MTPR

Tim Fox

Montana’s Supreme Court has ordered Attorney General Tim Fox to respond to the American Civil Liberties Union’s complaint about the language of a so-called "bathroom privacy" ballot initiative.

On Monday the court gave Fox 20 days to explain why the ballot language his office wrote for the initiative being promoted by the Montana Family Foundation is fair and accurate.

Montana Law Enforement Academy
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana’s Law Enforcement Academy, which trains every new cop in the state, is getting an upgrade over the next few years. Lawmakers approved $6 million, despite the tight budget year, to begin remodels in the academy for new officers.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in Missoula Monday
Eric Whitney

Montana’s backlogged sexual assault evidence kits will undergo lab testing beginning this month. Last fall, the state got a $2 million federal grant to fund cataloging and testing of the unsubmitted so-called rape kits. 

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.

Trump Administration Working To Roll-Back Water Pollution Regulations
(PD)

The Trump Administration is moving to roll back an Obama-era policy that was designed to protect over half the nation’s streams from pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday, outlined the process to unravel the 2015 rule defining which small waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act.

Shards of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth.
Radspunk (GFDL)

The Montana Healthcare Foundation announced today a series of listening sessions across the state to assess the impact of substance abuse on Montana communities.

Earlier this year, Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox launched Aid Montana, a statewide initiative combining enforcement, treatment and education efforts to tackle drug abuse. 

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox today confirmed reports that he will not run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018. Despite courtship from national Republican leaders, Fox says he will not campaign for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jon Tester.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

The news source Politico is reporting that Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has decided not to run for Senate next year. Veteran reporter Chuck Johnson speaks with MTPR's Corin Cates-Carney.

Michael Cotter, former U.S. attorney for the district of Montana.
U.S. Department of Justice

Montana’s been without a permanent U.S. Attorney for almost two straight months. Back on March 10, President Donald Trump fired all 46 of the country’s remaining U.S. Attorneys who had been appointed by Barack Obama.

Montana’s Mike Cotter was one of them.

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 3, 2017
The Colstrip Power Plant consists of four separate coal-fired generating units, collectively owned by Puget Sound Energy, Talen Energy, Avista Corporation, PacifiCorp and NorthWestern Energy.
Beth Saboe

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced a new strategy to combat substance abuse in the state on the Capitol steps Wednesday afternoon.

Backed by law enforcement, lawmakers, and healthcare officials, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced an initiative his office is calling "AID," short for addressing the impact of drugs:

Kalispell Republican Enters 2018 Senate Race

Apr 11, 2017
State Senator Albert Olszewski announced that he'll challenge Sen. Tester in the 2018 Elections.
Montana Legislature

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has his first challenger in the 2018 Montana elections. Republican state Sen. Albert Olszewski said today he will run for Tester's seat.

Olszewski is an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Kalispell. He served one term in the state House from 2015-2017, and is in his first term in the state Senate.

Sen. Jon Tester.
PD

Yesterday Montana's Republican Attorney General Tim Fox sent Senator Jon Tester a letter, urging the Democrat to vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The letter comes as Senate Democratic leadership is urging a filibuster of Gorsuch's nomination. Time magazine says 35 Senate Democrats have pledged to vote to block Gorsuch, that's just six votes shy of the number needed for a successful filibuster. Montana Public Radio asked Tester how he'll vote on Gorsuch earlier this week.

The sun setting on Rock Creek in western Montana.
Josh Burnham

I’m standing on the bank of Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula, close to where it joins the Clark Fork River. The future of this creek and scores more across the state is in question in a new way now that President Donald Trump has issued an executive order. It seeks to overturn the so-called "Waters of the United States" rule that President Obama established in 2015.

The "Capitol Talk" crew reviews the first half of the legislative session and previews the budget and infrastructure debates still to come. They also look at the front-runners for each party's nomination to fill the state's vacant U.S. House Seat, and speculate about Tim Fox's political ambitions. Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin for "Capitol Talk."

Crystal Methampetamine, or "meth."
File photo (PD)

Montana lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, along with state agency workers and members of the public convened in Helena Saturday with one big problem to discuss.

"Without question, everyone in here, in this room, every citizen in this state, every resident of my community is affected by methamphetamine."

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.

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.

The group "Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense" rallies in Missoula, MT for stronger gun laws, Dec. 14, 2015.
Josh Burnham

Montana’s Attorney General today ruled Missoula cannot enforce an ordinance requiring gun sale background checks within the city limits.

The Missoula City Council passed the background check ordinance last September. Soon after, state House Speaker Austin Knudsen of Culbertson asked for Attorney General Tim Fox’s legal opinion on the matter.

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.

Capitol Connections: Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Jan 11, 2017

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


Budget Cuts Threaten Human Trafficking Investigations

Jan 11, 2017

Possible budget cuts to the Department of Justice could force investigators to cancel proactive investigations into allegations of human trafficking in Montana. It was just one of the impacts brought to lawmaker’s attention if a 5% budget reduction is adopted.

The 2017 Legislature is faced with a dwindling savings account and slower revenue growth as they work to balance the state’s budget for the coming biennium. Joint House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are delving now into the agency’s budgets.


Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

As awareness of human trafficking increases, so do the number of victims who are being rescued in Montana. Human traffickers use force or fraud to coerce their victims into some type of labor or sex slavery.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says next to the drug trade, it’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.

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.

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.”

Montana's most recent driver's license design incorporates changes for security and durability.
Montana DOJ

The federal government this week rejected Montana’s request to further delay implementation of the Real ID Act.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox once said the Real ID act threatened to create an Orwellian national ID system.

People gathered on the north steps of the capitol in Helena Nov. 14 to let Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox know they don't like Montana police being sent to help with security around the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota.
Eric Whitney

About 80 people gathered on the north steps of the Capitol today to let Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox know they don't like Montana police being sent to help with security around the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

A component of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that the agency says is optional is being attacked by 25 state attorneys general, including Montana’s. 

Dr. Phil Kinsey, director of the Montana State Crime Lab, explains rape kit testing protocols to the task force.
Mara Silvers

Montana is getting a $2 million federal grant to help clear its backlog of so-called rape kits.

Attorney General Tim Fox made the announcement today. He says it will allow the state crime lab to process 1,100 boxes of evidence in sexual assault cases dating back to 1995. Testing the kits could result in suspects being identified in some unsolved rape cases.

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