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Budget Cuts Threaten Human Trafficking Investigations

Jan 11, 2017

Possible budget cuts to the Department of Justice could force investigators to cancel proactive investigations into allegations of human trafficking in Montana. It was just one of the impacts brought to lawmaker’s attention if a 5% budget reduction is adopted.

The 2017 Legislature is faced with a dwindling savings account and slower revenue growth as they work to balance the state’s budget for the coming biennium. Joint House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are delving now into the agency’s budgets.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pushed back its target date for a formal decision on whether to take Yellowstone-area grizzly bears off of the endangered species list.
(PD)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pushed back its target date for a formal decision on whether to take Yellowstone-area grizzly bears off of the endangered species list. Last year the agency said it hoped to issue that decision by the end of 2016. Now it’s saying July is more likely.

Ellie Hill Smith (D) HD-90, is the sponsor of House Bill 129.
Mike Albans

Representative Ellie Hill Smith, a Missoula Democrat, says across the country more states are creating laws making it illegal to share explicit images or videos of a person without their consent:

"Non-consensual pornography transforms unwilling individuals into sexual entertainment for strangers," Hill Smith says. "Vengeful ex-partners or opportunistic hackers can upload an explicit image of a victim to a website where thousands of people can view it and hundreds of other websites can share it in a matter of minutes."

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

As Congress debates repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is making a push to get as many people as possible to shop for health insurance via healthcare.gov.

A line of people waiting to testify in support of removing balance billing for air ambulance rides in Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana lawmakers are trying to find a balance between the lifesaving air ambulance services, and the crippling debt those rides can bury patients in.

Today marks the inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
Michael-Vadon (CC-BY-SA-2)

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump, expected at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. We will be fact-checking and providing background to his remarks in real-time. We will be paying special attention to any comments about conflicts of interest, health care and national security. Listen live, and follow along here.

President Obama's Farewell Address - Live Annotation

Jan 10, 2017

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom will be live-annotating President Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night, scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. The team will be adding fact-checks and background to Obama's comments as he gives them. We'll be watching in particular for remarks on his legacy, national security, health care and foreign policy, among other topics.

Republican Representative Daniel Zolnikov of Billings
Mike Albans

As more solar panels go up on homes and businesses across the state, lawmakers in Helena are debating the economic incentives for doing so. Buying solar panels isn’t cheap, and it’s an investment that Norman Mullen, who lives in Helena, hopes new legislation can protect.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox
Courtesy Montana DOJ

As awareness of human trafficking increases, so do the number of victims who are being rescued in Montana. Human traffickers use force or fraud to coerce their victims into some type of labor or sex slavery.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says next to the drug trade, it’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

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