MTPR

Steve Daines

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke may not be able to provide the slam dunk for Montana’s Little Shell Tribe that some had hoped he would. At least not right away.

Montana’s Little Shell Tribe has spent nearly four decades fighting for federal recognition. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicated Wednesday they might have to wait just a bit longer than they hoped.

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced Monday that he will hold a “teletownhall” this coming Wednesday, March 8, at 6:15 pm. He will take questions live from listeners.

To join the call, text “SenatorDaines” as one word to 82-82-82, or call one of Daines’ local offices:

Washington, DC: (202) 224-2651

Great Falls: 453-0148

Bozeman: 587-3446

Kalispell: 257-3765

Hardin: 665-4126

Billings: 245-6822

Helena: 443-3189

Missoula: 549-8198

Sidney: 482-9010

Vice President Mike Pence swears in Ryan Zinke as secretary of the interior during a March 1, 2017 ceremony at the White House, with Zinke's wife Lola looking on.
WhiteHouse.gov

Montana’s former Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke is now President Donald Trump's secretary of the Interior.

Zinke sailed through his Senate confirmation vote today with a 68 to 31 vote. Both Montana senators, Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester, supported Zinke's confirmation.

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."

Montana Senator Steve Daines at the state capitol in Helena, MT.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

When U.S. Senator Steve Daines arrived to the state Capitol Wednesday to speak with House lawmakers and tout support for President Trump's Nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, a crowd of protesters, and a few supporters, were there to meet him.

Senator Daines' Speech To Montana's Legislature

Feb 22, 2017
Sen. Steve Daines.
Courtesy photo

This transcript of U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ remarks as prepared for delivery was provided by his staff.

Hundreds gathered at the Capitol steps Tuesday, Feb. 21, to voice their disagreement with Sen. Steve Daines. Daines is being accused by the protesters of not listening to the citizens of Montana.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

Just before U.S. Senator Steve Daines was scheduled to give a speech in front of Montana lawmakers Tuesday afternoon, a crowd of protesters gathered on the Capitol steps.

The event was organized by a Facebook group called "Bring The Town Hall to Steve Daines".

Last week, both of Montana’s senators held virtual town-hall meetings to connect with constituents. Questions ranged from Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, to the Affordable Care Act and Russia.

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation. Montanans' reaction to the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule covered the gamut from elation to frustration. 

Matt Powell-Palm was notified the Senator was going to arrive in Bozeman last Friday afternoon on Facebook through a group called The Gallatin Progressive Action Network.

He wanted face to face time with Senator Daines, something he says the Senator has not given his Montanan constituents enough of lately.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

Senator Jon Tester announced Friday he will host an online town hall meeting Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The Democratic Senator says the town hall is in response to an unprecedented volume of phone calls, emails and letters from Montanans, who want to engage in policy discussions.

Sen. Daines shuts down Sen. Warren and votes to confirm Betsy DeVos. Will the special congressional election be a mail-only affair? A death penalty repeal bill narrowly fails at the Montana Legislature. Join MTPR's Sally Mauk and UM Political Science Professor Rob Saldin for analysis of these stories on "Capitol Talk," your weekly legislative analysis program.

About 25 members of the activist group Big Sky Rising protested outside Sen. Daines' Kalispell office Wednesday, Feb. 08 over the senator's role in silencing Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Nicky Ouellet

The chants of protesters and ralliers have become familiar sounds recently. Protests, pickets and rallies have been popping up across Montana cities ever since the election last November.

Rob Saldin, a professor of political science at the University of Montana, says the amount of political activism we’ve seen so far in Donald Trump’s presidency is unprecedented.

A proposal to federally recognize Montana’s Little Shell Tribe advanced a step in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee unanimously approved the measure, which would also give the tribe 200-acres to use as a land base. Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines sit on that committee.

Betsy DeVos eked out enough votes to become the next Education Secretary this morning. Montana’s Senators in Washington have mixed reactions to her confirmation.

People in cities across Montana held rallies last week pushing back against President Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. More than a hundred people cheered pro-immigration slogans in a Missoula park on Friday before marching to Republican Senator Steve Daines’ local office to drop off letters asking him  to hold a town hall discussion here.

Public lands advocates flooded the state capitol this week and won a victory against privatization in Congress. What's fueling their increased intensity of late? With Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary, is development on public lands a bigger threat than privatization?

Faced with a revenue shortfall and an unwillingness to raise taxes, Montana's University System and other state agencies are preparing for some painful funding cuts.

And the Legislature spent time this week debating a ban on Sharia law in Montana courts. Find out why in this episode of "Capitol Talk".

U.S. Supreme Court
PD

Montana’s U.S. Senators were quick to issue statements on President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court justice about an hour ago. Both Senators will vote on Gorsuch's confirmation.

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

It took Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke less  than two minutes to win the backing of the GOP-led Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday.

After the 16-6 vote, Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska said, "Congratulations Representative Zinke. We look forward to working with you.” 

Larry Abramson is dean of the University of Montana Journalism School
Eric Whitney

Montana’s U.S. senators are split on the Trump administration’s temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Shahid Haque-Hausrath is an immigration attorney with Helena’s Border Crossing law firm.
Courtesy Photo Border Crossing Law Firm

President Donald  Trump’s executive orders on immigration Wednesday came as little surprise to one Montana immigration attorney.

Helena’s Shahid Haque-Hausrath says he saw President Trump’s immigration orders coming from a mile away:

Today marks the inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.
Michael-Vadon (CC-BY-SA-2)

Montana’s senators offered their reactions to the inauguration of President Donald Trump today. Here’s the complete statement Republican Steve Daines sent to the media.

Leaders from the Blackfeet Nation joined Montana Congressman Steve Daines and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington Friday to celebrate the enactment of four Indian water rights settlements.

Montana’s congressional delegation is seeking to overturn federal mandates for driver's licenses. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Representative Ryan Zinke announced on Thursday they’ve introduced legislation that would repeal the Real ID Act of 2005.

Feds Dismiss Tongue River Railroad Permit
(PD)

A yearlong federal review shows coal sales from public lands need to be modernized to deal with climate change and give taxpayers a fair return. The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year. It's now considering raising royalty rates and requiring compensation from mining companies to offset coal's effect on climate change.

 Tony Lapinski is a Montana veteran who's had trouble using Veterans Choice
Mike Albans

Both of Montana’s U.S. Senators have sent letters chastising the company that runs the Veterans Choice healthcare program in Montana and 36 other states.

Veterans Choice is supposed to help vets get appointments with private health care providers if they live far from a VA facility, or have been waiting a long time for a VA appointment. It was created in 2014, and has been plagued with problems since the beginning.

Seal of the Chippewa Cree Tribes
Josh Burnham

Authorities say it is now safe for people living on the Rocky Boy's Reservation to drink their tap water again. The Environmental Protection Agency lifted a boil order today.

One of the paper menorahs Love Lives Here is distributing in Whitefish this Hanukkah
Nicky Ouellet

A few days before the start of Hanukkah, a small group gathered on a street corner in downtown Whitefish, holding stacks of paper menorahs. Joan Vetter Ehrenberg, a volunteer for Love Lives Here, a branch of the Montana Human Rights Network, reads an explanation from the back of the menorah:

"Obviously in response to the anti-semitic targeting of our local friends and neighbors in Whitefish, Love Lives Here invites everyone in the valley to hang a menorah in the window ..."

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.

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