MTPR

Scott Sales

A legislative proposal by Senate President Scott Sales to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana turns out to be a big joke, but it's going over like a lead ballon.
Corin-Cates-Carney

A legislative proposal to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana received a lot of negative buzz over the past week. Turns out it was also a big joke. And it’s going over like a lead balloon with cycling advocates like Ginny Sullivan.

A tax increase on cigarettes and chew took a step forward today in the Montana Senate. The proposed tax expansion would for the first time include e-cigarettes.
(PD)

A tax increase on cigarettes and chew took a step forward today in the Montana Senate. The proposed tax expansion would for the first time include e-cigarettes.

Montana Senate Endorses Concealed Weapons Bills

Mar 28, 2017
The House of Representatives gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill meant to preserve Montanans' right to bear arms by prohibiting the enforcement of any federal ban on firearms.
Webmaster 102 (CC-BY-3.0)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Senators have tentatively approved a measure granting themselves the right to carry concealed weapons in the state Capitol and other state property.

The chamber endorsed the bill 33-17 on Tuesday.

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

Governor Steve Bullock and Senate President Scott Sales reached an agreement Wednesday on a list of nominees for the next Commissioner of Political Practices, ending a more than week long stall in the nomination hearings. Bullock says he did not try to leverage his administration's legislative goals during that meeting, which was outside of the public nominating process.

Montana Senate President Scott Sales.
Mike Albans

State lawmakers and Governor Bullock have ended a stalemate over nominees for Montana's next Commissioner of Political Practices. The handshake agreement was reached outside the public hearing process.

Republican Senate President Scott Sales and Democrat Steve Bullock met in the governor's office a little before noon on Wednesday and reached an agreement on a list of nominees to replace Jonathan Motl as Commissioner of Political Practices.

Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin review the legislature's busy week as the state budget heads out of the House and on to the Senate. They also discuss how the debate over healthcare and the Trump administration's proposed federal budget is affecting Montana's upcoming special election in May.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

A meeting to come up with a list of candidates to nominate the state’s next Commissioner of Political Practices was canceled  this week, after Montana’s top legislative leaders couldn’t come to agreement. The meeting originally scheduled for Monday afternoon was postponed indefinitely.

Senate Kills Cyclist Bill: 'They Think They Own The Highway'

Mar 13, 2017
A legislative proposal to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana turns out to be a big joke, but it's going over like a lead ballon.
PD

The Montana Senate blocked a bill today that would have required vehicles going 35 miles per hour to give cyclists three feet when passing and five feet when going faster. House Bill 267 failed on a 24-26 vote. A motion by Majority Leader Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville to kill the bill indefinitely passed on a 29-21 vote.

Montana Capitol
William Marcus

Republican and Democratic leadership in the state legislature failed to come to an agreement today on a list of candidates to take over the office of the Commissioner of Political Practices. If the disagreement continues, the top lawmakers will forfeit their right to limit who the governor can select as the state’s top political cop.

U.S. Capitol
flickr user Tim Evanson (CC-BY-SA-2)

Over a dozen Montanans have now put their names forward as possible replacements for Ryan Zinke's seat in the U.S. House. Here's a list of candidates in the running:

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

State legislative leaders are no longer taking applications for the job of Montana's top political cop. They've now started the process of selecting the next commissioner of political practices.

In a meeting this morning, four Montana House and Senate leaders discussed  how to move forward in replacing current Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl, whose term ended in January.

State Senator Scott Sales (R).
Michael Wright

Senate President Scott Sales withdrew his bid today for Congressman Ryan Zinke’s soon-to-be vacant seat.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

State lawmakers consider big budget cuts this session, including $93 million in cuts for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Montana Legislature begins preparations for the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and two familiar names are circulating for the special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s congressional seat — Gianforte and Baucus.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Republican Lawmakers Try To Cut Off Campaign Regulator's Pay

Jan 12, 2017
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's Republican legislative leaders asked state officials Thursday to cut off Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl's pay amid a legal dispute over the commissioner's term of office.

While the maneuver appears to be an attempt to force Motl out of office, Senate President Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, said the issue isn't about the commissioner himself.

