Montana News

State of the State
6:04 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

State Of The State Highlights Division Between Parties In Helena

Credit William Marcus

In his State of the State address Wednesday, Governor Steve Bullock mentioned a number of issues dividing the Democrats and Republicans this session. Those include funding infrastructure, funding pre-K education, and keeping a budget surplus of $300 million in case of emergency.

Jim Keane of Butte is one of the many Democrats who stood and cheered as the Governor talked about his proposals.

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2015 Legislature
5:47 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Bill Addresses Appearance Of Impropriety Between Lawyers, Judges

Rep. Matthew Monforton (R) HD69
Credit Montana Legislature

This morning at the Montana Legislature, a bill came forward that would allow judges to be removed from cases if an attorney involved has contributed to the judge’s campaign.

Republican Representative Matthew Monforton says judges may not always be biased by contributions, but people need to trust that their lawyers or their opponent’s lawyers do not appear to have an advantage by contributing.

“It isn’t just that there is actual impropriety taking place. It is the appearance of impropriety.”

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Yellowstone River Oil Spill
5:33 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Warming Temps Complicate Yellowstone Oil Spill Cleanup

Human safety is the top priority as the oil spill recovery effort continues on the Yellowstone River.
Bridger Pipeline spokesman Bill Salvin says  temperatures are warming and that's making the river ice more unstable.

"So for every person that's standing on the ice, they have a person that's on an airboat holding the line they're connected to and that line's tied off to the boat as well. We want to make sure that we keep everyone who's responding to this safe. That's driving everything we do in terms of oil recovery on the ice."

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Veteran's Adminstration
5:22 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Sen. Tester: Hiring Delays For Montana VA Director 'Completely Unacceptable'

Sen. Jon Tester
Credit Jon Tester

It's been eight months since the Montana VA had a permanent director and Senator Jon Tester says he's fed up with the delay.

Tester fired-off a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald this week calling it "completely unacceptable".

The Democrat says he only recently found out that a hire was imminent about three months ago. However,  the Office of Management and Budget found a "screw-up" that scuttled the process.

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Keystone XL Pipeline
5:07 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Tester, Daines Join Senate In Passing Keystone Pipeline Bill

Pipes for the Keystone Pipeline, waiting to be laid in Nebraska in 2009.
Credit shannonpatrick17 (CC-BY-2.0)

Both of Montana’s Senators voted today for the bill to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Democrat Jon Tester says he looks forward to the day when clean, renewable resources provide most of America's energy needs:

"But until we get to a point when that's affordable and available, it appears to me that I'd rather do business with Canada than I would the Middle East."

Tester says the recent Bridger Pipeline oil spill on the Yellowstone River was not only a catastrophe, but entirely preventable.

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2015 Legislature
4:57 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Republicans Face Off With Governor Over Infrastructure Spending

Credit William Marcus

Despite a warning from the Governor to keep his Build Montana infrastructure bill intact, lawmakers are moving to break House Bill 5 into at least 5 bills. The move sets up a face-off with the Bullock Administration.

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2015 Legislature
6:21 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Mental Health Funding On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Credit William Marcus

Thursday, the Montana Legislature will hear a bill funding new and expanded intervention for mental health crises. Republican Representative Ron Ehli of Hamilton is carrying the bill, and has spent some time working with the subject.

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2015 Legislature
6:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Legislators Debate Changes To Sexual Abuse Prosecutions

Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
Credit Montana Legislature
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Flathead Water Compact
5:42 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Ag Groups Come Out In Support Of Flathead Water Compact

Credit Flickr user Brad Smith (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Some of Montana’s most influential agriculture organizations are lining up to support the Flathead water compact.

Yesterday the Montana Stockgrowers Association said it endorses the compact, which is a negotiated settlement between state and federal government and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Right now, ownership of water on the reservation is disputed, and the compact is an attempt to codify who owns and controls the water without having to go to court.

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2015 Legislature
5:28 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Dept. Of Revenue: Business Equipment Tax Cuts Will Increase Local Taxes

Rep Mike Miller (R) HD80 is the sponsor of a bill reducing business equipment taxes.
Credit Montana Legislature

Legislators are grappling over whether a proposal to further reduce Montana’s business equipment tax is a tax cut or a tax shift.

For proponents, the issue is clear. This tax on items like combines or welding equipment is punitive and stifles growth.

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