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Evening Newscast 03-15-17

Mar 15, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Montana House is scheduled to take up the main state budget bill Thursday and Friday.

Montana would have to spend an extra $126 million a year to continue its Medicaid expansion program under proposed legislation to replace the federal Affordable Care Act.

Montana lawmakers are considering footing the bill to defend a state senator who is being sued under the state's public records act to release her emails.

A Montana legislative committee has voted against a bill to set up a fund for firefighters who develop lung diseases as a result of their duties.

Evening Newscast 03-14-17

Mar 14, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The federal government has revoked the tax-exempt status of a group run by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

A meeting to come up with a list of candidates to nominate the state’s next Commissioner of Political Practices was canceled  this week, after Montana’s top legislative leaders couldn’t come to agreement.

The Montana House has given initial approval to a bill that would clarify that county commissioners can travel together or attend the same event without violating the state's open meeting laws.

Evening Newscast 03-13-17

Mar 13, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.9 percent in January, the lowest rate in nearly a decade. Officials say Montana added 2,700 payroll jobs in January.

Montana election officials say a bill that would give counties the option of holding an all-mail ballot for the special congressional election must pass before April 10th.

A Billings radio host returned to the airwaves today after apologizing for suggesting that Native Americans should have separate basketball tournaments due to unruly fan behavior.

Evening Newscast 03-10-17

Mar 10, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana House Democrats are seeking to restore nearly $100 million in healthcare spending cuts from Gov. Steve Bullock's proposed budget, but Republicans aren't budging much.

Montana lawmakers are considering propping up a coal-fired power plant's operations by giving one of its co-owners low-interest loans of up to $10 million a year.

Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter says he was shocked by the unprofessional manner in which he and 45 other Obama appointees were asked to turn in their resignations by the end of the day.

Evening Newscast 03-09-17

Mar 9, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock says the number one concern he has with the Legislature’s proposed budget is the lack of funding for essential services. 

Federal inspectors found several safety issues at the Montana State Hospital, including staffing shortages that put patients at risk of injury by other patients or themselves.

Republican and Democratic leadership in the state legislature failed to come to an agreement today on a list of candidates to take over the office of the Commissioner of Political Practices. If the disagreement continues, the top lawmakers will forfeit their right to limit who the governor can select as the state’s top political cop.

Evening Newscast 03-08-17

Mar 8, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Republicans in Montana and in Washington, D.C., are courting popular state Attorney General Tim Fox to step up and run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester next year.

An environmental organization is urging Montana officials to protect the state financially and ensure a co-owner of the Colstrip power plant pays its share of cleanup and decommissioning costs.

Work has begun on a $2.7 million expansion to the cardiology center at Missoula’s Providence St. Patrick Hospital.

Evening Newscast 03-07-17

Mar 7, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed a bill that would have allowed government workers to sue if their supervisors obstruct them from communicating with a legislator.

A bill that would require the state to study cases of child abuse made progress in the Montana House, today.

The Montana legislature is now over halfway through its 90-day session, and the House Appropriations committee began slogging through House Bill 2, which is the state budget.

Evening Newscast 03-06-17

Mar 6, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana Republicans have been meeting this afternoon ahead of a vote this evening to select their candidate to face Democrat Rob Quist in the special election for Montana’s U.S. House seat May 25th.

Rob Quist won the Democratic nomination yesterday in Helena.

A new report details the final moments of a career Flathead National Forest law enforcement officer killed last summer after a chance encounter with a grizzly bear.

At this hour Montana’s Republican party has started the selection process for a candidate to challenge Democrat Rob Quist in the May special election to fill Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House.

Evening Newscast 03-02-17

Mar 2, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Bozeman technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte says he has commitments from enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination for Montana's special election for the U.S. House.

On his first full day in office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued an order reversing a last-minute action by the Obama administration to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on national wildlife refuges.

Montana Republican officials say the GOP's field of prospective candidates for the U.S. House race has narrowed to six.

Crews in Whitefish have already fixed a water main burst that left many homes and businesses without water Monday morning, but public works managers say road repairs will likely last into summer.

Evening Newscast 03-01-17

Mar 1, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana’s former Republican Congressman, Ryan Zinke, is now President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary.

Gov. Steve Bullock has signed four bills that seek to reduce costs within the criminal justice system and to reduce recidivism. 

Before adjourning for a mid-session hiatus, the Montana House gave final passage to a slate of bills, but rejected - on a tie vote - a proposal that sought to criminalize physician-assisted suicide.

Evening Newscast 02-28-17

Feb 28, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Montana House of Representatives passed 17 bills on today, including one bill that would create a statewide public lands day.

