Government & Politics

PSC makes corrections, nuclear reactors are pricey, and NorthWestern files withdrawal

BY: - September 23, 2021

NorthWestern Energy formally withdrew Thursday its application for regulators to approve the planned $250 million Laurel Generating Station and Beartooth Battery storage contract “effectively immediately.” The monopoly utility announced Wednesday it planned to bypass the approval process by the Montana Public Service Commission in order to accelerate construction of the gas-fired facility in Laurel and […]

Huge uptick in ‘air rage’ against flight attendants during pandemic

BY: - September 23, 2021

Flight attendants have been subject to unprecedented harassment about masks and more during the pandemic, and a U.S. House panel on Thursday heard the raw details of those “air rage” incidents. While there’s no hard data, the leader of the flight attendants’ union said the most aggression appears to occur in Southern states where there’s […]

Montana hospitals sue to overturn ban on vaccination requirement

BY: - September 23, 2021

Several Montana medical associations asked a U.S. District judge in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday to invalidate recently passed legislation that bars hospitals from requiring employees to be vaccinated, including but not limited to the COVID-19 virus, arguing the law violates both the U.S. and Montana Constitutions. The suit, filed in Missoula Federal Court, argues […]

Orphaned, infected, in crisis: How the pandemic is traumatizing kids

BY: - September 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has brought heartbreaking consequences for millions of U.S. children, even as most avoided serious illness themselves, pediatric experts told Congress on Wednesday. Take, for instance, a young girl from Tennessee named Sophia, whose story was relayed by Dr. Margaret Rush, president of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Within […]

Montana flagships both break records for research funding

BY: - September 22, 2021

Both of Montana’s flagship campuses announced this month record breaking research activity for the 2021 fiscal year, $138 million in awards in Missoula and $193 million in Bozeman. “UM is quickly emerging as a regional research leader,” said Scott Whittenburg, University of Montana vice president for research and creative scholarship and dean of the Graduate […]

New law ending Election-Day registration in Montana faces third court challenge

BY: - September 22, 2021

A pair of labor unions and a disability rights advocacy organization are leading a legal charge against House Bill 176, a law passed in the most recent legislative session that effectively ended Election-Day voter registration in Montana. The Montana Federation of Public Employees, the state’s largest union, the state AFL-CIO, the Montana Association of Centers […]

Montana deploys 70 guardsmen to hospitals as COVID-19 cases climb

BY: - September 21, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday announced a series of Montana National Guard deployments to hospitals across the state to address an overburdened nursing labor force and skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers — Montana twice led the nation in per-capita COVID case count increase last week, and health officials are warning that the delta variant-driven pandemic is […]

Postcard from an overrun ICU: ‘The problem is we are running out of hallways’

BY: - September 21, 2021

BILLINGS — Nurses fill the hospital room to turn a patient from his stomach to his back. The ventilator forcing air into him is most effective when he’s on his stomach, so he is in that position most hours of the day, sedated and paralyzed by drugs. Lying on his stomach all those hours has […]

Struggle over tax break for inherited farmland churns below surface in reconciliation bill

BY: - September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON—Agricultural groups and farm-state lawmakers notched a significant win when U.S. House Democrats chose not to touch a big tax break for inherited property, avoiding for now a confrontation. But opponents remain wary that the idea could come back at any time as Democrats shape their massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, and search for ways […]

Biden administration to move BLM headquarters back to D.C. from Grand Junction

BY: - September 20, 2021

President Joe Biden’s administration announced on Friday that it would return the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Washington, D.C., reversing a controversial decision by the Trump administration — with the support of a bipartisan array of Colorado political leaders — to relocate the office to Grand Junction. The BLM’s Grand Junction office […]

Inconsistency for children difficult as schools manage COVID-19

BY: - September 19, 2021

Montana schools are flickering between in-person and remote learning as transmission of COVID-19 causes an erratic first month of classes for some students.  During a Thursday emergency school board meeting to decide whether to reopen Fortine Elementary School, Principal Laura Pluid read a note from a parent who said the inconsistency was making everything harder. […]

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 […]