - March 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s massive pandemic stimulus law pumps a welcome infusion of federal aid into state and local government coffers — but one brief section is raising questions about whether states are barred from cutting their own taxes if they accept the federal help. The Senate added language to the COVID-19 relief package prohibiting […]

House committee approves amendment increasing income tax cuts

BY: - March 12, 2021

A House panel on Friday approved and expanded a bill from the governor’s office to cut the top income tax rate, more than doubling the likely cost of the cut to state revenues. The vote came as the committee considered three of the governor’s flagship tax cut proposals, though the House Taxation Committee ultimately decided […]

A good return on investment: New report shows Montana senators benefit from defense lobbying

BY: - March 10, 2021

A new report this week looking at the defense industry and lobbying shows intercontinental ballistic missile contractors directed millions towards politicians and efforts to support a new system, which would be located in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Those lobbying efforts appear to have largely been effective as the United States plans to replace its Minuteman […]

Congress passes giant $1.9 T COVID relief bill

BY: - March 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — A sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after the U.S. House passed the latest pandemic relief measure Wednesday on a party-line vote. The massive bill includes a new round of $1,400 direct checks for many Americans, as well as an extension of expanded unemployment checks to assist […]

Senate imposes limits on aid for state, local governments in COVID relief bill

BY: - March 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to begin debate on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, after drafting a number of revisions that, among other changes, tweak the aid intended for state and local governments. The legislation approved in the House outlines $350 billion in direct aid to state, local governments, territories and […]

House kills right-to-work bill as it finishes first half of session

BY: - March 2, 2021

The Montana state House ended the session’s 44th (and technically also 45th) day with a recognition of one lawmaker’s status as an elite dancer (Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder is the Michael Jordan of pow wow and grass dance, by some accounts), a group rendition of the state anthem (“M-O-N-T-A-N-A!”), and a brief attempt […]

In surprise vote, House kills Democratic municipal broadband proposal

BY: - March 2, 2021

Democratic legislation that would allow local governments to own or operate broadband systems died in a final House vote Tuesday morning after a dramatic change of fate that saw dozens of Republicans who had previously supported the proposal vote against it. House Bill 422’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Kortum, D-Bozeman, told the Daily Montanan that he […]

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 panel passes broadband “dig once” bill

BY: - February 25, 2021

A House panel on Wednesday signed off on legislation Wednesday to facilitate broadband development in rural Montana by taking advantage of existing infrastructure projects, one of several proposals from lawmakers in both parties and the governor to bolster internet access in the state. House Bill 494, dubbed the “dig once” bill, directs the Montana Department […]

GOP tax cut bills pass Senate vote

BY: - February 23, 2021

The Senate on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to three of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s flagship tax reduction proposals, leaving one last vote in the upper chamber before the bills move to the House. Two of the bills slice the top income tax rate in Montana. Senate Bill 159 would reduce taxes on income above $17,400 from […]

House panel ices earned-income tax expansion

BY: - February 23, 2021

Lawmakers on the House Taxation Committee on Tuesday voted down legislation expanding Montana’s earned income tax credit and adding a tax bracket for top earners just an hour after the bill had its first hearing, leaving Democrats to look for other ways to bolster what they say is one of the state’s most successful anti-poverty […]

More changes coming to county health board, emergency power oversight bills

BY: - February 22, 2021

The state House of Representatives on Monday began the process of reconciling several overlapping proposals to limit the scope of public health policymaking in Montana, promulgating amendments to existing legislation aiming to check the authority of both the governor and county health officials in times of crisis. The amendments the House Business and Labor committee […]