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Political Practices Commissioner Motl faces Senate confirmation

Political Practices Commissioner Motl faces Senate confirmation

HELENA — Later in this legislative session, it will be Political Practices Commissioner Jonathan Motl facing a vote, not his proposed bills.

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House, Senate panels reject campaign finance reporting bills

House, Senate panels reject campaign finance reporting bills

HELENA — Legislative panels have rejected a series of bills to beef up Montana’s campaign finance reporting laws, although a comprehensive disclosure bill by Gov. Steve Bullock is expected to be introduced this week.

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House Republicans splitting Bullock's infrastructure bill

House Republicans splitting Bullock's infrastructure bill

HELENA — House Republicans said Thursday they are splitting Gov. Steve Bullock’s single infrastructure bill into at least seven separate bills and would eliminate most of the governor’s proposed use of bonding to finance projects.

January 29, 2015 2:30 pmLoading…
Engstrom, Cruzado update committee on higher-ed accountability measures

Engstrom, Cruzado update committee on higher-ed accountability measures

HELENA — The commissioner of higher education and presidents of Montana State University and the University of Montana told a legislative budget panel Thursday they are delivering on the accountability measures required by the Legislature in 2013. 

January 29, 2015 2:08 pm Photos

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Bullock urges closing of wage gap

HELENA — Citing his mother’s experience, Gov. Steve Bullock put in a strong pitch to legislators Wednesday for his administration’s bills aimed at helping women close the wage gap with men in Montana.

January 28, 2015 9:00 pmLoading…
GOP senator blasts Bullock public works plan as too much, too late

GOP senator blasts Bullock public works plan as too much, too late

HELENA — A Republican Senate leader on Wednesday night called Gov. Steve Bullock a Johnny-come-lately when it comes to investing in Montana’s infrastructure.

January 28, 2015 8:00 pm Photos

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Election officials pitch online voter registration

Election officials pitch online voter registration

HELENA — State and local election officials endorsed a bill Wednesday to allow citizens to register to vote online if they have a valid Montana driver’s license or card identification card.

January 28, 2015 2:30 pmLoading…

House OKs $120 million in tax cuts

HELENA — On largely party-line votes, the Republican-controlled House on Tuesday endorsed two bills to cut taxes by more than $120 million dollars over two years.

January 27, 2015 3:57 pmLoading…
University executives, students back bonding for projects

University executives, students back bonding for projects

HELENA — Students joined with top university system officials in endorsing $53 million in proposed bonding for long-range building projects on multiple campuses.

January 27, 2015 1:44 pmLoading…
Citing lack of support, McCulloch drops vote by mail bill

Citing lack of support, McCulloch drops vote by mail bill

HELENA — Because of the lack of support, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch is dropping her bill to require nearly all Montana elections to be conducted by mail.

January 26, 2015 4:44 pm Photos

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Taxing and spending: How much money is coming in and how will it be spent

Taxing and spending: How much money is coming in and how will it be spent

HELENA — Expect a debate at the Capitol over how much tax revenue the state can expect to collect this year and the next two fiscal years.

January 24, 2015 6:45 pm Photos

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House committee advances income tax cut bills

HELENA — The House Taxation Committee on Friday endorsed two Republican bills opposed by the Bullock administration that would provide millions of dollars of one-time and permanent state income tax cuts.

January 23, 2015 6:15 pmLoading…
Lawmaker wants to raise gas tax by 5 cents a gallon

Lawmaker wants to raise gas tax by 5 cents a gallon

HELENA — A Missoula lawmaker has introduced a bill to raise the state’s tax on gasoline by a nickel a gallon, dividing the proceeds between local streets and roads and public transportation.

January 22, 2015 7:30 pmLoading…

Senate OKs bill on how top political cop is picked

HELENA — The Senate on Thursday endorsed a bill changing how the state commissioner of political practices is chosen and adding certain qualifications.

January 22, 2015 7:15 pmLoading…
House Republicans, governor's revenue director disagree on tax cuts

House Republicans, governor's revenue director disagree on tax cuts

HELENA — Hearings on three bills by Republicans to cut taxes prompted discussions Tuesday on whether the money should be returned, how it should be distributed and if it would stimulate the economy.

January 20, 2015 5:31 pm Photos

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Johnson Column: Bullock public works plan draws GOP questions

Johnson Column: Bullock public works plan draws GOP questions

HELENA — Financial and political questions surfaced last week after Gov. Steve Bullock’s nearly $400 million infrastructure bill had its first hearing.

January 18, 2015 3:00 pmLoading…
Lawmakers plan marijuana bills that run the gamut

Lawmakers plan marijuana bills that run the gamut

HELENA — Marijuana once again will be an issue at the Legislature, with a number of bills anticipated, from possibly decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot to banning medical marijuana.

January 18, 2015 6:00 am Related Loading…
Report outlines transportation challenges

Report outlines transportation challenges

HELENA — A national transportation research group on Thursday released a list of what it calls Montana’s top 20 transportation challenges and necessary fixes, with a combined price tag of $7.4 billion.

