Montana News

Obamacare Alternative
11:15 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Montana Senate Republicans Release Health Plan

Stevensville Senator Fred Thomas chairs the Montana Senate's Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee
Credit Montana Legislature

A group of Montana Republicans have released their plan to improve health care and insurance coverage in Montana.

Stevensville Senator Fred Thomas says: “Improving our healthcare system is a far more complicated equation than simply expanding government insurance coverage. Any solution must be a comprehensive plan that does more than just provide health insurance through the Obamacare framework.”

You can see the proposal below.

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Hydropower
8:21 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Small Hydropower: Renewable Energy The New Senate Could Get Behind

Beverly Rich and the author talk about the generator hooked up to a historic mill's water pipeline.
Credit Emily Carpeaux - Inside Energy

In a tiny shack nestled in the rugged peaks of Southwestern Colorado, you can hear the sound of hydropower’s future.

It’s not construction crews, building some behemoth new dam. It’s a generator no bigger than a wheelbarrow, pulling in water from a mountain stream, making enough power for about two hot water heaters.

And fans of this little generator say it helped change the course of hydro history.

“C’mon, really, this little tiny thing ….. is causing all of this?"

That’s Beverly Rich, chairman of the San Juan County Historical Society.

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Six Bucks A Week
9:50 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Montana Minimum Wage Rising January 1

Credit David Trawin

When the new year arrives, about 13,000 minimum wage workers in Montana will get a raise. Under a law passed by voters in 2006, the current minimum wage will go up by 15 cents, to $8.05 an hour, matching the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

While the increase puts more money in the pockets of low-wage workers, University of Montana Economist Patrick Barkey says it’ll have practically no effect on the state’s overall economy:

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2014 In Review
5:01 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

The Top Stories Of 2014 On MTPR

Replicas of artifacts found at the Anzick site, near Wilsall. the Montana Historical Society has the entire collection of original artifacts on display,
Credit Dan Boyce

With a new year just around the corner, it's time to look back at the year's big stories. Here are some of the most popular stories from 2014 on mtpr.org.

Ancient Human Remains Come From Montana Ancestor Of Most Native Americans

DNA evidence recovered from ancient human remains found in Montana is providing definitive answers to the origin of Native Americans.

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Citizens United
8:49 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Nelson: 'Dark Money' Ruining Supreme Court Elections

Retired Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Nelson at MTPR.
Credit Eric Whitney

Jim Nelson was appointed to Montana's Supreme Court by Governor Marc Racicot in 1993, and retired in 2012. He's long been an advocate for electing state Supreme Court justices. But now he's changed his mind.

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Flathead Water Compact
4:39 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Flathead Irrigators Urge Rejection Of Water Rights Compact

The Flathead Joint Board of Control, the body that represents most irrigators on the Flathead Reservation, is sharply divided over the proposed water compact with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

At a meeting Tuesday, a majority of the board decided to draft a resolution urging the state legislature to reject the proposal. Vice Chairman Jerry Laskody says most of the commissioners feel the state and the tribe have ignored the concerns of irrigators.

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Visitor Numbers Flat
6:01 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Tourism Spending Up 4% In 2014

Tourists fill the Logan Pass parking area in Glacier National Park.
Credit Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

The number of out-of-state visitors to Montana was down slightly in 2014, but they spent 4% more while they were here than last year.

That’s according to the latest projection from the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research.

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Flathead Water Compact
4:38 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Off-Reservation Water Rights Complicate Flathead Water Compact

Montana State Senator Mark Blasdel

As a proposed water compact involving the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes moves closer to consideration in the Montana Legislature, we’re talking to people on all sides of the proposal.

Today we’ll hear from Mark Blasdel of Kalispell, who is leaving his post as Speaker of the House to take a seat in the state Senate. Blasdel opposed the compact that died in the last legislature, and he says he’ll oppose the latest version as well.

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Whistleblower Laws
3:06 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Chippewa Cree Chairman Illegally Ousted Says Interior

The U.S. Interior Department has ruled that former Chippewa Cree tribal Chairman Ken Blatt St. Marks was ousted from his job illegally in 2013. 

John Paul Schmidt, a staff writer with the Havre Daily News, says St. Marks was voted out when he was helping federal investigators look into missing money from a pipeline project on the Chippewa-Cree Reservation.

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Montana Legislature
3:41 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

2015 Legislative Preview

Here are some topics we’re sure to see from this year’s state legislative session starting on Jan. 5th.

Medicaid Expansion

Governor Steve Bullock is still looking to get health care for the state’s 70,000 lowest-income members. Last session, he tried to expand Medicaid, but Republican members blocked it.

This time, however, he’ll be promoting something called “Healthy Montana,” which is an alternative meant to use federal dollars to contract with a private insurer for negotiated rates.  

Attorney General Tim Fox

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