COVID relief plan from Congress creates push to spend more than $900 million in Helena

BY: - March 15, 2021

The Legislature on Monday began the highly intricate (and condensed) process of appropriating around $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the most recent virus aid package to come out of Congress and the first in the Biden era. When the dust settles, Montana could be getting […]

Legal counsel: $350M at stake with transgender athletes bill

BY: - March 11, 2021

Montana could lose an estimated $350 million in federal funding — money that goes largely to student loans and Pell grants — if a bill that aims to regulate transgender athletes becomes law, according to the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. Ali Bovingdon, chief legal counsel for the Commissioner’s Office, said Thursday […]

University of Montana dean resigns post after eight months

BY: - March 10, 2021

The dean of humanities and sciences at the University of Montana has stepped down just eight months after taking the reins of the flagship’s cornerstone college. “Throughout the months of academic planning in which we have been engaged this year, it has become clear to me that aspirations I have for the college cannot be […]

Stoneking: ‘What if I lose another parent?’

BY: - March 10, 2021

After the pandemic hit Montana last March, Jennifer Stoneking felt her anxiety spike. She’d experienced anxiety before, but the 24-year-old felt more urgent panic attacks. “It would be scary to go outside,” said Stoneking, of Missoula. She doesn’t want to use the word if it’s inappropriate, but she believes she may have suffered agoraphobic tendencies, […]

Biden urges states to speed up vaccinating teachers

BY: - March 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is urging states to prioritize teachers for COVID-19 vaccines, setting a goal of ensuring that every pre-kindergarten through 12th grade educator, school staff member and childcare worker is able to receive at least one shot this month. At least 34 states and the District of Columbia have some or all […]

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 […]

Senate confirms Cardona as Education Secretary

BY: - March 1, 2021

The Senate on Monday confirmed Miguel Cardona to lead the U.S. Department of Education in a 64-33 vote. Cardona, a longtime educator from Connecticut, will be tasked with helping schools reopen during the pandemic and leading the $68 billion agency. “There is no one better suited for this job in this moment than Miguel Cardona,” […]

State funding for public radio on chopping block in proposed bill

BY: - February 26, 2021

Radio listeners and staffers warned the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations committee this week that legislation to end state support for Montana Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and any number of other college and public radio stations in the state could be a serious detriment to small media organizations on tight budgets. House Bill […]

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 […]

House takes up bills on computer programming, vaccination, students with disabilities

BY: - February 26, 2021

On Thursday, the Montana House killed an education bill to include software programming in schools, legislation pushed in committee by the Governor’s Office. “This specifically goes with our governor’s Comeback Plan,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls, in his introduction to the bill on the floor. But House Bill 185 died on an 82-18 vote, […]

House Ed Committee passes Pledge of Allegiance requirement

BY: - February 25, 2021

Rep. Bob Phalen’s bill that tells school trustees to make sure students grades three through 12 “receive instruction about the United States Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance” got a green light Wednesday in the House Education Committee. “We owe it to each generation to teach in public schools what it means to be an […]

Bill that would allow children to attend school without vaccination squeaks by in committee

BY: - February 24, 2021

A bill that would change the definition of “immunity” for school attendance and allow children to go to school without vaccines squeaked through the House Education Committee on a 9-8 vote this week. “I’m a strong proponent of choice, and ultimately, this bill provides a choice,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls. Chair Rep. Seth […]