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The so-called Quiet Waters Initiative — a slew of proposals that could redefine recreation on some Montana rivers and streams — rocked the boat at the first of several public hearings this week hosted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The agency is taking comment on nearly 30 proposed regulation changes that would limit horsepower, set seasonal restrictions and outright ban motorized watercraft along some rivers and stream segments that feed into the Clark Fork, Flathead, Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers.

Some of the coldest temperatures of this already bitterly cold week are forecast over the next 12 to 24 hours. Homeless shelters are trying to help Montana’s most vulnerable during this weather emergency.

Rob Quist is a familiar name in Montana. The Cut Bank native who now lives in the Flathead is famous as a songwriter and musician. Now  he's running for Rep. Ryan Zinke's soon to be vacant seat in Congress.
Courtesy

Rob Quist is a familiar name in Montana. The Cut Bank native who now lives in the Flathead is famous as a songwriter and musician, first as a member of the Mission Mountain Wood Band, and then as a solo artist.

Today, Quist said he now wants a job outside the arts:

The U.S. House took a vote related to public lands yesterday that has Democrats and conservation groups crying foul.

It’s part of a larger rules package that would change how Congress calculates the value of federal public lands when it comes to transferring them to states.

Senator Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, has introduced a bill to update the definition of sexual consent.
Mike Albans

Over the next two days, lawmakers in Helena will consider a group of bills that could change how the State handles crimes of sexual assault. The Senate Judiciary committee will hear five bills aiming to redefine what the law considers as rape, as well as laws on sex offender registration and crimes among minors and parents.

Montana FWP Appeals Ethics Ruling Over Trapping Initiative

Jan 3, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's fish and wildlife agency is appealing a ruling that it violated the state's ethics laws by allowing equipment it owns to be used to advocate against a ballot initiative.

In November, Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl fined Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks $1,500 after finding the Montana Trappers Association used an FWP trailer and state-owned displays of furbearing animals to oppose the 2014 anti-trapping initiative. The measure never made it on the ballot, but was revived in 2016 and rejected by Montana voters.

House Minority Leader Jenny Eck speaks in support of Democratic proposals to fund state infrastructure during a press conference in the Capitol, Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

The fight over infrastructure projects is beginning to brew in the Montana Legislature. On day two of the session, Democratic leaders pushed forward with the governor’s plan for big ticket construction projects like roads, bridges, schools and capital projects, even though they admit Republicans will likely dismantle parts of it.

The University of Montana’s longest serving president, George Dennison, died Tuesday morning.
Courtesy University of Montana

The University of Montana’s longest serving president, George Dennison, died Tuesday morning.

Those who worked alongside Dennison during his record 20-year tenure at the University of Montana say his impact cannot be overstated.

Senate Republicans Seek To Push Motl Out As Commissioner

Jan 3, 2017
Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl testifies in his lawsuit against Republican Rep. Art Wittich, March 31, 2016.
Kimberly Reed

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Senate Republicans who oppose giving Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl a full six-year term in office want to intervene in a lawsuit that aims to do just that.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, told his GOP caucus Tuesday that a resolution will be introduced as early as Wednesday defending the Senate's confirmation process, which set Jan. 1 as the expiration of Motl's term.

Montana’s cash cushion has grown smaller since the 2015 Legislative session largely because of declining revenue from natural resource extraction and lower tax collections.

That’s why lawmakers are summoning state agencies to see if they would make spending cuts in their current budgets to help Montana’s ailing “checkbook.”


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