Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

During this week's Capitol Talk, Sally, Chuck and Mike look forward to what's sure to be a heated debate in the House over Republican Sen. Edward Buttrey's Medicaid bill to expand coverage to the working poor.

They also discuss Republican Rep. Duane Ankney's dark money bill as it takes a step closer the Gov. Bullock's desk.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Rep. Carolyn Pease-Lopez
Montana Legislature

Montana House members have defeated a “religious freedom” bill, after impassioned testimony from those who felt it would enable discrimination.  

The bill is similar to ones that have drawn protests and boycotts in other states.  While supporters saw it as a way to ensure that government would not interfere in the free expression of religion, opponents saw another agenda: enabling businesses to refuse service to customers because of their race or sexual orientation. 

Public Domain

Two mass elk shootings in November and December that angered many in Montana have prompted a hunting group to launch an ethical hunting campaign.

Mike England is with the Bozeman-based Citizens’ Advisory Committee, a public group that gives feedback to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. His says the irresponsible behavior of the hunters who surrounded and shot into elk herds last last year near Helena motivated his group to move from advice to action.

Rep. Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The Montana House Thursday approved a measure to ask voters if they want to define “personhood” from the moment of conception – a move that could outlaw abortion and even some birth-control methods. However, the constitutional amendment is still unlikely to appear on a state ballot.

Eric Whitney

The Montana Senate today gave preliminary approval to a bill to expand Medicaid coverage to the state's working poor on a 28 to 22 vote.

House Passes Dark Money Bill

Mar 26, 2015
Courtesy Photo

Ten Republican Representatives joined all 41 Democrats and gave preliminary approval to a bill aimed at shining light on so-called "dark money" campaign contributions Thursday.

During the two hour long House Floor debate there were moments of testy remarks among Republicans.

Basically Senate Bill 289 seeks to require candidates to provide more detailed campaign expenditure reports and do so more often.

Republican Medicaid Expansion Plan Blasted To Senate Floor

Mar 26, 2015
Courtesy Photo

A Senator from Great Falls successfully blasted his bill to provide health insurance for the working poor to the full Senate for debate Thursday.

Senate Bill 405 already has had two committee hearings, but  the sponsor is worried a deadline could kill his bill.

That's because there is a Tuesday deadline to transmit appropriation and revenue bills from one chamber to the other.

poplarresponse.com

Two and a half months after a pipeline ruptured, spilling 30,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River at Glendive, The federal Environmental Protection Agency has handed over the management of the cleanup effort. Jeni Flatow with Montana DEQ says federal law allows the EPA to take charge of “emergency responses," and the Montana spill no longer qualifies.

Rep. Carl Glimm (R) HD6
Montana Legislature

A wide array of interest groups and state officials lined up to testify against a bill that purports to give Montanans more religious freedom, because they say it would only guarantee the freedom to discriminate.

Carl Glimm, a Republican Representative from Ashley Lake, is sponsoring a bill that, he says, would ensure that the government could not infringe on a person’s religious rights unless it had a “compelling interest” in doing so.

For Senator Buttrey, Medicaid Expansion Is A Riddle And A Risk

Mar 25, 2015
Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) SD13
Montana Legislature

Middle ground on Medicaid expansion eluded the Montana Legislature in 2013, and since then Senator Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls, has studied the issue, talked to hospitals and members of the other party and others to get to where he was last week: standing in front of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee.

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