Montana Senate.
William Marcus

Montana’s Chief Justice canceled a speech he was supposed to give to lawmakers today. Mike McGrath says he canceled the State of the Judiciary Address after he was told by Montana’s Senate President that lawmakers didn’t have time to attend.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

This week on "Capitol Talk": Democrats and Republicans are on a collision course over the state budget. The quickly dissipating spirit of cooperation and non-partisanship at the Legislature. The Republican and Democratic rift over infrastructure projects. And the growing number of candidates, both inside and outside the legislature, for Ryan Zinke's soon-to-be-vacant seat.

House Minority Leader Jenny Eck speaks in support of Democratic proposals to fund state infrastructure during a press conference in the Capitol, Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
Corin Cates-Carney

The fight over infrastructure projects is beginning to brew in the Montana Legislature. On day two of the session, Democratic leaders pushed forward with the governor’s plan for big ticket construction projects like roads, bridges, schools and capital projects, even though they admit Republicans will likely dismantle parts of it.

State Representative Kelly McCarthy has expressed interest in running to fill Rep. Ryan Zinke's House seat.
Montana Legislature

A third Montana Democrat has announced interest in the party’s nomination for the state’s lone Congressional seat.

President-elect Donald Trump nominated Republican U.S Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the next Secretary of the Interior Department. If Zinke wins that nomination, Democratic Billings State Representative Kelly McCarthy says he'd like to step in to replace him:

Courtesy Photo

Great Falls state representative Casey Schreiner Monday announced his intent to seek the Democratic party’s nomination for Montana’s at-large Congressional seat. Schreiner wants to replace Republican U.S. Congressman Ryan Zinke, who’s been nominated to become President-elect Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary.

It’s been just over a week since Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke was nominated to be secretary of Interior by President-elect Donald Trump. Since then, at least half-a-dozen Republicans and one Democrat have expressed interest in replacing him. If Zinke is confirmed by the Senate, Montana will hold a special election next year to fill his House seat.

To talk over what this means for Montana, we’re joined by Rob Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana and analyst for MTPR.

More than a half-dozen Republicans have expressed interest in running for Congressman Ryan Zinke’s seat if he confirmed as secretary of Interior next year. They include 29 year old State Representative Daniel Zolnikov of Billings. The three-term state representative says that he is most concerned about the national debt:

State Representative Amanda Curtis
Christopher B. Allen

State Representative Amanda Curtis of Butte is the first Democrat to indicate interest in replacing Congressman Ryan Zinke if he is confirmed as secretary of the Interior next year. Curtis says she’s not yet decided whether she’ll seek her party’s nomination, but says if Zinke is appointed,  it would a great opportunity for Democrats to take back the seat and that she has been encouraged to run by her supporters and family:

State Senator Scott Sales (R).
Michael Wright

Three more Montana Republicans have announced their intent to replace Congressman Ryan Zinke, if he is confirmed as Secretary of the Interior next year.

State legislators Scott Sales of Bozeman and Daniel Zolnikov of Billings, along with Corvallis resident Gary Carlson, who publishes a conservative newsletter online, all say they are interested the job.

Governor Bullock, with Budget Director Dan Villa. Governor Bullock released his revenue and spending plan Nov. 15 at the Capitol in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney

The Bullock administration’s new budget released Tuesday outlines an increase in state spending of just over one percent over the next two years. This despite declining state revenue from the sales of coal, oil and gas.

State Budget Top Priority For Montana Lawmakers Going Into 2017 Session

Nov 14, 2016
Montana Legislature
Corin Cates-Carney

The state budget is the top priority for lawmakers and the governor ahead of the 2017 legislative session that convenes January 2. Yellowstone Public Radio’s Jackie Yamanaka and MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney talked to the newly elected legislative leaders and the governor about their priorities going into the 2017 session.

Prohibition On Federal Land Sales Dies In Committee

Feb 19, 2015
Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
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.

Eric Whitney

On the calendar it may have been Presidents Day, but for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday was no holiday.

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

Feb 1, 2015
State Senator Scott Sales (R).
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.”