MTPR

Steve Bullock

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.

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