What Montana can learn from Colorado’s marijuana legalization

BY: - February 15, 2021

As Montana builds a bureaucracy behind its new recreational marijuana trade, legislators and regulators are finding it the same tough task Colorado has been hammering at for the last nine years. Indeed, after legalizing cannabis in 2012 — an enterprise that generated an eye-popping $2.2 billion in revenue last year — Colorado’s government and industry […]

Why the U.S. is underestimating COVID reinfection rate

BY: - February 15, 2021

Kaitlyn Romoser first caught covid-19 in March, likely on a trip to Denmark and Sweden, just as the scope of the pandemic was becoming clear. Romoser, who is 23 and a laboratory researcher in College Station, Texas, tested positive and had a few days of mild, coldlike symptoms. In the weeks that followed, she bounced […]

The problem of politics and not the pandemic in rural Montana

BY: - February 14, 2021

BIG SANDY — For Dr. Carley Robertson, COVID-19 is a matter of perspective.  “I had one patient who had survived the Great Depression, a World War and survived COVID, and he said, ‘This is not a big deal,’” Robertson said. She’s the epitome of frontier medicine and modern-day practice. She makes a several county circuit […]

Senate acquits Trump in his second impeachment trial; 7 GOPs vote to convict

BY: - February 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted on Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding his second impeachment trial with the same verdict as his first impeachment. In the 57-43 vote, seven Republicans joined every Senate Democrat and independent in […]

Gianforte declares state of energy emergency

BY: - February 13, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte issued Friday an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency to make it easier for carriers to supply propane, heating oil, and diesel fuel during harsh winter conditions, according to an announcement from his office. “Montanans have seen harsh winter weather this week, affecting families who depend on propane and heating […]

As mental health demand soars, states prepare to cut services

BY: - February 13, 2021

HELENA, Mont. — When the pandemic hit, health officials in Montana’s Beaverhead County had barely begun to fill a hole left by the 2017 closure of the local public assistance office, mental health clinic, chemical dependency center and job placement office after the state’s last budget shortfall. Now, those health officials worry more cuts are […]

White House guidance contradicts Gianforte’s decision

BY: - February 12, 2021

In a news release Friday, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said he called on President Joe Biden to provide more COVID-19 vaccines, the same day he rescinded a statewide mask order. At the daily White House briefing, Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki was asked about Gianforte’s lifting of the mask mandate on the day when the Centers […]

Property tax relief for lower income people tabled

BY: - February 12, 2021

Republicans in the Senate Taxation Committee tabled Friday a bill designed to give lower income homeowners, renters or people in high-cost areas some property tax relief. Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, said Senate Bill 10 came out of the interim revenue committee, and as amended, it had reached a monetary level Gov. Greg Gianforte could […]

$12 minimum wage proposal gets Senate hearing

BY: - February 12, 2021

In 2006, voters in Montana approved a ballot initiative that set the state minimum wage at $6.15 an hour, pegged to the rising cost of living. Fifteen years later, it now sits at $8.75 an hour, a buck fifty higher than the federal minimum and not even 40 percent of the state hourly median wage. […]

Fifth lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19

BY: - February 12, 2021

Rep. Ross Fitzgerald, R-Fairfield, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the fifth legislator to receive a positive diagnosis this session. Fitzgerald is a close contact of a legislator who previously tested positive, COVID Panel Chairman Jason Ellsworth said in a news release. The lawmaker was tested on Wednesday and received the diagnosis Friday. He […]

Gianforte: Mask mandate expires

BY: - February 12, 2021

The statewide mask mandate has expired “effective immediately,” according to a new directive issued Friday from Gov. Greg Gianforte. “Individual responsibility remains Montana’s best tool to combat the spread of COVID-19,” read one of his directives. “Montanans are encouraged to wear masks and should follow the best industry practices adopted by any business they visit […]

Updated: Chief Medical Officer Holzman to resign post

BY: - February 12, 2021

Dr. Greg Holzman, the state’s chief medical officer, has announced his resignation, according to a source with direct knowledge of the resignation. “I have truly enjoyed my time working within DPHHS. I believe we have accomplished some exciting projects, and I know there are many more to be completed,” he said in his resignation letter […]