Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

GOP Income Tax Cut Moves Ahead

Feb 23, 2015
Montana Legislature

The Republican majority at the Legislature is marching ahead with an income tax cut bill despite warnings from the Bullock administration the move is premature.

House Bill 166 was amended in the Senate. It now would lower all of the income tax brackets by two-tenths of a percentage point. The bill was re-referred to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee to consider the fiscal implications.

The sponsor, Representative Keith Regier says, while that’s an increase from his original one-tenth of a percentage point he supports the move.

Rep. Ripley Would Cap Coal Trust At $1Billion

Feb 23, 2015
Flickr user wsilver

State lawmakers are considering a proposal to ask voters to cap the Constitutionally protected Coal Tax Trust at one-billion dollars. Senate Bill 353 would divert some of coal severance tax money that goes into the trust into an account to fund infrastructure projects. 

Sen. Brown: Reduce Road Salt

Feb 23, 2015
MT Department of Transportation

On Tuesday, Montana lawmakers will hear a bill that would reduce the amount of salty road de-icers used on streets and roads. 

A 2010 United States Geological Survey  report found that winter runoff can push significant amounts of the de-icer into streams, increasing their toxicity for fish and other aquatic life.

Republican Senator Dee Brown of Hungry Horse is carrying Senate Bill 369 and says it’s necessary to keep Montana water clear.

Photosforclass.com

The Montana House Monday came within one vote of approving a bill to abolish the death penalty.

Helena Democrat Jenny Eck read a letter signed by 55 relatives of murder victims, urging the state to do away with capital punishment

“We know that elected officials who promote the death penalty often do so with the best intentions of helping family members like us," Eck read. "We are writing to say that there are better ways to help us. The death penalty is a broken and costly system. Montana doesn’t need it and victims’ families like ours don’t want it."

Montana Legislature

A Bozeman lawmaker wants to make big changes to the way the Montana Legislature does its work.

Currently, Montana legislators have just seven weeks from the time they’re elected until the legislature starts.

For newcomers it means a steep learning curve. Democrat Kathleen Williams says lawmakers could do a better job if they met after the election, just long enough to break up into committees, so they could study the issues facing the state for a full year, before holding their regular session. She’s sponsoring a bill to do that.

Transparency For Tribal Finances On Monday's Legislative Agenda

Feb 20, 2015
William Marcus

Monday, Montana legislators will hear a bill to create a website so state tribal members can see the who, what, where and when of the money coming into the tribe.

Republican Representative Bruce Meyers of Box Elder says it’s important that Native American citizens get the same open government systems as other Montanans.

“We’re providing tribal members as Montana citizens transparency about budgets.”

Many question how much money goes to federal and state governments, worrying about corruption higher up in the chain.

The Montana Legislature took a step toward ratifying the state’s final outstanding water compact this morning, with a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The compact involving the federal government and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has drawn more heated debate than any issue except perhaps Medicaid expansion. 

Courtesy photo

Today in Missoula, Senator Steve Daines held the second of three meetings he’s called to talk timber issues. He’ll do the same in Bozeman tomorrow.

The Republican Freshman Senator is calling the meetings “Timber Management Reform Roundtables,” and he’s invited mostly timber industry representatives to give him input on what they need to maintain or grow their operations.

Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The Flathead water rights compact passes out of committee. A bill intended to "shine sunlight on dark money" is making its way through the process. Lawmakers heard testimony on one part of the GOP healthcare plan. And next Friday is the bill transmittal deadline and halfway point of the session

Flathead Water Compact Faces First Committee Vote Friday

Feb 19, 2015
William Marcus

On Friday, the Salish-Kootenai water compact faces its first big vote. If the Senate Judiciary Committee advances the bill, it will face the anger of irrigators who say they won’t get as much water.

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