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A recent informal survey of Missoula parents highlights some of the biggest ongoing local childcare needs and challenges.
(PD)

Affordable and easily accessible childcare is just as elusive in Montana as it is everywhere else in America. At a luncheon Tuesday, a Missoula County group called Healthy Start Missoula that’s supported by a federal grant laid out the challenges and offered one potential private-sector solution.

Healthy Start Coordinator, Anna Semple, says parents now have precious few infant childcare options:

Lawmakers Sit Down With Governor To Talk Bonding

Apr 25, 2017

Lawmakers wrapped up Day 85 of their scheduled 90-day Legislative session with no agreement reached on a bonding package.

That morning, 11 legislators sat down with Governor Steve Bullock, Budget Director Dan Villa and other staff in the Governor's Conference Room to talk about possibilities. Specifically, what would it take to reach the 67 votes needed in the House to pass a bonding bill.

Among the bills put on the table were those dealing with abortion and charter schools. House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, D-Helena, said if those bills were part of the deal, the Republican majority would lose Democratic votes, which could doom bonding.


Bill Proposes Permanent Ban On Mining Near Yellowstone

Apr 25, 2017
Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has introduced legislation to permanently ban new mining in an area of Montana just outside Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Democrat says responsible natural resource development is an important part of Montana's economy but the doorstep of Yellowstone is one place that should be protected.

Legislature Passes 'Real ID' Compromise Bill

Apr 25, 2017

The Montana Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that offers a compromise on the 2005 federal “Real ID Act,” which standardizes state identification cards. At the end of this year, a Montana driver’s license would not meet the federal standards to be used for air travel or access to federal facilities.

Katherine Hitt (CC-BY-ND-2.0)

A tax on medical marijuana is now on it’s way to the governor's desk after passing out of the House Tuesday morning.

A signature from Governor Steve Bullock is now all that stands in the way of a tax on medical marijuana providers becoming law.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

A bill to reform state campaign finance laws hit a snag on Monday when Senators rejected work by their peers in the House.

Billings Republican Tom Richmond says his bill to increase contribution limits and remove loopholes in state campaign laws passed with wide support, picking up all but two votes in the Senate in March, but is now at risk of being vetoed by the governor unless changed.

Sheila Hogan is director of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services
State of Montana

The head of Montana's health department says she is, quote, “disappointed” to learn of the resignation of American Indian Health Director Mary Lynn-Billy Old Coyote.

Billy-Old Coyote submitted her resignation letter Saturday, a little more than a year after she was appointed to the newly created position by Governor Steve Bullock.

Legislative Fatigue Sets In On Bonding Bill

Apr 24, 2017
Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

An attempt failed Monday at the Montana Legislature to revive a bonding measure that would pay for university buildings on three campuses and more.

The U.S Senate Monday confirmed Sonny Perdue as secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture . USDA oversees ag and forest policies directly affecting rural states like Montana.

Gov. Bullock Axes Rental Trespassing Law

Apr 24, 2017

While Governor Steve Bullock has signed more than 200 bills into law so far this legislative session, he’s vetoed 13. One of those recently vetoed bills tried to update the state’s trespass laws.

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