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Montana news focused on the western side of the state. Montana politics, healthcare, wildlands, wildlife and wildfire.

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Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state Board of Regents to adopt a policy on accepting money or other gifts for the state’s colleges and universities.

Both the University of Montana and Montana State University have benefited from multi-million dollar gifts that resulted in naming rights.


Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

Last week, a citizens' environmental group in Butte presented new findings on levels of heavy metals contamination in Silver Bow Creek. Nora Saks talks to David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard, about that study and about the Superfund clean-up going forward.

The amount of money a campus in the Montana University System receives from the state for a full-time resident student varies, sometimes widely.

The high is about $11,000 for a student at MSU-Northern to a low of $6,500 at Great Falls College MSU, according to data gathered by the Legislative Fiscal Division.


Capitol Connections: Montana American Indian Caucus

Feb 15, 2017

There are 9 American Indian legislators in the 65th Montana Legislature, according to self-reporting to the Legislative Services Division. That’s about 6% of the 150 members. These 9 lawmakers have joined forces with at least 7 other legislative colleagues with American Indian constituents to form the Montana American Indian Caucus.


Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.
seniorliving.org

Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.

Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, introduced Senate Bill 217 Wednesday morning in the state Senate.

UM is positioning itself to become a prominent health campus in the region.
(PD)

Sheila Stearns is barely three months into her interim position as president of the University of Montana.  The former Commissioner of Higher Education and UM alumna freely admits that she has plenty to learn about what’s happening on campus.

Bill Would Add Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity To Montana's Non-discrimination Law

Feb 14, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

On Wednesday, a bill that would make it unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their gender identity or expression or sexual orientation will have a hearing at the Montana Legislature. Montana law already protects against discrimination based on sex, race, and creed.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

This week, lawmakers are considering how to fund the Office of the State Public Defender, that provides legal counsel to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

During the last two days of hearings, attorneys from across the state gathered in a small third floor room in the Capitol, telling lawmakers about budget cuts that they say are adding to their already burdened work.

Job seekers with the U.S. Forest Service got a bit of good news today: the agency has been cleared to hire seasonal temporaries.

Seasonal temporaries could be considered the "face of the Forest Service" — they're trail maintenance workers, engineers, backcountry rangers, says Elizabeth Slown, spokesperson for the Northwest Region of the Forest Service.

Lawmakers are considering several bills to expand where citizens can carry guns.  This includes one that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds.


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