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“This bill matters to me,” says Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, about House Bill 303. Kelker has carried a similar bill in the 2015 session
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

A bill that would require the state to study cases of child abuse made progress in the Montana House, today. House Democratic leaders are calling it one of the most important bills of the session.

House Bill 303 would establish a commission to look at trends of child abuse in the state and recommend policies aiming to prevent abuse and death among children.

Montana Sub-basin Snow-Water Equivalent, March 01, 2017.
USDA NRCS

February isn't usually Montana’s biggest snow month, but this year proved to be a major exception. Substantial snow fell across the state during February's first two weeks; especially in Montana's northern and southern basins.

Lucas Zukiewicz of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service says it was a badly needed shot-in-the-arm after January's anemic snow totals:

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte.
Bree Zender

Montana Republicans voted last night to nominate Greg Gianforte as their party’s candidate to run in the special election for the U.S. House. The software entrepreneur from Bozeman will face Democratic musician Rob Quist in the election May 25th.

Dan West speaks at the MT Democratic Party's nomination for the U.S. House Seat.
Corin Cates-Carney

While Rob Quist was selected as the Democratic Party’s nominee to run for Montana’s open U.S. house seat on Sunday, there were seven other candidates who lost. Nate Hegyi has this profile of the youngest candidate in the race.

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.
Courtesy

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced Monday that he will hold a “teletownhall” this coming Wednesday, March 8, at 6:15 pm. He will take questions live from listeners.

To join the call, text “SenatorDaines” as one word to 82-82-82, or call one of Daines’ local offices:

Washington, DC: (202) 224-2651

Great Falls: 453-0148

Bozeman: 587-3446

Kalispell: 257-3765

Hardin: 665-4126

Billings: 245-6822

Helena: 443-3189

Missoula: 549-8198

Sidney: 482-9010

Several hundred friends, family and Forest Service personnel attended the funeral of a man killed after surprising a bear on June 29.
Nicky Ouellet

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.

Berkeley Pit bird cannon, Butte, MT
Mark Thompson/Montana Resources

The people who manage the Berkeley Pit want to use lasers and cannons to try to save lives of migratory birds. Thousands of geese were killed last fall in the poisonous water of Butte’s Berkeley Pit. It was an environmental catastrophe that Mark Thompson hopes is never repeated.

Rob Quist speaks at the Democratic Party's nominating convention in Helena Sunday
Corin Cates Carney

Montana Democrats picked songwriter and musician Rob Quist as their candidate for the special election in May that will determine who will represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Who better than a musician for a campaign like this?" Quist asked rhetorically after securing the nomination.

The "Capitol Talk" crew reviews the first half of the legislative session and previews the budget and infrastructure debates still to come. They also look at the front-runners for each party's nomination to fill the state's vacant U.S. House Seat, and speculate about Tim Fox's political ambitions. Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin for "Capitol Talk."

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