MTPR

Jonathan Windy Boy

Contentious Budget Bill One Vote From Passage At Montana Legislature

Apr 20, 2017
Rep. Nancy Ballance is the primary sponsor of the budget legislation.
Mike Albans

The state’s main budget bill is one vote away from going to the governor’s desk. Majorities in both the House and Senate have now agreed on it and some of its companion spending bills.

For the first time in recent memory, the state's main budget bill won't go to a joint House-Senate conference committee to hammer out any more deals. 

Efforts To Prevent Suicide Advance In Legislature

Mar 7, 2017
A package of bills aimed at addressing youth suicide in Montana is working its way through the legislature.
File Photo (PD)

A package of bills aimed at addressing youth suicide in Montana is working its way through the legislature. One of those bills, House Bill 381, would allow school districts to create policies and procedures for suicide prevention and response specific to their communities.

Bill To Establish Charter Schools Passes Montana House

Feb 27, 2017
Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

A bill that its sponsor says would provide additional educational opportunities by establishing a public charter schools act passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 55-44 on Monday.

Montana Lawmakers Work On Suicide Prevention Legislation

Jan 30, 2017
Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell testifies on a bill at the Montana Legislature.
Freddy Monares/UM Community

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Steve Bullock said that he "cannot tolerate that Montana leads the nation in youth suicide."

"I am haunted by this statistic," Bullock said.

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D) HD-32.
Mike Albans

A group of bills moving through the Montana legislature aim to address the state’s high suicide rate. Legislation introduced on Monday would fund grants in Native American communities, where the suicide rate among kids is more than five times higher than it is statewide.

Lawmakers Consider Expanding Montana's Native Language Preservation Program

Jan 5, 2017
Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D) HD-32.
Mike Albans

Lawmakers in Helena are looking at two bills that deal with Indian language preservation and education.

House Bill 37 seeks to add song to Montana’s Indian language preservation program, which protects indigenous spoken, written, and sign language.

Jonathan Windy Boy (D) SD16.
Courtesy Montana Legislature

A lot of Montana’s election races were closely fought this year, but the size of the Indian Caucus in the state legislature was never really in doubt.

Montanans regularly elect the most Native Americans to the state legislature in the country.

Montana capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Tribal leaders from across Montana gathered at the state capitol today as Governor Steve Bullock signed two bills designed to preserve native languages.

Native Languages: From Forbidden To Funded

Apr 24, 2015
Courtesy Nkwusm Salish Language School

April Charlo is happy to hear that state lawmakers passed a bill yesterday supporting Native American language immersion programs in the public schools. Growing up on the Flathead Reservation, Charlo says the first time she had a chance to learn Salish was in the 7th grade.

“And I wanted more." Charlo says. "I couldn’t have more until high school, but then it was only, you know, that 50 minute block a day. To have an immersion program in public school would have just been amazing.”

Bill Funding Native Language Programs Passes

Apr 23, 2015
Jonathan Windy Boy (D) SD16.
Courtesy Montana Legislature

A bill making Montana the second state in the nation to provide funds for Native language immersion programs in public schools passed in the legislature today. 

Legislators: Montana Entitled To Money From Public Land Sales

Feb 26, 2015
Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
Montana Legislature

Thursday, the Montana Senate passed a bill to ask the Federal Government to pay up for lands they’ve sold off.

Republican Representative Jennifer Fielder says under the Enabling Act, the Government is supposed to pay the state 5 percent of whatever money it makes selling off public lands. Fielder said they’ve been shirking this duty, costing Montana money intended for schools.

“They’ve really never been asked for this, I think it’s just a small detail that’s been overlooked for a very long time.”

Montana Legislature

Kelsen Young, director of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says Montana law treats someone who hurts their dog more harshly than someone who hurts their spouse.

“If you look at abuse toward animals, first offense misdemeanor, second offense felony. Here in current law you have to be convicted of partner/family member assault three times for it to be a felony.”