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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.


Rep. Derek Skees.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

In a late vote Monday evening, a Republican-backed bill to eliminate the state’s office of political practices took another step forward, passing in the Montana House of Representatives.

The bill to dismantle the state's Office of Political Practices passed largely on party lines as Republicans muscled House Bill 340 through its first key vote on the House floor.

Senator Jennifer Fielder (R) SD-7.
Mike Albans

A national government watchdog organization filed a lawsuit this morning against Montana. Campaign for Accountability is suing Sen. Jennifer Fielder, a Republican from Thompson Falls, and the State Legislative Services Division for allegedly failing to comply with a public records request.

Matt Powell-Palm was notified the Senator was going to arrive in Bozeman last Friday afternoon on Facebook through a group called The Gallatin Progressive Action Network.

He wanted face to face time with Senator Daines, something he says the Senator has not given his Montanan constituents enough of lately.

Bill Would Give Foster Children More Say In Planning Their Future

Feb 13, 2017
Helena resident Lina Havron shared a story of a foster child named Charlie during testimony on the bill Monday.
Freddy Monares

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would allow foster children over the age of 14 to be involved in the planning process about their living situation as they age out of foster care.

According to a report by the Legislative Fiscal Division, Public Defender workload of abuse and neglect cases has increased 50 percent since fiscal year 2014.
(PD)

As Montana lawmakers begin hearings this week to figure out how to fund public defenders in the state, attorneys say they don’t have enough resources, and their caseloads are rising.

Proposed Homemade Foods Bill Makes Health Officers Queasy

Feb 13, 2017
A bill in the Montana Legislature would allow Montanans to sell food out of their own kitchens, either directly to customers, or for community social events, like weddings or potlucks.
Flickr user, JeffreyW (CC BY 2.0)

A bill in the Montana Legislature would allow Montanans to sell food out of their own kitchens, either directly to customers, or for community social events, like weddings or potlucks.

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