Duane Ankney

Voices For, Against Coal Royalty Reform Heard In Billings

Aug 12, 2015
Commenters line up to speak during a Billings meeting on coal royalty reforms, Tuesday, August 11.
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

An overflow crowd packed the Montana/Dakota’s BLM state office in Billings to speak on the federal coal program Tuesday. The agency is seeking comment on possible changes to make sure it’s obtaining the full economic value for the mining of federal coal. Comments ranged from whether the government is getting enough revenue, to climate change, to the "war on coal."

The vice administrator for China’s National Energy Administration says development of 'clean coal' is a top priority for China.
Flickr user Erin Kinney(CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Critics say that for decades the coal industry has gamed the system to underpay its fair share of federal coal royalties. They say those alleged schemes have padded the bottom lines of coal companies while short-changing state and local governments of tens of millions of dollars.

Jonathan Motl, Montana Commissioner of Political Practices speaks during a forum about the "Disclose Act" in Missoula, MT
Josh Burnham

Montana’s new campaign finance law still has at least one loophole that needs to be addressed. That’s according to state Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl.

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.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The Flathead water compact and "dark money" disclosure bills are on their way to the Governor's desk. Work remains on the state budget, the pay plan, and infrastructure funding bill. Will the legislature adjourn early? Sally, Chuck, and Mike bring you up to speed on this week at the legislature.

'Dark Money' Disclosure Bill Advances At State Legislature

Apr 14, 2015
Sen. Duane Ankney (R) SD20
Montana Legislature

A bill to shine more light on the donors to political campaigns continues to advance at the Montana Legislature.

The so-called Dark Money bill was in the House today after previously passing the Senate.

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.

During this week's Capitol Talk, Sally, Chuck and Mike look forward to what's sure to be a heated debate in the House over Republican Sen. Edward Buttrey's Medicaid bill to expand coverage to the working poor.

They also discuss Republican Rep. Duane Ankney's dark money bill as it takes a step closer the Gov. Bullock's desk.

"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.

Coal & Oil Taxes On Tuesday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 23, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Tuesday at the Montana Legislature, one state legislator goes on the defensive to protect Colstrip power plants and the surrounding community. Senator Duane Ankney is from Colstrip and says House Bill 402 is meant to keep the coal-fired plants in business.

Recently, Washington’s state Senate passed a bill to research the effects of Washington utilities closing some coal-powered utilities including the Colstrip Generating Station, which is partially owned by Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy.

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.

Legislators Weigh Lawsuit Over Out Of State Coal Ports

Mar 13, 2015

Montana legislators are considering giving $1 million to the Montana Department of Justice for a potential lawsuit against states hindering Montana’s coal trains from getting to larger markets. Namely, markets like China.

State Income Tax Cut Advances To Full House

Mar 10, 2015
Sen. Duane Ankney (R) SD20
Montana Legislature

Today at the Montana Legislature, the House tax committee sent a tax-cut bill to the full House.

Duane Ankney of Colstrip is carrying Senate Bill 200, which would essentially cut one tenth of a percent off state income taxes, with lower-income Montanans getting a slightly bigger break.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on Capitol Talk: Sally, Mike and Chuck look back at the week's events at the Montana Legislature, from the Flathead water compact, to dark money, to the death of the death penalty repeal.

'Dark Money' Disclosure Bill Narrowly Passes Senate

Feb 26, 2015
William Marcus

The Senate gave final approval to a bill that would shine the light on so-called “dark money” donations in Montana’s political campaigns.

Senator Duane Ankney says when neighbors contribute to a political campaign, the candidate is required to report that person’s name, address, and occupation.

Dark Money Bill On Thursday's Busy Legislative Agenda

Feb 25, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Thursday, Montana legislators will see plenty more bills on the House and Senate floors.

One of the larger bills will be in the Senate, when Republican Senator Duane Ankney presents his bill, Senate Bill 289, to fight dark money in politics.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The Flathead water rights compact passes out of committee. A bill intended to "shine sunlight on dark money" is making its way through the process. Lawmakers heard testimony on one part of the GOP healthcare plan. And next Friday is the bill transmittal deadline and halfway point of the session

News Roundup: Week Five At The Montana Legislature

Feb 8, 2015
William Marcus

Juneau calls for early education, tax cuts pass, lawmakers consider drones on public lands and Fox supports bill to combat human trafficking.

In her address to a joint session of the Montana Legislature last week, Superintendent Denise Juneau praised Montana’s schools and called for more investment in them.

“We have a lot to be proud of in this state,” she said.

Juneau listed accomplishments like the highest graduation rates in the state’s history and growth in organizations like the Future Farmers of America.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk", tax cut bills are getting a lot of attention at the Montana Legislature this session. One legislator, Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior, introduced a bill that would put income tax cuts up to a vote via referendum. The bill drew bipartisan opposition during its hearing in the House. Schwaderer defended the bill saying, "taxation of income is theft."

Tax cuts could face vetoes from Gov. Bullock, who is intent on keeping at least a $300 million surplus.

Bill Allowing Guns On Campus Advances In Montana Senate

Feb 5, 2015

Today, the Montana Senate passed a bill 26-23 that would make it legal for students to carry guns on college campuses.

The debate during yesterday's second reading centered on second amendment rights and the safety guns could provide for women on campus. These points were heavily debated, first by Senator Kristin Hansen of Havre.

“I don’t think there are a ton of young women who want to carry a handgun ... But I do think there are some and they are qualified to do so.”

Senator Duane Ankney of Colstrip was one Republican to vote against it.

Montana’s governor has made good on a promise contained in last week’s State of the State Address, introducing a package of four bills designed to increase transparency in campaign financing. The centerpiece of the package is called the Disclose Montana Act, and it broadens the range of groups that must disclose their election-related finances.

News Roundup, Week 4 At The Montana Legislature

Feb 2, 2015
William Marcus

In the middle of the fourth week of the 64th Montana Legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock took the rostrum in the House of Representatives with a big smile.

“The state of our state is strong,” Bullock said, beginning his State of the State address.

Bullock touted his fiscal discipline and pushed his big legislative priorities, getting multiple standing ovations from Democrats and occasional claps from a few Republicans.

Colstrip power plant
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

Billings residents and Missoulians are next in line to weigh in on Montana's climate plan. Governor Steve Bullock asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to analyze potential ways the state can comply with E.P.A's proposed Clean Power Plan.

State regulators were in Colstrip yesterday, the heart of Montana coal country, for a public meeting on a draft rule limiting carbon pollution in Montana.

Montana Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown attended yesterday's meeting at Colstrip High School.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) SD20
Montana Legislature

Tonight Governor Bullock’s proposal for how Montana can reduce C02 emissions from its coal fired power plants gets its first public airing at a meeting in Colstrip.

More public meetings will follow in Billings tomorrow night, and Missoula on Thursday. The administration is trying to meet a goal set by the Environmental Protection Agency for Montana to reduce C02 emissions 21 percent by the year 2030.

Natalie Maynor/Flickr

Montana lawmaker have until Monday to cast their votes on whether to override certain vetoes from Governor Steve Bullock.

Bullock vetoed the second highest number of bills in Montana history this year--a total of 71 bills.

Two dozen of those bills were passed by a 2/3rds  majority of the legislature, and thus meet the criteria for a potential veto override. The Secretary of State's office sends out polls on those bills, and if 2/3rds of both the House and Senate vote for them again the veto is overturned.