MTPR

Steve Bullock

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.

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

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is using his veto power to recommend that the state Legislature reduce the amount of money it approved for itself to operate this session.

Bullock used what's called an amendatory veto Thursday to recommend reducing a nearly 15 percent increase in the so-called "feed bill" (HB-1) to 1.46 percent. That is the same level of growth as Bullock's overall two-year budget proposal.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl testifies in his lawsuit against Republican Rep. Art Wittich, March 31, 2016.
Kimberly Reed

The Montana Supreme Court ruled today that Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl's term has expired, but he can remain in office until a successor is found.

Public lands supporters packed into the Capitol in Helena, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017.
Michael Siebert - UM Legislative News Service

The annual rally in support of keeping public lands publicly-owned at the state capitol today filled the building's rotunda with chanting supporters.

Organized by the Montana Wilderness Association, the event is intended to show solidarity among many different types of public lands users against efforts to sell or transfer federal public lands, or give management authority over them, to states or private entities.

Montana Lawmakers Work On Suicide Prevention Legislation

Jan 30, 2017
Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell testifies on a bill at the Montana Legislature.
Freddy Monares/UM Community

During his State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Steve Bullock said that he "cannot tolerate that Montana leads the nation in youth suicide."

"I am haunted by this statistic," Bullock said.

The candidates for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House today both sought to make news out of their positions on control of federal public lands.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana Wilderness Association is hoping a rally on Monday will send a message to the state’s elected officials.

Kayje Booker is the Association’s State Policy Director:

Montana Hall, MSU Campus, Bozeman, MT
Flickr User Tim Evanson (CC-BY-2)

As Montana lawmakers debate which infrastructure projects outlined in the bonding bill should get state funding, the presidents of two of Montana’s public universities asked state lawmakers to invest in public education.

The "Capitol Talk" panel recaps the State of the State, talks about the state of the budget, and notices that both Amanda Curtis and Greg Gianforte are trying to tie their congressional campaigns to Donald Trump. Can the enthusiasm on display at the women's march be translated into real action for change? Sally Mauk and Rob Saldin discuss the week in Montana politics on this episode of "Capitol Talk."

Colstrip power plant, Montana
Courtesy Montana AFI-CIO

Parts of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will shut down by 2022. But there’s a chance that the plant’s operators could pull out even sooner, creating an unforeseeable future for the community the power plant employs. Lawmakers in Helena say they have a plan that will help Colstrip stay open for as long as possible.

Arial view of the Yellowstone River oil spill cleanup, Jan. 2015.
Courtesy Bridger Pipeline LLC

There’s a new plan to restore the Yellowstone River following a 2011 Exxon-Mobil pipeline rupture. The spill leaked 1,500 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone, harming fish and wildlife, and their habitat.

Representative Randy Brodehl of Kalispell presented his plan today to allow legislators to carry guns in the capitol and on other state property.
(PD)

Proposals to loosen gun restrictions in Montana are being revived by Republican lawmakers who are undeterred that similar bills were shot down in past legislative sessions.

The priorities Governor Steve Bullock promoted last night during his 3rd State of the State Address were familiar themes from past speeches and from last fall’s re-campaign.

“Fiscal responsibility. Education. Infrastructure. Job Creation. Caring for others,” Bullock summarized.


Gov. Bullock entering the House chambers before his State of the State speech Tuesday, January 24, 2017 in Helena.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

Gov. Steve Bullock outlined his goals for the 2017 Legislature Tuesday during his third State of the State address, including a responsible state budget, infrastructure, business growth and education.

Watch Live: State Of The State Address 2017

Jan 24, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

MontanaPBS provides live coverage and analysis of Governor Steve Bullock's State of the State Address. This speech, delivered before the joint chambers of the Montana Legislature, comes at the beginning of the governor's second term. The live coverage will include a response from the Montana Republican Party, interviews with lawmakers and analysis.

Tune in right here for MontanaPBS coverage of Governor Bullock's 2017 State of the State Address. The speech is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

This week, Congressman Ryan Zinke had his confirmation hearing this past week to become the next Secretary of the Interior. Assuming that Zinke is confirmed, Gov. Bullock will soon call a special election to fill Zinke's Congressional seat. Republican Ken Miller is the latest new candidate for this position.

Part of this week's conversation also includes a proposed bill that would set up long-term financing for future infrastructure projects by using coal tax money, and several bills aiming to update Montana's sexual assault statutes.

Lastly, the hosts discuss the women's marches taking place across the country the day after Trump's inauguration and whether this is the start of a long-term movement.

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

Montana Capitol, Helena
Mike Albans

Today, a so-called Bill of Rights for kids in foster care and the parents that take care of them got its first hearing in the state legislature. Although guidelines outlining those rights already exist now, they’re just administrative policy and not a part of state law.

Familiar Infrastructure Ideas Return to 2017 Session

Jan 17, 2017

There was a bit of déjà vu surrounding a bill that seeks to use coal tax money to pay for crumbling public works and state buildings.

“I think the bill is familiar to many of us,” said Dan Villa, Governor Steve Bullock’s budget director.

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.

Keith Regier (R) SD-3
Montana Legislature

A new bill in Montana's Senate would decrease the amount of information people who donate to political campaigns must reveal to the public.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Keith Regier from Kalispell says he doesn’t think donors should have to share their employer or occupation when giving money to a political candidate or committee:

A line of people waiting to testify in support of removing balance billing for air ambulance rides in Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana lawmakers are trying to find a balance between the lifesaving air ambulance services, and the crippling debt those rides can bury patients in.

GOP Blames Bullock for State Budget Woes

Jan 9, 2017

GOP lawmakers lined up behind their leaders to challenge the Bullock Administration’s budget proposals

Republican legislators blame Democratic Governor Steve Bullock for Montana’s budget woes, saying they’ll fix the state’s ailing finances.


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.

Montana Political Practices Commissioner To Remain In Office For Now

Dec 30, 2016
Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl.
Corin Cates-Carney

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's commissioner of political practices will remain in office beyond the expiration of his term Sunday until a state judge rules on a lawsuit seeking to keep him in office for a full six years.

Whitefish, MT rail depot.
Flickr user Roy Luck (CC-BY-2)

A bipartisan group of Montana’s top elected officials today condemned a series of anti-Semitic, online attacks happening in Whitefish.

U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, along with Congressman Ryan Zinke, Governor Steve Bullock, and Attorney General Tim Fox released a joint statement saying that groups with anti-Semitic views will “find no safe haven here.”

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.

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

President-elect Donald Trump has promised a lot of change after he’s sworn in next month. MTPR Capitol reporter Corin Cates-Carney sat down with Montana Governor Steve Bullock earlier this week to talk about what some of  those changes could mean for Montana.

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