Llew Jones

For Senator Buttrey, Medicaid Expansion Is A Riddle And A Risk

Mar 25, 2015
Sen. Ed Buttrey (R) SD13
Montana Legislature

Middle ground on Medicaid expansion eluded the Montana Legislature in 2013, and since then Senator Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls, has studied the issue, talked to hospitals and members of the other party and others to get to where he was last week: standing in front of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee.

Budget Hearings Continue Thursday At The Montana Legislature

Mar 18, 2015
William Marcus

Thursday, the Montana House of Representatives continue hearings for the statewide budget. It’s unlikely to change, even though it faces more than 100 Democratic amendments, because of strong Republican support of the current bill.

Montana Department of Transportation

As it rushed toward its mid-session break, the Montana Senate Thursday killed a bill to cut back on the corrosive de-icing chemicals sprayed on the state’s roadways each winter.

Republican Dee Brown of Hungry Horse says the Montana Transportation Department is using more salt-based chemicals to melt ice on Montana’s highways, potentially damaging not just cars and trucks, but the environment as well.

"I am very concerned that the runoff and continuing runoff of chloride-based products is not good for us," Brown said.

Gov. Bullock's Preschool Program Faces GOP Opposition

Feb 24, 2015
Courtesy Photo

Representative Tom Woods sent his kids to preschool after searching for a couple of months to find the right fit.

“I’ve got kids. I’ve been through this,” Woods said in a recent interview. “Preschool helped them.”

Legislature's Education Debate Centers On Funding, Choice, Control

Feb 1, 2015
Michael Wright

Sen. Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, sat in his office recently and talked about why he supports school choice, a nationwide movement to increase access to charter and private schools.

“I’m of the belief that the child’s education isn’t the responsibility of the state,” he said. “It’s the parent.”

MUS Officials Say They're Meeting Benchmarks Set By 2013 Legislature

Jan 30, 2015
Josh Burnham

Montana University System officials told lawmakers they are meeting the benchmarks the 2013 Montana Legislature set toward increasing student retention and graduation.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian says performance based funding is driving change at Montana’s colleges and universities.

"You know what it’s done is its creating focus for us," said Christian. "And that’s the good thing. We’re talking about things that will affect student success. That’s the bottom line of what it’s creating."

Democrats Hope To Shrink GOP Majorities In Montana Legislature

Oct 20, 2014

From the seat of his combine in the Helena Valley, Republican Senate candidate Joe Dooling talked about why he decided to run for the Legislature.

“I’m just wondering where all the grownups are,” he said.

The 2013 legislative session was marked by a split between conservatives and moderates in the Republican majority, at least one day of banging on tables and more than 70 vetoes from Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat. Dooling said he was frustrated by all of it.

Edward O'Brien

Governor Steve Bullock's early childhood education proposal received an enthusiastic response today at a Missoula pre-kindergarten program, even as critics are wondering about its expense and value to taxpayers.

House Hopeful Ryan Zinke Banks On Experience, Leadership

Oct 10, 2014
Kaci Felstet

  You’ve seen Ryan Zinke’s ads, the ones with the medals, the flags and the tall, square-jawed candidate in combat fatigues or the dress uniform of a Navy Seal.

“In the Seals we’re taught to lead from the front and never quit until the job is done,” he said in one ad before the primary. “Isn’t that what we need in Washington right now?”

MT's budget on track

Mar 14, 2014

Analysts expect Montana’s budget surplus to be slightly higher than previous predictions.

The estimate comes from the Legislative Fiscal Division. It now predicts the state will have nearly $353 million left in the bank at the end of this budget cycle. That’s almost $6 million higher than estimates in December.

Conrad Republican Senator Llew Jones chairs the Legislative Finance committee, which looks at the budget between Legislative sessions. He said, overall, the budget is staying right about where it should.