Austin Knudsen

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

On the final "Capitol Talk" of the 2015 session, Sally, Chuck, and Mike talk about the death of the infrastructure bill, the session's winners and losers, and how the outcome might affect the 2016 election.

2015 Session Ends, Major Infrastructure Bill Dies

Apr 28, 2015
MTPR

 

The 2015 Legislative session is over.

Lawmakers clocked out this morning after the House failed in another attempt to approve a statewide infrastructure bill.

Montana House, Senate Disagree On Adjournment

Apr 27, 2015
William Marcus

The House today fell one-vote short of the supermajority needed to give final approval to the last major remaining infrastructure bill before lawmakers.Then the House voted to adjourn for the session.

William Marcus

The proposed Flathead Water Compact will come up for a vote in the Montana House Wednesday, but as MTPR Capitol Reporter Steve Jess reports, opponents are trying to put up another roadblock to prevent its passage.

Flickr user Brad Smith (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

The contentious Flathead Reservation water compact appears to be taking the same convoluted path to the House floor as the Medicaid expansion bill did last week.

Legislative Roundup: Medicaid Expansion, State Budget Advance

Apr 12, 2015
From left, House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, Rep. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, and Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena, debate rules on the House floor April 8.
Michael Wright - UM Community News Service

After wrangling over rules, the last remaining bill to expand Medicaid at the 64th Montana Legislature appears to be headed to the governor’s desk.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The bitter fight in the House over Medicaid expansion, the state budget fights yet to come, the Flathead water compact's chances for passage, and the legacy of former Governor Tim Babcock, who passed away this week.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

The lone bill barely alive at the Montana Legislature that expand Medicaid coverage to the working poor is now tangled in a procedural fight over the House rules.

It will be an interpretation of those rules that will determine whether the full House gets to debate this bill on the floor.

This fight over Medicaid Expansion began long before the Republican-controlled House Human Services Committee held yesterday’s hearing on Senate Bill 405.

But it came to a head during executive action held after the four and a half hour hearing on this bill.

William Marcus

One of the biggest bills in this year’s Montana Legislature remains in limbo. Wednesday at noon, the House rules committee will meet to decide whether a committee had the right to kill a Medicaid expansion proposal with a “do not pass” recommendation.

Eliza Wiley

This week's "Capitol Talk" covers the Senate changes to the state budget, the competing infrastructure bills, the upcoming effort to keep a compromise Medicaid expansion bill alive, the surprise defeat of the bill to allow concealed carry on campus and the narrow defeat of the so-called religious freedom bill.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Democrats in the Montana House are fighting to keep a Medicaid expansion bill alive. Tuesday morning the bill goes before the same committee that killed a previous Medicaid bill.

Rep. Art Wittich (R) HD68
Montana Legislature

The only Medicaid expansion plan that’s still alive in the Montana Legislature has been assigned to a House Committee; the same committee that killed Governor Bullock’s original Medicaid expansion plan last month.

Campus Concealed-Carry Bill Fails In The House

Mar 31, 2015
Webmaster 102 (CC-BY-3.0)

Today at the Montana Legislature, the House of Representatives voted down a bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses. After passing the Senate 26-23, House Democrats and a few Republicans succeeded in defeating Senate Bill 143.

Dems Promise 'Silver Bullet' To Keep Governor's Infrastructure Bill Alive

Mar 25, 2015
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) HD87
Montana Legislature

The fight over how to fund infrastructure projects in Montana continues in the state legislature.

State Budget Hearings Begin Wednesday At The Montana Legislature

Mar 17, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Wednesday, the debate at the Montana Legislature begins over the state-wide budget in House Bill 2. The bill gained only Republican support out of committee because it was more than $100 million less than the governor asked for.

Democrats Cry Foul Over Medicaid Expansion Vote

Mar 9, 2015
Steve Jess

Governor Bullock’s Medicaid expansion plan is apparently dead for this legislative session. Republicans on the House Human Services Committee voted to give it a “do not pass” recommendation, an unusual move that make resurrecting the bill very unlikely, and has drawn harsh criticism from Democrats.

Medicaid Expansion Debate Begins At The Montana Legislature

Mar 6, 2015
Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen (R) HD34
Montana Legislature

Before the hearing on Gov. Bullock's Medicaid expansion bill began, the Republican majority took another jab at the bill.

William Marcus

State lawmakers are taking a five-day break before starting the second half of the 2015 legislature. While much of their work remains unfinished, one bill that’s already on its way to the Governor could set the stage for a showdown.

