Government & Politics

RFRA bill passes second House reading

BY: - March 31, 2021

Montana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed an essential hurdle in the House on Wednesday, and with one more vote, it will be sent to the desk of Gov. Greg Gianforte. The governor has signaled support for the controversial bill. Senate Bill 215 passed 61-39. An amendment to ensure the bill would not be used as […]

Gov. Gianforte signs bill prohibiting sanctuary cities in Montana

BY: - March 31, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill into law Wednesday that bans sanctuary cities in Montana. “We are a nation of laws, and immigration laws will be enforced in Montana,” Gianforte said in a statement. “HB 200 ensures drug dealers, human traffickers, and other criminals who are in our country unlawfully will have no refuge in […]

One constitutional amendment lives, the other narrowly dies

BY: - March 31, 2021

In an evening session of the Montana House, two of Rep. Derek Skees’ constitutional amendments were debated. One passed, the other was narrowly defeated. Skees’ second constitutional amendment, House Bill 635, would require the governor to appoint a vacancy among the state’s top elected officers with a candidate from the same political party as the […]

New poll: Montanans concerned about tobacco, support cig tax increase

BY: - March 31, 2021

Even cigarette smokers are worried about tobacco use and don’t want cigar smoking in bars. And 63 percent of Montanans who responded to a survey about tobacco use would support a $1.50 tax increase — on top of the $1.70 tax — on cigarettes. That compares to 61 percent of people in support of such […]

Lawmakers look to place discipline of judges in citizens’ hands

BY: - March 31, 2021

Gregg Trude set his loaded .300 Winchester Magnum down in the backseat of his car in October 2018. The gun discharged and fatally struck Dr. Eugene “Buzz” Walton of Helena. Trude pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 3 ½ years suspended, according to an article published in […]

Biden pairs climate crisis with rebuilding infrastructure, jobs

BY: - March 31, 2021

The sprawling $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal President Joe Biden laid out Wednesday in Pennsylvania includes significant spending to address climate change, providing what conservationists say is an important “down payment” to address the crisis. A 25-page outline calls for $10 billion for a Civilian Climate Corps, $16 billion for capping abandoned wells and […]

House committee to take action Wednesday on Medicaid, CHIP revision bill

BY: - March 31, 2021

Here’s what happened when one little girl with debilitating arthritis was kicked off CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, for three months. Her mom is a massage therapist who works seasonally, like many Montanans, said Lauren Wilson, vice president for the Montana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The mom was asked to verify […]

Biden unveils $2 trillion plan to rebuild infrastructure, create jobs, move to ‘clean energy’

BY: - March 31, 2021

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden on Wednesday in Pennsylvania will unveil a nearly $2 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild highways and bridges, along with funding programs for housing, broadband and schools and increasing U.S. manufacturing jobs during the next eight years, an administration official told reporters on Tuesday night. Alongside the expansive infrastructure plan, the president will release […]

This land is your land, this land is mine: Bill aims to limit nonprofits, increase ag land protections

BY: - March 31, 2021

The title of Rep. Dan Bartel’s bill, House Bill 677, seems broad enough: “An act prohibiting certain nonprofit corporations from purchasing agricultural lands.” That was the one thing both opponents and proponents seemed to agree on — the bill would stop ag land sales. They also agreed that the certain nonprofit addressed in the bill […]

House passes monumental COVID-19 aid bill

BY: - March 30, 2021

Less than three weeks after President Joe Biden signed the mammoth American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion federal COVID-19 recovery package, Montana lawmakers have shepherded a bill to spend most of Montana’s share of that sum across its first major hurdle. House Bill 632, which passed a House vote on a wide bipartisan margin […]

Bill banning transgender women in K-16 women’s athletics passes second Senate reading

BY: - March 30, 2021

Advancing one of the session’s most controversial bills, Montana Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to pass House Bill 112 banning transgender female athletes from participating on K-16 women’s sports teams, leaving just one hurdle before it is sent to the governor’s desk. The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, would require athletes to participate on […]

Special report: Dozens of members of Congress are vaccinated, but some still hesitate

BY: and - March 30, 2021

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress were among the first people in the U.S. to have access to the sought-after COVID-19 vaccine when the initial doses became available in December. Three months later, a States Newsroom survey across 22 states—making up a large swath of Congress— found at least 155 members of the U.S. House and Senate have […]