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Lawmakers To Consider Tax Increase Bill

Jan 31, 2017

HELENA - The House Taxation Committee will hear a bill Wednesday that would raise taxes for Montanans making more than $400,000 a year in taxable income.

House Bill 330 would keep the tax rates the same until someone hits that $400,000 mark. Then the rate would go from 6.9 percent to 8.9 percent.

Bill Would Create Effective Date For Montana's Marijuana Initiative

Jan 31, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, Republican from Stevensville.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA -- Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, says his Senate Bill 131, which would correct an error on a medical marijuana initiative, is really about the power of the judicial branch of government.

The bill fixes the effective date of a voter-approved initiative that would repeal a three-patient limit for medical marijuana providers. But, the language in the bill also admonishes a district judge who ruled in December to repeal the limit before the effective date in the initiative.

Students, campus officials, and others urged lawmakers to resist the up to $25 million budget cut proposed for the Montana University System (MUS) budget. They said it would reverse a decade of gains made to keep higher education accessible and affordable for low- and middle-income students.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian told the joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, officials are considering increasing tuition; cutting programs, faculty and staff; or a combination of the two.

“Any of those scenarios has dramatic impacts to students,” he said.


Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

It took Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke less  than two minutes to win the backing of the GOP-led Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday.

After the 16-6 vote, Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska said, "Congratulations Representative Zinke. We look forward to working with you.” 

Duane Ankney, the Republican Senator from Colstrip
Mike Albans

Last July, the operators of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant settled a lawsuit with environmental groups, agreeing to shut down the plants two older electricity generators by 2022.

As the community of Colstrip tries to figure out an uncertain future, their Republican Senator Duane Ankney is proposing legislation aiming to provide some security for his town.

State Senator Duane Ankney (R) SD-20, is the sponsor of several bills directed at the future of Colstrip.
Mike Albans

The state senator from Colstrip is asking lawmakers in Helena to consider a bill requiring a more detailed cleanup plan for when two coal-fired electric generators in his town shut down.

On Monday, Republican Duane Ankney proposed the first of several bills he is bringing forward this legislative session directed at the future of Colstrip

Public lands supporters packed into the Capitol in Helena, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Michael Siebert - UM Legislative News Service

The annual rally in support of keeping public lands publicly-owned at the state capitol today filled the building's rotunda with chanting supporters.

Organized by the Montana Wilderness Association, the event is intended to show solidarity among many different types of public lands users against efforts to sell or transfer federal public lands, or give management authority over them, to states or private entities.

Bill Would Create Montana Commission To Investigate Child Abuse, Neglect

Jan 30, 2017
“This bill matters to me,” says Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, about House Bill 303. Kelker has carried a similar bill in the 2015 session
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

In the wake of reports of an increase in child abuse and neglect cases, lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would create a commission to review trends and patterns to share with policymakers. House Bill 303 also aims to educate the public and service providers about child abuse and neglect.

Starting Monday night, a weather system will bring periods of moderate to heavy snow across western Montana and central Idaho.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys, as well as the Seeley-Swan and Lower Clark Fork regions beginning at 11:00 p.m. tonight.

Larry Abramson is dean of the University of Montana Journalism School
Eric Whitney

Montana’s U.S. senators are split on the Trump administration’s temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

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