MTPR

Steve Bullock

" class="wysiwyg-asset-image" contenteditable="false" fid="16410" image_style="placed_wide" uri="public://201708/E3A31363-7DAA-4124-8FCA-B85132ED6C7F.jpg">Fire drought
“This has been a difficult year," Democratic Governor Steve Bullock says. "By some estimates our fire seasons are now about 78 days longer than they were two decades ago.”
Credit Nate Hegyi / YPR

State climatologist Kelsey Jencso says what folks are seeing this summer -- extreme fires, sudden droughts, snowpacks melting quickly -- may be a vision of Montana’s future.

Confederate memorial in Helena, MT.
Courtesy Tom Kilmer in Helena, MT

Native American lawmakers in Montana are calling for the removal of a memorial to Confederate soldiers in the state's capitol city.

The granite fountain in Helena's Hill Park has been the subject of debate in recent years, as other cities across the country decide the fate of monuments erected to honor the legacy of the Confederacy.

Smoke plume over the incident command post for the Meyers Fire, August 2, 2017.
Inciweb

For the first time this year, the Montana National Guard has been activated to fight a fire in Montana.

A Chinook helicopter and its team of 15 were deployed  to combat the Meyers fire, 25 miles south of Philipsburg in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. 

A satellite photo showing the Lodgepole complex fires in Montana.
NASA

On Sunday, Governor Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency in Montana because of wildfires. MTPR's Eric Whitney spoke to him Monday afternoon about what that means on the ground.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

An automatic state budget cut could pull tens of millions of dollars out of the state firefighting fund as early as Tuesday.

During the legislative session earlier this year state lawmakers approved a bill that triggers budget cuts based on how much revenue is coming in.

Today's bill signing ceremony at the capitol
Corin Cates-Carney

Governor Steve Bullock formally signed a slate of bills today aiming to address the state’s problem of overcrowded prisons.

Gov. Steve Bullock in his office in Helena, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney

As Governor Steve Bullock begins his final term, the Democrat is starting to raise money with ambitions of stepping onto the national political stage. 

The KettleHouse Amphitheater sits along the bank of the Big Blackfoot River, just north of the new KettleHouse Brewing facility and the old lumber mill in Bonner, MT.
Josh Burnham

A new outdoor music venue is opening in Bonner, MT, just east of Missoula.

The KettleHouse Amphitheater, with its sleek integration of wood paneling and boulders, complements the scenic backdrop of the Blackfoot Valley. It’s located at the Bonner Mill Industrial Park, just north of the new KettleHouse Brewing facility and the old lumber mill along the banks of the Big Blackfoot River.

In Missoula Monday, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, left, joined Sen. Diane Sands, Gov. Steve Bullock and people who helped lawmakers update state sexual assault laws
Eric Whitney

Attorney General Tim Fox joined Governor Steve Bullock in Missoula today for a ceremony to sign six bills updating Montana’s sexual assault laws.

They posed with Missoula Democratic Senator Diane Sands, who carried two of the bills, the most prominent of which removes force from the definition of sexual assault.

Rising Temperatures, Drought Conditions Usher In Fire Season In Montana
U.S. Drought Monitor

Fire season is off to a slow start this year, but state officials say drought conditions in eastern Montana and rising temperatures across the state could change that.

Montana's Flathead Valley from above.
Nicky Ouellet

From above, the northern Flathead Valley is a patchwork of yellow fields of canola, green tracts of grains and wandering curves of cerulean rivers. Heavily forested mountains erupt from the valley floor, some of them still scared by clear cut logging from decades ago.

"This area obviously has got multi-uses," says Bruce Gordon, a pilot for EcoFlight, a nonprofit based in Colorado that uses flyovers in small aircraft to advocate for protecting wildlands.

He’s in Whitefish this week to fly western governors over northwest Montana, to give them a visual as they talk this week about land management.

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law on April 29, 2015 at the captiol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Governor Steve Bullock has joined a bi-partisan group of six other governors asking Congress to overhaul the existing Affordable Care Act, rather than replacing it with one passed by the U.S. House.

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

State revenues have again fallen short of lawmakers’ expectations and could trigger funding cuts across state agencies in the coming months.

Scientists measuring the terminus of Grinnell Glacier, in Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park

Montana Governor Steve Bullock describes President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord as, “short sighted and dangerous.”

Bullock, a Democrat, released a statement Thursday saying climate change is real and poses a direct threat to Montana’s way of life and economy.

