public land

2015 Legislature
6:16 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

These Bills Died In The First Half Of The Montana Legislature's Session

Credit William Marcus

Nearly 350 bill proposals have died in the Montana Legislature’s first half. Because of that, here’s some of what will stay the same in the state.

The minimum wage won’t increase for a while, speed limits will stay at 75, physicians can still aid terminal patients in dying, and the state's death penalty stands. People can still be thrown out of their house or fired for their gender identity or sexual expression.

The federal government will still be able to sell public lands in Montana. Brewers still have to jump through legal hoops to get a liquor license for a bar.

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2015 Legislature
7:21 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Legislators: Montana Entitled To Money From Public Land Sales

Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
Credit 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.”

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Logging & Litigation
5:44 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Sen. Daines Talks Logging Litigation At Missoula Roundtable

Sen. Steve Daines
Credit Courtesy photo

Today in Missoula, Senator Steve Daines held the second of three meetings he’s called to talk timber issues. He’ll do the same in Bozeman tomorrow.

The Republican Freshman Senator is calling the meetings “Timber Management Reform Roundtables,” and he’s invited mostly timber industry representatives to give him input on what they need to maintain or grow their operations.

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2015 Legislature
5:57 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Prohibition On Federal Land Sales Dies In Committee

Sen Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
Credit Montana Legislature

A bill that would ban the federal government from selling public lands died today at the Montana Legislature, mostly because opponents said it is unconstitutional.

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Senator "unavailable" for comment
3:15 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Sen. Tester: Lawsuit Claim An 'Error'

Senator Jon Tester
Credit courtesy photo

Yesterday, in a story about attempts to boost revenue for Montana counties that are mostly federal land, Montana Senator Jon Tester made the following statement: 

"Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them."

Several listeners questioned that statement, so we asked Senator Tester to respond. 

His communications director Marnee Banks said he is unavailable this week.

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2015 Legislature
5:54 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

SRS Funding Bill Could Bring Relief To Montana Timber Counties

Montana's U.S. senators are getting behind a new bill they say will help Montana's most rural counties round-out their budgets.

Mineral County Commissioner Duane Simons says communities like his are reeling after Congress failed to renew the Secure Rural Schools Act last fall.

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Forest Management
6:36 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Sen. Daines Holds Forest Management Roundtables To Find Ways To Boost Logging

Senator Steve Daines started his “Forest Management Reform Roundtables” at F.H. Stoltze lumber in Columbia Falls, MT.
Credit Eric Whitney

Tuesday in Columbia Falls, Senator Steve Daines kicked off a series of three meetings in western Montana that he’s calling “Forest Management Reform Roundtables.”

Around the table were executives from three timber mills, county commissioners from Sanders, Lincoln and Mineral counties, and Montana leaders of The Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy,  and the National Parks Conservation Organization.

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Public Land Management
6:08 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Conservationists Feel 'Sucker Punched' By Daines Public Lands Votes

Senator Steve Daines.

Montana’s new Senator, Republican Steve Daines, is asking Montanans for their input on how to better manage public lands in the state, but some conservation groups are wondering if he really wants to hear from them.

Rick Potts, who’s on the Montana Wilderness Association’s state council, is troubled by some recent Daines votes.

"I know my colleagues in the Montana Wilderness Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as well, feel like they’ve been sucker punched. They didn’t see this coming."

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2015 Legislature
12:10 am
Mon February 2, 2015

News Roundup, Week 4 At The Montana Legislature

Inside the Montana Capitol dome.
Credit 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.

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2015 Legislature Opens
5:04 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Leaders Call For Bipartisanship On Legislature's Opening Day

Debby Barrett - R, Senate President.
Credit Courtesy Montana Legislature

This was opening day for the 64th session of the Montana Legislature. There was the usual pomp and circumstance, but there was also some real history being made.

Republican Debby Barrett of Dillon became the first woman to take the gavel as Senate president. She was selected by her Republican colleagues during caucuses back in November, but the full Senate made it official Monday on a unanimous voice vote.

Barrett suggested that the legislature has lost some of  its stature, and she aims to rectify that.

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