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Update 2/10 7:00 a.m.: Both lanes of I-90 between St. Regis and Lookout pass have reopened. Standing water on highways across western Montana. Drive carefully!

Update 9:20 p.m.:  The Montana Department of Transportation is reporting that the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 are now open between St. Regis and Lookout pass. The eastbound lane remains closed due to standing water on the road. Heavy rain and melting snow continue to accumulate on the road. Find the latest road closures and conditions from the Montana Department of Transportation.

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Rep. Skees says his bill, HB-357, is an attempt to protect the state’s elections system from voter fraud.
Rebekah Welch

A Republican representative from Kalispell says voters should be required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Representative Derek Skees introduced his proposal to change Montana’s law during a House Committee meeting today, while opponents argued the bill would make it harder for some people to vote.

Bill Would Create A Fund For Family And Medical Leave

Feb 9, 2017

Montana lawmakers heard a bill Thursday that would create a fund to help with those in need of family or medical leave from their job. 

Bill Would Give First-time Drug Offenders Option For Rehab Facilities

Feb 9, 2017
Montana Capitol, Helena
Mike Albans

First-time drug offenders in Montana are currently not given the option to enter residential treatment facilities in the state. House Bill 278 would give judges the option to defer these first-time offenders to a live-in treatment facility, or rehab center, rather than giving them probation.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

Montana Senator Jon Tester met with President Donald Trump at the White House today. Tester, a Democrat, characterized the meeting as a ‘productive conversation’.

About 25 members of the activist group Big Sky Rising protested outside Sen. Daines' Kalispell office Wednesday, Feb. 08 over the senator's role in silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Nicky Ouellet

The chants of protesters and ralliers have become familiar sounds recently. Protests, pickets and rallies have been popping up across Montana cities ever since the election last November.

Rob Saldin, a professor of political science at the University of Montana, says the amount of political activism we’ve seen so far in Donald Trump’s presidency is unprecedented.

Funding to fix ailing public works projects cleared the first legislative hurdle in the joint appropriations subcommittee on Long Range Planning.

The panel voted to approve House Bills 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 14 with only minor changes.


Ag Bill Pushes For State Regulation Over Local Control

Feb 8, 2017
Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.
PD

Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would strip local governments’ authority to regulate the agricultural industry with the aim of providing consistency for farming techniques across the state. Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.

Lawmakers Consider Changing Columbus Day To 'Montana Heritage Day'

Feb 8, 2017
Posthumous portrait of Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519. There are no known authentic portraits of Columbus.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, online collection (PD)

Lawmakers in Helena are considering changing the name of Columbus Day to Montana Heritage Day. Many proponents of House Bill 322, including Democratic Rep. Bridget Smith of Wolf Point, say part of the bill is about correcting misinformation about the discovery of America.

Governor Steve Bullock urged lawmakers to pass bills to help businesses grow and expand. He says one way to do that is give businesses an incentive to hire apprentices.

It’s an idea that has been embraced by both political parties.


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