An escalating trade war brewing between the United States and Canada could save timber mills in Montana, but at the cost of over 1,000 jobs north of the border in British Columbia.
(PD)

Lumber industry workers in Montana gathered in the capitol this afternoon to update the governor on the health of their businesses amidst a trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. Congressman-Elect Greg Gianforte
Bree Zender

Reactions to Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte being charged with misdemeanor assault last night for allegedly attacking newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs is rolling in.

At 10 a.m., Republican Senator Steve Daines tweeted “Greg Gianforte needs to apologize.”

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock has rejected five more bills, including one he said was a well-intentioned effort to bring more transparency to healthcare prices but would have done little to drive down costs.

High school seniors Jessica Not Afraid, left, Georgeline Morsette and Shaylee St. Marks wear  their beaded graduation caps to support Senate Bill 319 at the Montana Legislature Tuesday,  March 14.
Freddy Monares

Gov. Steve Bullock will hold a signing ceremony tomorrow for a bill that will allow Native Americans to wear traditional regalia during public events, including high school graduations.

“This bill means a lot to me. It’s important that our youth are able to display their culture and their identity during monumental events, such as graduation,” says Marci McLean, the director of Western Native Voice, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Bullock Vetoes 10 More Bills, Including Water-Well Measure

May 11, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed 10 more bills Thursday, including one that would have allowed residential subdivision developers to resume drilling multiple small water wells from the same water source without a permit.

Montana Governor Vetoes Bills On Abortion, Concealed Weapons

May 9, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a proposal that would bar doctors from performing late-term abortions and another that sought to allow lawmakers to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol and other state property.

The vetoes were among the seven his office announced Tuesday as he continued to sift through a pile of bills sent to him by now-adjourned lawmakers.

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

Governor Steve Bullock used his veto pen Thursday to kill what he calls "a regular political game" played by the Legislature, to restrict the governor’s use of the state airplane.

The bill sponsored by Missoula Republican Brad Tschida would have blocked the governor from using the state plane for any activity related to state or federal political campaigns, unless the governor reimburses the state for the costs.

Governor Bullock Faces 260 Bills To Sign Or Veto

May 3, 2017
Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock faces 260 legislative bills that he must soon decide to veto or sign. That's because state legislative leaders held off delivering them until the last minute as political payback for Bullock's decision to use his bill amendment powers to change voting legislation sent to him earlier this year, officials said Wednesday.

The big state budget bill landed on Governor Steve Bullock’s desk Monday, one of the final acts of the 2017 legislative session, which was gaveled to a close Friday.

MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney joins us for a look at what Montana lawmakers did and didn’t accomplish since convening in January.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

The 2017 legislative session came to a chaotic end this morning. Democrats and Republicans fought until the final hour over funding long-term public works projects.

When the final gavel struck, Republicans leaders said they’re proud of their party’s unity and keeping government growth in check. Democrats also talked up their wins, but expressed frustration in being unable to accomplish their major goals.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Montana senators have started the clock on the final day of the legislative session, forcing a 24-hour limit on the political chess match over funding long-term construction projects in the state like water treatment plants, a state veterans home, and schools.

"We’re going to turn the hourglass over and say you got one more day. Let’s get it done,” said Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso.

Budget Stabilization Plan Outlines State's Response To Future Revenue Shortfalls
Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

At the end of a legislative session defined by the state having less money than initially projected, lawmakers Wednesday negotiated a new budgeting system designed to protect the state against future revenue shortfalls. 

With state revenues down from slumping markets for oil, gas, coal and agricultural products, lawmakers spent most this session arguing over spending priorities in the state budget.

Katherine Hitt (CC-BY-ND-2.0)

A tax on medical marijuana is now on it’s way to the governor's desk after passing out of the House Tuesday morning.

A signature from Governor Steve Bullock is now all that stands in the way of a tax on medical marijuana providers becoming law.

Legislative Fatigue Sets In On Bonding Bill

Apr 24, 2017
Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

An attempt failed Monday at the Montana Legislature to revive a bonding measure that would pay for university buildings on three campuses and more.

Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote is the director of Montana's Office of American Indian Health.
Courtesy Montana DPHHS

Montana's first-ever director of American Indian Health says she thinks state government lacks the commitment for her to do meaningful work, and is resigning.

Mary Lynn Billy-Old Coyote was appointed by Governor Steve Bullock in March of 2016. She submitted her resignation Saturday.

Legislature Passes Bill To Fund Capital Projects, Veterans’ Home

Apr 21, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

HELENA -- The House gave final approval Friday to amendments on a bill that would appropriate roughly $157 million for capital projects with state special revenue funds, grants and donations.

The Senate passed House Bill 5 last week, but amended it to allow authority money to fund three more projects, including a veterans’ home in Butte. Authority money is grants and donations the Legislature needs to approve for spending.

The bill will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Pages