Lawmakers Say Much Work Remains As Legislature Reaches Half-Way Point

Feb 27, 2015
Michael Wright - Community News Service

The Montana Legislature is at the half-way point of the scheduled 90-day session.

It’s more than just the numerical half-way point; it’s a key legislative deadline. All non-spending or non-tax bills had to meet the Day 45 deadline of being transmitted to the other chamber or they died.

Lawmakers will now have nearly a week off before they return to the Capitol to resume their work.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Jackie Yamanaka talked to legislative leaders and the governor about the progress so far, and what lies ahead.

Lawmakers Rush To Beat The Transmittal Deadline

Feb 24, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Wednesday at the Montana Legislature, nearly a hundred bills will be thrust onto the Senate and House Floors for debate. Ready or not.

Speaker of the House Republican Representative Austin Knudsen says he expects to hear at least 50 bills on Wednesday.

“If we go long and do lots of talking like we did yesterday, we could be on the floor all day. It kinda depends how chatty everyone is.”

The rush is due to something called transmittal. That is, the bills in the House must pass the floor and travel to the Senate, and vice versa, or they die by the Friday deadline.

Rep. Ripley Would Cap Coal Trust At $1Billion

Feb 23, 2015
Flickr user wsilver

State lawmakers are considering a proposal to ask voters to cap the Constitutionally protected Coal Tax Trust at one-billion dollars. Senate Bill 353 would divert some of coal severance tax money that goes into the trust into an account to fund infrastructure projects. 

Taylor Brown: How The Voice Of Agriculture Found His Senatorial Voice

Jan 26, 2015
Michael Wright

Of all the people on the Montana Senate Agriculture committee, there’s one who always seems to be having more fun.

“To me,” said Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, “that’s like recess.”

Brown, in his second Senate term, serves as the committee’s chair. He knows the issues and the people, and the people know him. For many years his voice reported farm news to every corner of the state for Northern Broadcasting System, which he now owns.

Rules Debates Dominate The First Week Of The Montana Legislature

Jan 11, 2015
Michael Wright - Community News Service

The 2015 Montana Legislature convened Jan. 5, and ceremonial and educational events welcomed the 150 lawmakers from all over the state to Helena.

During the swearing-in ceremonies, the leaders of each party said they hoped the parties would work together to better the state.

“I look around this room and see 50 individuals dedicated to making Montana a better place,” said new Senate President Debby Barrett, R-Dillon. Barrett is the first woman elected Senate president, and she spoke about increasing the power of the legislative branch.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

Rules debates, the home-schooled chair of the House Education committee, Medicaid expansion, and two new murals honoring Montana women at the state capitol; Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Mike Dennison talk about all this and more in this episode of "Capitol Talk".

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen (R) HD34
Montana Legislature

A compromise over the rules in the Montana House gives the minority Democrats a little more power, while preventing a lengthy and acrimonious floor debate.

Tuesday the House Rules committee labored for hours as Democrats brought up a long list of changes to give their pet projects a slightly better chance of passing, or at least not dying in committee. The minority threatened to do the same thing on the House floor Thursday afternoon, until both sides reached a last-minute deal.

Medicaid's Western Push Hits Montana

Jan 6, 2015

The Affordable Care Act is on the move in Western states, with the governors of Utah, Wyoming and Montana all working on deals with the Obama administration to expand Medicaid in ways tailored to each state.

But getting the federal stamp of approval is just the first hurdle. The governors also have to sell the change to their state legislators, who have their own ideas of how expansion should go.

The latest example is Montana, where the governor and the legislature have competing proposals about how much federal Medicaid expansion cash the state should try to bring in.

State Lawmakers Elect Party Leaders

Nov 12, 2014

State lawmakers chose their party leaders for the upcoming 2015 legislative session in Helena today.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Jackie Yamanaka says they’re talking about working together to benefit Montana.
 

The 2014 election officially begins

Jan 9, 2014
Dan Boyce

UPDATE 5:30 PM

The Secretary of State's Office has reported a total of 139 Montana candidates filed to run during the first day they could officially do so.

Republican legislative candidates at a news event Thursday afternoon said Montana voters are tired of what they call failed liberal policies both in the state and in Washington D.C.

Dan Boyce

(Note: This is the third of a six-part series on "Bakken Spinoffs" airing Thursdays through January 9th on "Montana Evening Edition.")

Sidney, Montana and other towns surrounding the Bakken Oil Boom are seeing rapid growth and businesses of all kinds are benefitting from the influx of new people following the oil.

Reynold’s Market, a Sidney grocery store in operation since 1925, just moved to a new location twice the size of their old place. The number of workers there bumped up from about 60 to 140.