MTPR

Diane Sands

In Missoula Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, left, joined Sen. Diane Sands, Gov. Steve Bullock and people who helped lawmakers update state sexual assault laws
Eric Whitney

Attorney General Tim Fox joined Governor Steve Bullock in Missoula today for a ceremony to sign six bills updating Montana’s sexual assault laws.

They posed with Missoula Democratic Senator Diane Sands, who carried two of the bills, the most prominent of which removes force from the definition of sexual assault.

Two Abortion Bills Remain In Montana Legislature

Apr 18, 2017
Montana Capitol.
Eric Whitney

HELENA — There are two abortion bills still in play in the 2017 Montana Legislature.

Senate Bill 329, or the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act, would make it a felony for providers to perform abortions after about five months of pregnancy unless there’s a medical emergency. The bill needs one more vote to get to the governor’s desk.

Montana Lawmakers and state agency officials convened a 'meth summit' in Helena Saturday
Cal Reynolds

Montana’s ballooning meth epidemic is overwhelming state law enforcement, addiction treatment centers, and the criminal justice system.

That was the theme of the Montana Meth Summit - a bipartisan gathering of state lawmakers, agency officials, and members of the public held at the capitol on Saturday.

Crystal Methampetamine, or "meth."
File photo (PD)

Montana lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, along with state agency workers and members of the public convened in Helena Saturday with one big problem to discuss.

"Without question, everyone in here, in this room, every citizen in this state, every resident of my community is affected by methamphetamine."

Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the state Board of Regents to adopt a policy on accepting money or other gifts for the state’s colleges and universities.

Both the University of Montana and Montana State University have benefited from multi-million dollar gifts that resulted in naming rights.


Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.
seniorliving.org

Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.

Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, introduced Senate Bill 217 Wednesday morning in the state Senate.

Public lands advocates flooded the state capitol this week and won a victory against privatization in Congress. What's fueling their increased intensity of late? With Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary, is development on public lands a bigger threat than privatization?

Faced with a revenue shortfall and an unwillingness to raise taxes, Montana's University System and other state agencies are preparing for some painful funding cuts.

And the Legislature spent time this week debating a ban on Sharia law in Montana courts. Find out why in this episode of "Capitol Talk".

Shards of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth.
Radspunk (GFDL)

Lawmakers in Helena are calling for what’s being billed as the “Montana Meth Summit”, a gathering of lawmakers and government officials to talk about the impacts of meth in Montana. Senator Eric Moore, a Republican from Miles City, and Senator Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, stood in the Capitol Tuesday afternoon, as they announced a listening session to discuss the trends of meth use across the state.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

This week, Congressman Ryan Zinke had his confirmation hearing this past week to become the next Secretary of the Interior. Assuming that Zinke is confirmed, Gov. Bullock will soon call a special election to fill Zinke's Congressional seat. Republican Ken Miller is the latest new candidate for this position.

Part of this week's conversation also includes a proposed bill that would set up long-term financing for future infrastructure projects by using coal tax money, and several bills aiming to update Montana's sexual assault statutes.

Lastly, the hosts discuss the women's marches taking place across the country the day after Trump's inauguration and whether this is the start of a long-term movement.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus

Today, Montana Senators voted unanimously in support of a bill to change the state's legal definition of rape, removing the requirement of force for a perpetrator to be found guilty.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Today, lawmakers in a state Senate Judiciary Committee passed a largely bipartisan package of bills aiming to update laws on sexual crimes. But later, the committee split along party lines, shutting down efforts to change traffic laws.

Lawmakers in the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass a bill out of committee that could change what Montana legally defines as rape, and remove force from that definition.

Capitol Connections: Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Jan 11, 2017

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

During the first week of the 2017 legislative session, senators have discussed a package of 5 bills that could change the future of how sex crimes are prosecuted in Montana. Three of those bills were heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, including one to change how state law defines rape.

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.

Barbara Dryden, center, and Richard Blank, to her left, tell Governor Steve Bullock about the challenges family caregivers face Monday at Missoula Aging Services.
Kim Hutcheson, Missoula Aging Services

Governor Steve Bullock and Democratic State Senator Diane Sands say the state legislature should boost spending on assistance programs for the elderly by $1.6 million.

They made the pitch at a visit to Missoula Aging Services Monday. There, Bullock and Sands heard from people who’ve used the kinds of assistance they want to expand.

Montana State Senator Diane Sands.
Courtesy Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, University of Montana

Montana lawmakers are wondering how to track the effectiveness of nearly $20 million being injected into the state's mental health care system this year.

An Interim Committee Monday heard positive feedback on the funding package. But health care providers say they're not sure what data to collect to demonstrate whether new and expanded programs are successful.  

Montana Senate Votes To Ban E-Cigarettes For Minors

Mar 5, 2015

The Montana Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill to prohibit minors to buy or possess electronic cigarettes.

Senate Committe Kills LGBT Equality Bill On Party Line Vote

Jan 30, 2015
Montana Legislature

Today, the Montana Legislature grappled with the topic of discrimination.

One bill, brought by Democratic Senator Christine Kaufmann was intended to end discrimination for members of Montana’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Opponents argued it infringed upon their freedom of religion.

 That bill died 7 to 5 along party lines with Republicans voting it down.

Hearing room.
William Marcus

State lawmakers are being asked to increase the amount of power that customers can sell to their electric utility from their own solar or wind generators

It’s called net metering, and it’s a boon for alternative energy installers, or a threat to local power companies, depending on whom you ask.

In Montana, electric customers with their own solar panels or wind turbines can sell up to fifty kilowatts back to their power company. Brad van Wert runs an alternative-energy business in Gallatin, and supports raising that cap.

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.

Montana State Senator Diane Sands.
Courtesy Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, University of Montana

Historian, member of the Montana Legislature, and long-time Missoula resident Diane Sands describes in fascinating detail the story of women's suffrage, both in Montana and nationwide.  November 3, 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of women winning the right to vote in the state.