MTPR

Steve Bullock

Two Abortion Bills Remain In Montana Legislature

Apr 18, 2017
Montana Capitol.
Eric Whitney

HELENA — There are two abortion bills still in play in the 2017 Montana Legislature.

Senate Bill 329, or the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act, would make it a felony for providers to perform abortions after about five months of pregnancy unless there’s a medical emergency. The bill needs one more vote to get to the governor’s desk.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) SD44.
Mike Albans

A big part of this year’s legislative session has been Montana’s Republican-controlled Legislature fighting with Democratic Governor Steve Bullock over tax proposals.

Republicans have passed some of their priority bills, which at times have died with Bullock’s veto. And the governor’s proposals often died early in Republican-led committees. On Tuesday, Republican leadership announced a compromise with just two weeks left in the legislative session.

What does the Kansas congressional election have to do with Montana's House race? Will the upcoming visits by Donald Trump Jr. and (possibly) Bernie Sanders, help the candidates? Mail-only voting looks dead in the Legislature, where passage of a gas tax hike looks likely and infrastructure funding and bonding are still being debated. And in 2018 election news, Jon Tester has a Republican challenger in the Senate race. These stories an more on this episode of "Capitol Talk."

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

A proposal for a new kind of rainy-day fund to protect Montana from future boom and bust swings in the state budget passed out of a House committee Wednesday.

Lawmakers are considering a change to how the state saves money, creating a new system allowing the state to react more quickly when it faces a shortfall in revenue.

About 180 Bills Signed Into Montana Law So Far This Legislative Session

Apr 11, 2017
Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

HELENA — Montana Governor Steve Bullock has signed nearly 180 bills into law so far this legislative session, on issues ranging from water rights to foster care.

Longtime Montana Legislator Mignon Waterman Dies

Apr 10, 2017

A former legislator from Helena died Thursday. Mignon Waterman spent 12 years as a Democratic state senator and was well-known for her public service and philanthropy.

Can the governor's amendatory veto bring back the mail ballot option for the special election? We parse Quist's new TV ads and his decision not to participate in a public broadcasting statewide debate. We also discuss what Gianforte gains or loses by keeping a low profile. Then we look at how Tester's Gorsuch vote might affect his re-election chances next year. Finally, we remember the well-respected former Helena legislator Mignon Waterman who died this week.

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

Governor Steve Bullock used his veto pen today to force state lawmakers to reconsider mail-in balloting in the upcoming special election, resurrecting one of the most contentious political topics of the legislative session.

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.

Lawmakers voted Thursday to bank on a projection that state revenue will increase substantially in the next 3 years to help balance the state budget. Democrats called that reckless.

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

Governor Steve Bullock and members of his staff interviewed candidates for the job of Montana’s next Commissioner of Political Practices, this afternoon.

Governor Bullock spent a little over ten minutes in each of his interviews with Ben Tiller, an attorney with the State Auditor’s office, and Jeff Mangan, a former Democratic legislator.

Gov. Bullock Signs 12 Bills Into Law, Including Caregiver Act

Mar 31, 2017
Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, left, looks on Friday as Gov. Steve Bullock signs a bill he carried that would define electric fences. This was Knudsen’s first bill signed into law, and one of 12 the governor signed this week.
Freddy Monares

Gov. Steve Bullock signed 12 bills into law this week passed by the Legislature, including one that would establish a program called the Caregiver Act, which lays out how hospitals communicate with people caring for patients.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

The search for nominees to be Montana’s next top political cop ended this afternoon during a short meeting of legislative leaders.

The majority and minority leaders of the Montana House and Senate approved Jeff Mangan, a former Democratic legislator who owns a consulting firm in Great Falls, to join the Commissioner of Political Practices nominee list.

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.

Carole Mackin, a taxpayer from Helena, is escorted out of a hearing room at the Montana Capitol by a sergeant-at-arms Thursday, March 23 after she refused to stop her testimony in support of Senate Bill 305, which would allow mail ballot elections.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

A bill intended to save counties hundreds of thousands of dollars in the upcoming special election for Montana's vacant U.S. House seat brought heated testimony and debate Thursday in the Capitol.

