MTPR

Montana Legislature

A Montana senator from Kalispell went before lawmakers today to ask for statewide restrictions on when women can have abortions. Republican Al Olszewski introduced his bill to ban late-term abortions this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Bill Aims To Address Checkerboard Lands, Make Public Lands Accessible

4 hours ago
A map showing checkerboard land ownership near August, MT.
Montana State Library

Hard to access public lands have become a hot topic lawmakers are trying to solve at the Montana legislature. Senate Bill 262 would allow complaints of closed roads to go through county commissioners to determine whether or not certain roads are being closed unlawfully. The bill aims to address the issue of checkerboard lands, which wedge public lands between private lands making them hard to get to.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

In a party line vote today, Republican lawmakers killed a bill aiming to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people under Montana’s civil rights laws.

Montana Bill Would Prohibit Commissioner Of Political Practices From Working Beyond Term

Feb 17, 2017
Jonathan Motl, current Commissioner of Political Practices, provides testimony against House Bill 406 Friday, Feb. 17. The bill is one of many introduced by Republicans in an effort to dismantle the office.
Freddy Monares

Montana Republicans furthered their efforts to dismantle the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices by introducing a bill today that would prohibit past, present and future commissioners from doing any work for the office.

Bill Would Allow Counties To Make Initial Attack On Wildfires

Feb 17, 2017
HB-481 would allow counties to have the initial attack authority on wildfires.
Inciweb

A bill entering the Montana House would allow counties to have the initial attack authority on wildfires if they believe they can move quicker, or have more resources than whoever is in charge of the land.

The Colstrip Power Plant consists of four separate coal-fired generating units, collectively owned by Puget Sound Energy, Talen Energy, Avista Corporation, PacifiCorp and NorthWestern Energy.
Beth Saboe

After announcing a soon-to-be-released plan to help keep parts of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip open, Montana’s Speaker of the House now says that plan is still up in the air. During the GOP rebuttal to Governor Steve Bullock’s State of the State address in January, Speaker Austin Knudsen said he would be introducing legislation in the upcoming days to help keep Colstrip Units 1 and 2 open for as long as possible.

Rep. Derek Skees.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

After contentious debate over a voter ID proposal, the Republican sponsor has put the brakes on his own legislation. In a move that caught Democrats by surprise, Rep. Derek Skees, a Republican from Kalispell, today asked the House State Administration committee to table his bill.

On this episode of "Capitol Talk": The Legislature debates a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's anti-discrimination law; should teachers carry guns in schools; proposed university cuts and how they could raise tuition; the delay in Zinke's confirmation hearing; and a new poll shows Rob Quist and Amanda Curtis are the front-runners on the Democratic side to replace Zinke in Congress.

Bison being released at Fort Peck Reservation, November 2014.
Courtesy of the Defenders of Wildlife

Tribal members and wildlife groups were among those asking lawmakers today to consider a bill to change how bison can be moved and sold. The bill proposed by Rep. Willis Curdy, a Missoula Democrat, would remove an existing requirement for wild bison be cleared as free from brucellosis before being transferred.

Legislature Hears Passionate Testimony On Discrimination Protections For LGBTQ Montanans
Josh Burnham

So many people packed into a ground-floor hearing room in the state capitol Wednesday morning, the committee chairman had to warn of it becoming a fire hazard, as debate began on whether Montana should protect gender identity or expression and sexual orientation under the state’s civil rights laws.

"He looked me directly in the eye and said, 'I do not rent to your kind.'"

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