Montana News

2015 Legislature
5:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Bill Bars Governor From Expanding Medicaid Through Executive Action

A Montana House Committee Monday took up a bill that could provide a preview of the coming debate on Medicaid expansion.

Freshman Republican Matthew Monforton, from Bozeman, is pushing a bill that would bar the governor from setting up a healthcare exchange or expanding Medicaid without the legislature’s approval.

"There are other states in which a governor has unilaterally imposed Medicaid expansion without the approval of the legislature, and in Montana we don’t think that’s appropriate," Monforton said.

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Taylor Brown
5:48 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Taylor Brown: How The Voice Of Agriculture Found His Senatorial Voice

Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, speaks on a bill during the Jan. 21 floor session.
Credit Michael Wright

Of all the people on the Montana Senate Agriculture committee, there’s one who always seems to be having more fun.

“To me,” said Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, “that’s like recess.”

Brown, in his second Senate term, serves as the committee’s chair. He knows the issues and the people, and the people know him. For many years his voice reported farm news to every corner of the state for Northern Broadcasting System, which he now owns.

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2015 Legislature
5:37 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Bill Providing Housing Vouchers For Parolees Advances

Margie MacDonald (D) HD51
Credit Montana Legislature

On Monday, the Montana House of Representatives advanced a bill that would provide 3-month housing vouchers for paroled inmates who would not have a place to live otherwise.

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Forest Planning
5:28 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Forest Service Seeks Comment On Bitterroot Road Management

Trapper Peak in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Credit U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (CC-BY-2.0)

The U.S. Forest Service has a new plan for land impacted by logging and logging roads near Darby.

"These road systems are basically unraveling before our eyes," says Ed Snook, a hydrologist on the Bitterroot National Forest.

The agency says roads constructed decades ago by Darby Lumber Company were built without water resources in mind, and that’s led to increased sediment levels in area waterways.

Snook says the new plan for the area aims to create a sustainable motorized access system and loop-based motorized routes, including 15 miles of single track trail.  

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2015 Legislature
4:40 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Montana House Approves Changes To State Parole Board

Ellie Boldman Hill (D) HD90
Credit Courtesy Montana Legislature

The Montana House gave preliminary approval to two bills to revise the state Board of Probation and Parole.

These bills are among a handful of bills aimed at making the Parole board more accountable and transparent.

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Montana News
3:37 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Has The Bakken Boom In Montana Busted?

Credit Amy R. Sisk

The Bakken oil boom in Montana has already busted. That’s according to Terry Johnson, director of energy research at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic research.

"I would argue that the Bakken boom in Montana actually occurred back in 2005 and 2006. That the boom is really no longer that present in Montana at this point in time."

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2015 Legislature
6:40 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Bill Would Prevent Gov. From Expanding Medicaid Without Legislative Approval

Credit William Marcus

Monday at the Montana Legislature, Republican Representative Matthew Monforton is proposing House Bill 256. This bill would limit the Governor’s ability to pass administrative rules that would effectively bypass the Legislature in expanding Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

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Tanning Beds
6:28 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Montana House Approves Tanning Bed Restrictions For Teens

Credit Flickr User Evil Erin (CC-BY-2.0)

The Montana House Friday approved a bill to ban teenagers from using commercial tanning beds without their parents’ permission. 

Among those speaking in favor was Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton, who said he was making an exception to his usual stand against government regulation.

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2015 Legislature
6:14 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Bill 84 Seeks To Revise Claims History For Homeowners Insurance

Mary McNally (D) - SD24
Credit Courtesy Montana Legislature

Last spring a hailstorm pounded Billings leaving thousands of homeowners filing claims for new roofs, siding, windows, and other property damage. Later several filed complaints with the state Insurance Commissioner that their insurance company dropped their coverage.

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Yellowstone River Oil Spill
5:54 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Too Soon To Gauge Oil Spill Impacts On Yellowstone River Fish

Pallid sturgeon.
Credit USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

It could be weeks, if not months before scientists understand the implications of last week's oil spill on aquatic life in the Yellowstone River. There have been no reported fish kills at this point.

"That's not to say there isn't some, but the real impact is that we're going to need to evaluate is going to be the chronic mortalities, the delayed mortalities, the long-term fish health concerns and also reproduction concerns once the fish are spawning in the spring."

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