Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Legislators Weigh Lawsuit Over Out Of State Coal Ports

Mar 13, 2015

Montana legislators are considering giving $1 million to the Montana Department of Justice for a potential lawsuit against states hindering Montana’s coal trains from getting to larger markets. Namely, markets like China.

Tax Cuts Advance Even As Ending Fund Balance Remains Unknown

Mar 13, 2015
William Marcus

The Republican-controlled legislature is closer to sending another tax cut proposal to Democratic Governor Steve Bullock’s desk. The governor has already vetoed one tax cut measure.

Senate Bill 200 would reduce the income tax rates and broaden the tax brackets. The bill also reduces the capital gains tax credit rate.

A pair of bills intended to increase privacy in the digital age are making their way through the Montana legislature. They were each heard today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will vote on them later.

Eric Whitney

About 80 climate change activists rallied in Missoula this morning.

Led by Jeff Smith of the group 350Missoula, they gathered in front of Senator Steve Daines’ office here. There were there to, they said, “protest the senator’s denial of climate change science and his support for fossil fuel projects like coal exports, the Otter Creek Coal Mine, and the Keystone XL pipeline."

'Catastrophic Health Care Costs' Bill On Friday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 12, 2015
William Marcus

Expanding healthcare is on the agenda yet again at the Montana Legislature Friday.

Republican Representative Art Wittich of Bozeman is carrying House Bill 582, and says it’s a part of the Republicans' alternative plans to the governor’s Medicaid expansion.

The Montana House has narrowly approved an updated list of mandatory vaccinations for Montana school students; even though the Senate rejected the House’s attempt to add an exemption for "personal beliefs."

Billings Representative Kathy Kelker, a Democrat, said states that allow children to go unvaccinated because of their parents’ "personal beliefs" have seen tragic results.

"The states who have had it, particularly California, are the ones where we now see outbreaks of epidemics of childhood diseases, the most recent being measles."

Every day millions of us create Facebook posts, Tweets, and other digital records of our lives. But what happens to all this content you’ve created, when you die? Montana could become one of the first states to answer that question as a matter of law. A bill heard Thursday morning in the House Judiciary Committee would give your survivors access to your data, unless you leave specific instructions to the contrary.

Missoula attorney Dirk Williams has a client whose son died suddenly, leaving behind important information that was locked inside password-protected computers.

House Votes To Criminalize Physician-Assisted Suicide

Mar 12, 2015
Michael Wright - Community News Service

UPDATE - 03/13/15: On third reading today, House Bill 477 criminalizing physician-assisted suicide failed on a 50 to 50 vote in the House.

Lawmakers Begin Debate On Infrastructure Bills

Mar 12, 2015
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) HD87
Montana Legislature

One of the biggest disagreements at the state capitol this year is how Montana should fund roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Governor Steve Bullock’s “Build Montana” proposal is one big bill that would fund lots of different projects. It would pull funding from several different sources, including the state coal tax trust fund. Legislative Legal Services says, that means his bill would need to win votes from 75% of lawmakers. 

The House Appropriations Committee has begun examining funding for the various infrastructure projects proposed this legislative session.

Limits On Drone Use On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 11, 2015
William Marcus

Thursday at the Montana legislature brings a bill that would limit the use of drones. House Bill 586 would ground these unmanned aerial vehicles if flown within about 3 miles of airports, areas of an emergency, or places where planes or helicopters are spraying.

The bill’s sponsor, Willis Curdy of Missoula, says he’s a commercial pilot himself, and has seen planes grounded because of drone use.

“Some operations had to have been terminated because drones have been in the area and aviators have not been able to continue with their mission.”

Pages