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Carole Mackin, a taxpayer from Helena, is escorted out of a hearing room at the Montana Capitol by a sergeant-at-arms Thursday, March 23 after she refused to stop her testimony in support of Senate Bill 305, which would allow mail ballot elections.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

Montana Legislature Hears Heated Testimony On Mail Voting Bill

A bill intended to save counties hundreds of thousands of dollars in the upcoming special election for Montana's vacant U.S. House seat brought heated testimony and debate Thursday in the Capitol. Senate Bill 305 would allow counties the option of running the May 25 election entirely through mail-in-ballots. Great Falls Republican Senator Steve Fitzpatrick introduced his bill to the House Judiciary Committee:

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Health coverage in Montana.
Montana Commissioner of Securities & Insurance

Comparing Obamacare And GOP Health Bill

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Columbia Falls Aluminum Pollution Evaluation Released

Belinda Bullshoe says her Blackfeet tradition and culture guide her designs.
Nicky Ouellet

My Culture On The Runway: Blackfeet Woman Takes On New York Fashion Week

On a normal weekend, the inside of the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls is a cacophony of referees whistles, sneaker squeaks and raving basketball fans. But this past weekend it transformed to house the annual Great Western Living and Design Show. Instead of high school pep bands, old-timey western music plays over loudspeakers. The room smells like leather softener and wood. At the far end of the arena — past booths of silver and turquoise jewelry, paintings of horses and aspens, and vests made of the softest furs — a woman with a long, black ponytail sells blankets and bed sheets in iconic, geometric Pendleton designs. Then she pulls dresses out of a garment sheet. One after another, her colorful designs draw stares from ambling shoppers. This is Belinda Bullshoe. She recently showed her dresses at New York Fashion Week, and may be the first Native American designer to do so. I pull up a chair, and she tells me her story:

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MTPR Features

Martin Sexton's 'Mixtape Of The Open Road' Keeps The Musical Bus Rolling

One of the most dynamic singer-songwriters of any generation, Martin Sexton returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight,” recording three songs in the studio (with harmony help from the Brothers McCann) and chatting retrospectively about his career.

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Bill Would Raise Production Limits For Montana Breweries

Mar 22, 2017

Nearly a dozen brewers testified at the Montana Legislature today on a bill that would raise a small brewery's production cap six fold.

Matt Leow with the Montana Brewers Association says raising the 10,000 barrel limit for small operations to 60,000 would unleash potential for Montana brewers.

Rob Quist, Democratic candidate for U.S. House speaks during a campaign rally in Missoula on March 22, 2017.
Josh Burnham

About 150 people came to a campaign event in Missoula today for U.S. House Candidate Rob Quist. The Democrat called it a "rally for public lands."

Quist addressed the crowd on a warm, sunny afternoon, wearing his usual cowboy hat:

A popular city park in Hamilton will stay where it is thanks to a special election this week.

Bitterroot Valley residents are notoriously skeptical of proposed bond issues. But Hamilton Police Chief Ryan Oster says local voters made an exception Tuesday to preserve Claudia Driscoll Park:

"Herd Bull," a bronze bison skull sculpture by artist Benji Daniels on display in front of the Montana Historical Society in Helena, MT.
Eric Whitney

Montana's Historical Society has been asking state lawmakers for help to build a new building for years. In the last legislative session it narrowly missed getting the okay to issue bonds for construction. Now, a Republican lawmaker is proposing it sell off parts of its collection to pay for a new museum.

As state lawmakers debate larger budget and infrastructure bills, Billings Representative Dennis Lenz is proposing letting the Historical Society sell art and other objects to generate up to $50 million for construction:

Greg Gianforte (L) and Rob Quist (R) are running for Congress in a special election to fill Ryan Zinke's seat.
MTPR News

Today news broke that the two major party candidates in Montana's special election for Congress have had tax liens filed against them in the past.

The Associated Press says that, "a group seeking to influence the May 25 special election" gave them information about liens against Democrat Rob Quist. The Democratic Party responded by providing information about Republican Greg Gianforte.

Bill Could Strip Worker’s Compensation For Failure To Disclose Medical Conditions

Mar 21, 2017
Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus

Montana lawmakers heard a bill today that would add another aspect to worker’s compensation cases. Senate Bill 116 could strip employees of worker’s comp eligibility if they knowingly or willfully failed to disclose a medical condition pertinent to a job in any pre-employment questionnaires.

State Employees Seek Modest Pay Raise

Mar 21, 2017

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote this week on a bill that would give a one-percent pay raise for state employees.


The House Appropriations committee unanimously approved a bill to pay for some capital improvement projects for numerous state facilities.  The committee’s action came after several lawmakers criticized building projects at the University of Montana.

House Bill 5 includes a myriad of projects, including for several life/safety repairs and maintenance at state facilities. The committee approved an amendment to give the Montana University System the authority to spend money raised privately by some of the campuses.


Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Montana could see as much as $106 million in additional revenue come into the state than was previously unexpected. But lawmakers are approaching this news with some caution as they create the state’s budget.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Division is projecting the additional revenue to flow into state coffers over the next three years, as the state recovers from a dip in earnings after a decline created, in part, by lower sales of coal, oil, and gas. 

AP Reports Tax Liens Against Quist, Gianforte

Mar 21, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state of Montana filed three liens to collect about $15,000 in back taxes from Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist and his wife, Bonni.

The liens were issued in 2015 and cover the 2007, 2011 and 2012 tax years. He settled the debt with the Department of Revenue last May.

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NPR News

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted Friday of child endangerment for his role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In a split verdict, the Pennsylvania jury found that Spanier's handling of a 2001 complaint alleging abuse by Sandusky, warranted conviction on one of three charges against him. The jury did, however, acquit Spanier of conspiracy and a second count of child endangerment, the Associated Press reports.

In a series of memorandums sent to U.S. embassies, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered a glimpse of what President Trump's promised "extreme vetting" will mean for visa applicants when put into practice.

There are beers that can make headlines simply by existing, especially if they use unique ingredients. That's the case with Stone Brewing's Full Circle Pale Ale, whose key component — water — came from an advanced filtration system that recycles and purifies San Diego wastewater that had previously been used in taps, toilets and showers.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.

"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

Doctors say it all started eight years ago, when a urology clinic in Oregon ran an ad promoting the benefits of scheduling a vasectomy in March.

"You go in for a little snip, snip and come out with doctor's orders to sit back and watch nonstop basketball," the voice-over promises. "If you miss out on this, you'll end up recovering during a weekend marathon of Desperate Housewives!"

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