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 […]

Winners and losers from health and human services on Friday

BY: - February 19, 2021

A marathon subcommittee meeting on Friday diced and dissected the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, cutting some programs and adding to others, but without the deep $1 billion cut Republican lawmakers had threatened earlier. On Thursday, the Joint Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Part B agreed to start with the proposed 2021 […]

Right-to-work bills get committee hearing

BY: - February 19, 2021

Two of Montana’s largest employers and the labor unions who represent the bulk of their workers found common ground this week, uniting in a committee hearing to oppose a major overhaul to private-sector labor law in Montana, a state with a storied union history. At issue is House Bill 251, the most sweeping of several […]

GOP lawmaker proposes to create child support requirement for food stamps

BY: - February 19, 2021

Jessica Harding’s story didn’t start out with poverty, she told lawmakers on the House Human Services Committee on Thursday. But that’s the situation she was thrust into during the pandemic, out of work for the second time in recent years and in the midst of a six-month wait for unemployment to hit. Though she once […]

Montana could get $1.3 billion in Coronavirus aid

BY: - February 18, 2021

Numbers released today by Congress showed how each state, county and local governments will fare as the House Oversight and Reform Committee released the allocation. Montana could stand to get $1.3 billion in the overall $350 billion that was designated to aid state, county and local government.  Part of the package was $117 million to […]

Senate panel votes down minimum wage increase

BY: - February 16, 2021

A Senate panel Thursday tabled legislation that would gradually increase Montana’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, likely spelling an end to efforts to increase the wage this session. Lawmakers on the Senate Business, Labor and Economic affairs voted down a motion to send the bill to the floor, 5-6, with the committee’s chair, Sen. […]