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Bill Would Eliminate Montana Office Of Commissioner Of Political Practices

Feb 2, 2017
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

HELENA - A bill in the Montana House would get rid of the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices and split the duties between two elected officials — the Attorney General and Secretary of State — rather than one appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

House Bill 340’s sponsor, Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, said the office wields too much power for one person.

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)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers agreed today to fund new judges for Montana’s burdened court system. But, as lawmakers focus on cutting spending statewide, the future of other services in courts are uncertain.

Deep Cuts Proposed for University Service Agencies

Feb 2, 2017

Agricultural producers and fire chiefs say they will be among those harmed by the deep cuts proposed for the service agencies that are tied to the Montana university system.


The Montana University System used the $15 million dollars it received from the 2015 Legislative session to solve Montana problems with Montana based solutions, add jobs, and grow the economy.

The funding was for the Montana Research & Economic Development Initiative, or MREDI.


Bullock used what's called an amendatory veto Thursday to recommend reducing a nearly 15 percent increase in the amount of money it approved for itself to operate this session.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is using his veto power to recommend that the state Legislature reduce the amount of money it approved for itself to operate this session.

Bullock used what's called an amendatory veto Thursday to recommend reducing a nearly 15 percent increase in the so-called "feed bill" (HB-1) to 1.46 percent. That is the same level of growth as Bullock's overall two-year budget proposal.

Montana Artesian Water Company is seeking permits for a facility that would produce 1.2 billion bottles of water each year.
Nicky Ouellet

Opponents of a proposed water bottling plant outside of Kalispell held a meeting Wednesday night to update local residents on the status of permits relating to the plant.

The Montana Artesian Water Company’s plant would bottle, ship and sell nearly 192 million gallons - about 1.2 billion 12-ounce water bottles - of treated groundwater per year.

Last spring, Barnes took home the gold in a national culinary competition.  The 23-year-old is now setting her sights on another big win: This time at the American Culinary Federation’s Student Chef of the Year competition.
Mike Albans

Katie Barnes is a big deal at the Missoula College culinary arts program. Her cooking skills have earned her national recognition.

Those who know her say Barnes is, without doubt, going places in the industry. But just over two years ago her professional future was anything but certain.

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

The Montana Supreme Court ruled today that Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl's term has expired, but he can remain in office until a successor is found.

This week, the topics of discussion from the Montana Legislature: a local option tax proposal and sentencing reform in the state’s criminal justice system.


Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

As Montana lawmakers look to find ways to trim state spending amid a budget shortfall, officials who oversee the state’s foster care system say they need more money to keep up with their rising workload.

Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services expects the number of kids in foster care to continue growing in coming years, to the point where they’re asking lawmakers to add more than $16 million to their $76 million budget.

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