City managers in Whitefish have lifted a boil water advisory issued Monday morning following a burst water main.

Greg Gianforte has raised $825,000 to run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Congressman Ryan Zinke.

While Democrats and Republicans at the Montana Legislature may disagree on the approach, they are both highlighting infrastructure and the budget as top priorities for the second half of the session.

Evening Newscast 02-27-17

Feb 27, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Senate moved Congressman Ryan Zinke one step closer to becoming Secretary of Interior in President Trump’s administration. By a vote of 67 to 31 with one senator voting “present,” the Senate voted to invoke “cloture,” which means that debate on Zinke’s nomination will end in 30 hours. After that, the Senate is free to vote on Zinke’s nomination at its discretion.

The Montana House has voted down a proposal to allow guns in schools. 15 Republicans joined 41 Democrats today to reject the bill.

Fifty homes are still without water after a catastrophic burst to the City of Whitefish’s water main Monday morning. Parts of Baker Avenue south of downtown remain closed after crews dug up the street to isolate the leak.

Evening Newscast 02-24-17

Feb 24, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Montana House has given initial approval to a measure that would restrict doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioid drugs to first-time patients.

Dozens of Opportunity residents say federal environmental officials have botched a 34-year environmental cleanup of the toxic metals in their soil, and now they want a shot at it.

In a meeting this morning, four Montana House and Senate leaders discussed how to move forward in replacing current political practices commissioner Jonathan Molt, whose term ended in January.

Evening Newscast 02-23-17

Feb 23, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

A budget analysis shows the work that the Montana Legislature has done so far this session would leave the state in the black financially but with about half the cash reserves that Gov. Steve Bullock wants.

Abortion foes won preliminary passage for a bill that would transform abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy into a medical procedure to save a potentially viable fetus.

A Billings radio host's online post suggesting there should be separate post-season basketball tournaments for Native American teams, due to unruly fan behavior, has prompted a show of solidarity.

In a close vote this morning, lawmakers rejected a bill aiming to reform how state prisons put people with mental illnesses in solitary confinement.

Evening Newscast 02-22-17

Feb 22, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines hopes to put pressure on fellow Montana Sen. Jon Tester to support the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Law-enforcement officials and prosecutors from across the state are supporting what they call a fix to a victims' rights law that voters added to the Montana Constitution last fall.

At a ranch near Seeley Lake today, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced he is introducing the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act.

The Montana Senate has endorsed a watered-down rebuke of the state's court system for allegedly overstepping its powers.

Evening Newscast 02-21-17

Feb 21, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Montana Capitol, where U.S. Sen. Steve Daines was scheduled to address the Legislature.

Montana lawmakers are considering a measure that would ban putting large pipelines under rivers or lakes.

Wildlife managers estimate that more than 570 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed so far this winter.

Evening Newscast 02-20-17

Feb 20, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana lawmakers have rejected a $400,000 request to expand a state program to train doctors. The Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education did not approve an expansion request from Montana's Graduate Medical Education program.

Two conservation groups, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council, filed suit in Federal District Court in Missoula Friday, challenging the Stonewall Vegetation Project in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

In a party line vote, Republican lawmakers killed a bill on Monday aiming to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people under Montana’s civil rights laws.

Evening Newscast 02-17-17

Feb 17, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Senator Steve Daines announced today he will chair one of the five subcommittees of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

A budget panel has approved a $6 million dollar increase over the next two years for Montana to deal with the record number of children in foster care. But the $16 million dollars approved today by the Joint Subcommittee on Health and Human Services comes with caveats. 

Evening Newscast 02-16-17

Feb 16, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Montana Senate is calling for a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to overturn federal regulations.

Two Montana lawmakers are sponsoring bills to delay the closure of a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities determined by courts to pose risk of serious harm to themselves or others.

Sen. Steve Daines will hold a town hall via telephone tonight from 6:15 to 7:15 PM, according to a representative from the Missoula office.

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would force insurance companies to set auto insurance rates based off an individual’s driving record, rather than using personal characteristics like online shopping habits and education.

Evening Newscast 02-15-17

Feb 15, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.

Montana's House Judiciary Committee heard impassioned testimony today from both sides of a new bill to extend non-discrimination protections for gays, lesbians and transgender people across Montana.

NorthWestern Energy says technical issues with meter reading equipment led some customers southeast of Helena to be under-billed in January, leaving the balance to be added to February's bills.

The vote that would confirm Representative Ryan Zinke as the next Interior Secretary could come as late as early March, says Senator Jon Tester.

