Government & Politics

Over half of states have rolled back public health powers in pandemic

BY: and - September 18, 2021

Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases. A KHN review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills […]

Deb Haaland signs the Confederated Salish and Kootenai-Montana Compact

BY: - September 17, 2021

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland signed the Confederated Salish and Kootenai-Montana Compact on Friday, formally executing the Montana Water Rights Protection Act enacted by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Interior announced in a news release Friday. “Together, these actions pave the way to improving the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes’ […]

Slicing up Montana into two congressional districts sees 231 different options

BY: - September 17, 2021

Montanans are already sparring over one map with new congressional districts, but there are 231 maps in all. The discussion took place during Friday’s Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission meeting, the first since Wednesday’s highly anticipated map proposal deadline, which saw more than 200 submissions, although just 20-30 unique maps. One map — public map […]

Montana AG, others, urge Biden administration to give up on vaccine requirements

BY: - September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — More than 20 Republican state attorneys general are threatening to sue the Biden administration over its mandate that large employers require their employees to either be vaccinated against the coronavirus vaccine or undergo weekly testing. In a Thursday letter, the 24 AGs pushed the administration to remove the requirement that would affect nearly 80 […]

Gov. Gianforte, MT congressional delegation react to Afghan refugees coming to Missoula

BY: - September 16, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte said on Thursday he plans to welcome fully-vetted Missoula-bound Afghan refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis stemming from the end of the war in Afghanistan. “Montana welcomes our fully-vetted Afghan allies who worked alongside us, have left their homes in the face of the Taliban’s reemerging, merciless terror, and seek freedom and safety,” […]

Public defenders air caseload frustrations to legislative committee

BY: - September 15, 2021

Two days after being held in contempt of court in Yellowstone County, the Montana Office of Public Defenders appeared before a legislative budget subcommittee dedicated to public safety on Wednesday to explain how they plan to navigate heavy caseloads with finite resources. The most daunting problem facing the department is money. OPD pays attorneys just […]

U.S. House Democrats add more high-speed rail, mass transit, in second shot at infrastructure bill

BY: - September 15, 2021

The U.S. House transportation panel early Wednesday passed along party lines the panel’s $60 billion slice of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget plan, adding nearly $20 billion for a new transit program and high-speed rail development in the states. Chairman Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon had considered these and other items underfunded in the Senate-led bipartisan infrastructure […]

Gianforte solicits applications for two judicial vacancies

BY: - September 14, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte said he is accepting applications for judicial vacancies in Yellowstone and Gallatin counties. First reported by the Billing’s Gazette, Yellowstone County District Court Judge Gregory Todd, the county’s longest sitting judge, will retire on Dec. 31, 2021. The other vacancy was created by the state legislature at the proposal of Gianforte to […]

Montana judges defend Judicial Standards Commission at legislative hearing

BY: - September 14, 2021

Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath and 1st Judicial District Court Judge Mike Menahan appeared before the Law and Justice Interim Committee on Tuesday to discuss the Judicial Standards Commission, a body the committee is studying for possible reform during the 2023 legislative session and was the subject of Republican scrutiny during the last […]

Revised voting rights bill rolled out in U.S. Senate, with Manchin on board

BY: - September 14, 2021

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will bring the legislation to the floor of […]

Under pressure, Montana hospital considers adding psych beds amid a shortage

BY: - September 14, 2021

Gary Popiel had to drive more than 200 miles round trip to visit his adult daughters in separate behavioral health facilities as they received psychiatric and medical treatment. It was 2000, and the family’s only options for inpatient psychiatric beds were in Helena and Missoula — far from their Bozeman, Montana, home and from each […]

Survey: Youth depression high, cigarette smoking low

BY: - September 13, 2021

Roughly 30 percent to 50 percent of high school students in most Montana counties felt so hopeless, they didn’t do normal activities for at least a couple of weeks in the 12 months prior to a spring survey, according to results of the questionnaire. “We’ve not seen data this high before,” said Susan Court, with […]