Matthew Monforton

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.

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.

Rep. Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The Montana House Thursday approved a measure to ask voters if they want to define “personhood” from the moment of conception – a move that could outlaw abortion and even some birth-control methods. However, the constitutional amendment is still unlikely to appear on a state ballot.

Montana Republicans Divided Over Open Primaries

Mar 18, 2015
Michael Wright - UM Community News Service

Rep. Steve Fitzpatrick, the tall, bespectacled Republican from Great Falls, stood up on the House floor in late February and explained his bill that would allow local political party officers to be appointed by the state party instead of elected in primary elections.

But the bill was about something bigger, Montana’s century-old open primary law.

“It’s really a fundamental question with this bill,” Fitzpatrick said. “Do you believe in open primaries or do you believe in closed primaries?”

Montana Legislators Debate Constitutional Convention For Balanced Budget Amendment

Feb 13, 2015
Rep. Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

Montana legislators disagree on whether to call for another Constitutional Convention, and it’s not along party lines. Republican Representative Matthew Monforton is proposing Montana join a growing number of states, now at 24, to meet to change the United States Constitution to require Congress to balance their budget.

Democratic Missoula Representatives Nate McConnell and Andrew Person are part of the committee that passed this resolution to the House floor. Though they generally agree, on this vote, they didn’t.

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.

Legislators Hear Resolution Supporting Balanced Budget Amendment To U.S. Constitution

Feb 3, 2015

Today, Montana legislators heard a resolution that would add Montana to a list of 24 other states wanting to amend the U.S. Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget.

Proponents say Montana’s constitution requires a balanced state budget, and the national debt of over $18 trillion is too much.

Opponents like Robert Brown, one of many John Birch Society members who came, say this would open a door for Congress to take advantage of the system.

“Congress has historically decided that they have tremendous power over the convention process.”

Bill Addresses Appearance Of Impropriety Between Lawyers, Judges

Jan 29, 2015
Rep. Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

This morning at the Montana Legislature, a bill came forward that would allow judges to be removed from cases if an attorney involved has contributed to the judge’s campaign.

Republican Representative Matthew Monforton says judges may not always be biased by contributions, but people need to trust that their lawyers or their opponent’s lawyers do not appear to have an advantage by contributing.

“It isn’t just that there is actual impropriety taking place. It is the appearance of impropriety.”

Rep. Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The House approved Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton’s proposal to broaden the type of evidence that is admissible in domestic violence and child abuse cases Tuesday.

Monforton argued that juries ought to be allowed to hear about the prior bad acts committed by an accused abuser, acts that are currently considered inadmissible.

A Montana House Committee Monday took up a bill that could provide a preview of the coming debate on Medicaid expansion.

Freshman Republican Matthew Monforton, from Bozeman, is pushing a bill that would bar the governor from setting up a healthcare exchange or expanding Medicaid without the legislature’s approval.

"There are other states in which a governor has unilaterally imposed Medicaid expansion without the approval of the legislature, and in Montana we don’t think that’s appropriate," Monforton said.

Bill Would Prevent Gov. From Expanding Medicaid Without Legislative Approval

Jan 23, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Monday at the Montana Legislature, Republican Representative Matthew Monforton is proposing House Bill 256. This bill would limit the Governor’s ability to pass administrative rules that would effectively bypass the Legislature in expanding Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

Flickr User Evil Erin (CC-BY-2.0)

The Montana House Friday approved a bill to ban teenagers from using commercial tanning beds without their parents’ permission. 

Among those speaking in favor was Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton, who said he was making an exception to his usual stand against government regulation.

Bill Inspired By O.J. Simpson Trial On Friday's Legislative Agenda

Jan 15, 2015
William Marcus

Friday, Republican Representative Matthew Monforton presents a bill he says is the result of a case that rocked the nation nearly 20 years ago: The O.J. Simpson trial.

This legislation,  already enacted in California, would allow evidence of past abuse into current child abuse or domestic violence cases.

“There was outrage about the fact that Mr. Simpson had had a number of prior incidents with Nicole Brown Simpson that the jury was not permitted to hear about that.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let individuals give to as many political candidates and campaigns as they want.

The 5-4 vote Wednesday, led by the court’s conservative majority, frees up wealthy contributors to give more campaign donations ahead of the 2014 election.

It will have an immediate impact on Montana races for federal office, such as the US Senate and House of Representatives.

But, the state Commissioner of Political Practices says statewide elections will not be affected that much.

Supporters of an initiative looking to expand Medicaid in the state can now begin gathering signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.

The Attorney General’s Office approved the Healthy Montana Plan this week after finding problems with earlier versions of the initiative.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says opponents still believe the measure violates the state constitution.