Senate Bill 305 would allow counties the option of running the May 25 election entirely through mail-in-ballots. Great Falls Republican Senator Steve Fitzpatrick introduced his bill to the House Judiciary Committee:

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.

"Herd Bull," a bronze bison skull sculpture by artist Benji Daniels on display in front of the Montana Historical Society in Helena, MT.
Eric Whitney

Montana's Historical Society has been asking state lawmakers for help to build a new building for years. In the last legislative session it narrowly missed getting the okay to issue bonds for construction. Now, a Republican lawmaker is proposing it sell off parts of its collection to pay for a new museum.

As state lawmakers debate larger budget and infrastructure bills, Billings Representative Dennis Lenz is proposing letting the Historical Society sell art and other objects to generate up to $50 million for construction:

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.

Delicious Montana craft beers
Eric Whitney

The state’s budget passed a final vote in the Montana House this morning and is now moving to the Senate. Democrats there are continuing efforts to increase taxes that they say would bring in more money to help currently underfunded state programs.

The latest tax increase proposal introduced in the Senate today could raise the cost of beer, wine and hard alcohol.

When Governor Steve Bullock released his budget late last year, he called for a 50 percent bump in the state’s wine tax to help make up for revenue shortfalls.

Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

The state's biennial budget will get its first debate on the House floor Thursday, the next round of legislative struggle over the state's lighter-than-hoped-for pocket book, which came up short of initial projections largely because of declines in state revenue from sales of coal, oil and gas.

After a first round of spending cuts and denials of spending increases, late last week a Republican controlled committee passed a budget that Governor Steve Bullock is calling "unacceptable."

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.

Montana Lawmakers Confront Tight Budget

Mar 9, 2017
State Capitol, Helena
Jacob Baynham, Community News Service, UM School of Journalism

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock says the number one concern he has with the Legislature’s proposed budget is the lack of funding for essential services.

The special election to fill Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives will be held May 25.

Governor Steve Bullock made that announcement this morning just minutes after Ryan Zinke resigned the seat. Zinke's resignation came soon after the U.S. Senate confirmed him to be secretary of the Interior department.

Montana Republican Party
Montana Republican Party

The state legislative session is now more than third of the way finished. At a Republican Party gathering in Kalispell Friday, about 30 party members said they're generally happy with how it's going, as Republicans hold majorities in both the state House and Senate.

The Glacier Country Pachyderm Club spoke with five Flathead Valley Republican legislators on Skype for almost an hour Friday to hear updates on their bills.

Sen. Daines vs. protesters; the new national attack ad against Sen. Tester; state GOP chairman pushes to block the mail-ballot election for Ryan Zinke's replacement; opposition to Gianforte as the Republican nominee in the upcoming special election; and former Chief Justice Karla Gray's legacy, this week on "Capitol Talk."

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.

Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.
seniorliving.org

Supporters of a bill to create a so-called Montana Paycheck Transparency Act say it will help make sure men and women are paid equally for doing equal work.

Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, introduced Senate Bill 217 Wednesday morning in the state Senate.

Funding to fix ailing public works projects cleared the first legislative hurdle in the joint appropriations subcommittee on Long Range Planning.

The panel voted to approve House Bills 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 14 with only minor changes.


Governor Steve Bullock urged lawmakers to pass bills to help businesses grow and expand. He says one way to do that is give businesses an incentive to hire apprentices.

It’s an idea that has been embraced by both political parties.


Rep. Adam Hertz (R) HD-96 is the sponsor of a bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana.
Montana Legislature

About 50 miles east of where two men sit on death row in Deer Lodge, Montana lawmakers are again questioning whether the state should continue killing people found guilty of heinous crimes.

Adam Hertz, a freshman Republican legislator from Missoula, introduced a bill Monday morning that would abolish Montana’s death penalty.

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