Evening Newscast 02-14-17

Feb 14, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Montana Senate is supporting a bill that would provide more oversight to the Division of Child and Family Services.

On Wednesday, a bill that would make it unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their gender identity or expression or sexual orientation will have a hearing at the Montana Legislature.

Havre's airport has been overbilled for power for 30 years, but it's not clear who's at fault.

Evening Newscast 02-13-17

Feb 13, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Sen. Jon Tester announced Friday he will host an online town hall meeting this coming Wednesday.

Plans for a Billings solar farm are heating up just as renewable energy politics cool at the Montana Legislature.

A proposed constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people faces extremely long odds, according to one Montana political scientist.

A national government watchdog organization filed a lawsuit this morning against Montana.

Evening Newscast 02-10-17

Feb 10, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

A group of Republican-led lawmakers has pushed forward an effort to eliminate Montana’s office of Political Practices.

Gov. Steve Bullock has declared a state of emergency for parts of northwestern Montana dealing with the aftermath of a storm that dumped up to four feet of snow in places.

Days after hearing testimony from clergy, young conservative lawmakers, and an exonerated death-row inmate from Arizona, asking for the end of capital punishment, state lawmakers voted against their request.

Funding to fix ailing public works projects cleared the first legislative hurdle yesterday.

Evening Newscast 02-09-17

Feb 9, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana Senator Jon Tester met with President Donald Trump at the White House Thursday. Tester, a Democrat, characterized the meeting as a ‘productive conversation.'

Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines is standing by his silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren during the Washington debate about President Donald Trump's pick as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

First-time drug offenders in Montana are currently not given the option to enter residential treatment facilities in the state.

Evening Newscast 02-08-17

Feb 8, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

A proposal to federally recognize Montana’s Little Shell Tribe advanced a step in the U.S. Senate today.

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads.

Montana has more U.S. citizens on the streets after the state added two extra naturalization ceremonies due to a large number of citizenship applications.

The Montana Supreme Court has upheld the deliberate homicide conviction of a Missoula man for shooting a German exchange student in his garage.

Evening Newscast 02-07-17

Feb 7, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Forest Service can hire firefighters this year after winning an exemption from President Trump’s civilian governmental employee hiring freeze.

The state House is scheduled to debate a measure to stop the Montana State Hospital from releasing homeless, mentally ill patients into the streets or to homeless shelters.

The Montana Senate has passed a bill that would increase the number of notices that must be made to people who are delinquent on their property taxes and make it clear that if they fail to pay their taxes for three years, they could lose their property.

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that aims to improve pay equity between men and women, but some policymakers are questioning how the proposal would force employers to judge the merits of their employees.

Evening Newscast 02-06-17

Feb 6, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

While Representative Ryan Zinke awaits a full Senate confirmation vote to become the next Secretary of the Interior under Donald Trump’s Administration, many Montanans are left wondering when that vote will actually happen.

Former Montana Attorney General Mike Greely died Jan. 26 at his family cabin along the Missouri River. He was 76. Greeley served as attorney general from 1977 through 1988.

A sixth Democrat has expressed intent to fill Montana’s House seat if Ryan Zinke is confirmed to lead the Interior Department under President Donald Trump.

Evening Newscast 02-03-17

Feb 3, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

Montana’s senior senator has introduced three bills that he says would increase transparency and accountability in elections.

A Senate committee has advanced legislation that would prevent patients from receiving huge bills from air ambulance providers that are not in-network with their insurance plans.

Montana’s bitterly cold winter is hitting Northwestern Energy customers in the pocketbook.

The Montana Legislature won't make any changes to a bill that Gov. Steve Bullock said disproportionately increases spending for the legislative session compared to cuts being considered across the rest of state government.

Evening Newscast 02-02-17

Feb 2, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

A bill in the Montana House would eliminate the office of the Commissioner of Political Practices.

Wildlife advocates say they'll fight the government's request to lift a 2015 injunction barring construction of an irrigation dam on the Yellowstone River in a legal dispute over the fate of the pallid sturgeon, a fast-disappearing, endangered fish.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is using his veto power to recommend that the Legislature reduce the amount of money it approved for itself to operate this session.

Lawmakers in Helena are calling for what’s being billed as the “Montana Meth Summit,” a gathering of lawmakers and government officials to talk about the impacts of meth in Montana.

Evening Newscast 02-01-17

Feb 1, 2017
Montana Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department says there are no easy fixes for what ails that beleaguered agency.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines has been appointed chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on national parks.

The Chairman of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered the State of the Tribal Nations Address in the state Capitol today.

A Montana legislative panel has approved a measure that would bar the public release of mug shots until after a person is convicted of a crime.