January 15, 2015 11:28 am Photos

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Lawmakers, governor, unions debate wage increases

Lawmakers, governor, unions debate wage increases

HELENA — The Bullock administration and unions are asking legislative budget committees to restore recent 2 percent cuts in agencies’ personnel budgets amounting to up to $14 million a year.

January 14, 2015 6:17 pmLoading…
Pensions show improvements after ’13 changes, better returns

Pensions show improvements after ’13 changes, better returns

HELENA — Unlike two years ago, Montana legislators won’t be facing complex decisions of how to shore up the finances of battered pension funds for state and local government employees and teachers.

January 13, 2015 6:00 amLoading…
Bullock's $400M infrastructure plan to be heard Tuesday

Bullock's $400M infrastructure plan to be heard Tuesday

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock’s proposed infrastructure plan, which would spend nearly $400 million on public works projects across the state, gets its first public airing Tuesday.

January 12, 2015 7:00 pmLoading…

Video gambling taxes dipped in 2014, but strong 2015 expected

HELENA — Video gambling machines generated nearly $57 million in state tax revenue for the state in fiscal 2014, a slight drop from the previous year, the Gambling Control Division of the state Justice Department said.

January 09, 2015 7:30 pmLoading…
McCulloch pitches vote-by-mail, other election bills

McCulloch pitches vote-by-mail, other election bills

HELENA — Secretary of State Linda McCulloch again is asking legislators to pass a bill requiring all Montana elections to be conducted by mail, except for school elections.

January 08, 2015 7:00 pmLoading…
Montana lawmakers get lesson about ethics in politics

Montana lawmakers get lesson about ethics in politics

HELENA — Members of Montana’s part-time citizen Legislature received ethics training Wednesday, with much of the discussion about potential conflicts of interest.

January 07, 2015 7:00 pmLoading…
Democrats blast Zinke's pick of former super PAC treasurer as chief of staff

Democrats blast Zinke's pick of former super PAC treasurer as chief of staff

HELENA — A Montana Democratic Party official on Tuesday criticized new Rep. Ryan Zinke for hiring as his chief of staff the former treasurer of a political action committee that spent $250,000 in independent expenditures in support of Zinke’s candidacy and against one of his opponents.

January 07, 2015 10:00 amLoading…
Daines, Zinke sworn in to new posts

Daines, Zinke sworn in to new posts

HELENA — Republican Steve Daines became Montana’s newest U.S. senator Tuesday, while fellow Republican Ryan Zinke was sworn in as the state’s lone congressman to succeed Daines.

January 06, 2015 5:30 pm Photos

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Parties pledge cooperation as Montana Legislature convenes

Parties pledge cooperation as Montana Legislature convenes

HELENA — The 2015 Montana Legislature kicked off Monday, with top leaders from both parties pledging to work together for the public good during the 90-day session.

January 05, 2015 3:09 pm Photos

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Barrett wants GOP unity in Senate

Barrett wants GOP unity in Senate

HELENA — Incoming Montana Senate President Debby Barrett wants to have a united Republican caucus in the Senate this year after the bitter split that divided the GOP two years ago.

January 05, 2015 12:00 am Photos

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Judge blocks implementation of key parts of medical marijuana law

Judge blocks implementation of key parts of medical marijuana law

HELENA — A state district judge late Friday permanently blocked enforcement of some key provisions of Montana’s strict 2011 medical marijuana regulation law in a drawn-out legal case that began shortly after its passage.

January 02, 2015 8:05 pmLoading…
Billings native going to Bullock’s office; O’Brien going to DGA

Billings native going to Bullock’s office; O’Brien going to DGA

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock on Tuesday announced the appointment of Adam Schafer as a senior adviser and director of public engagement.

December 30, 2014 11:53 am Photos

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House freshmen Essmann and Wittich get committee chairmanships

House freshmen Essmann and Wittich get committee chairmanships

HELENA — In an unusual occurrence, the top two leaders of the Montana Senate in 2013 are moving over to the state House in January, where each will play key roles as committee chairmen.

December 20, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
House leaders OK simple dress code, drop stricter one

House leaders OK simple dress code, drop stricter one

HELENA — The controversy over a dress code for the Montana House of Representatives is over.

December 17, 2014 8:00 pm Photos

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Bullock taps Republican lawmaker from Dillon to sponsor infrastructure bill

Bullock taps Republican lawmaker from Dillon to sponsor infrastructure bill

HELENA — Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has turned to Republican State Rep. Jeff Welborn of Dillon to sponsor his nearly $400-million-plus infrastructure bill in the 2015 Legislature.

December 16, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
Montana House to modify controversial Legislature dress code

Montana House to modify controversial Legislature dress code

HELENA — New House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, said Monday he is in discussions with Democratic leaders on how to modify a controversial new House dress code that has drawn widespread criticism and national media attention.

December 15, 2014 7:43 pm Related Loading…
Oil may boom, but infrastructure is busting Montana oil, gas counties

Oil may boom, but infrastructure is busting Montana oil, gas counties

SIDNEY — Out in the epicenter of the oil and gas boom, communities are growing so quickly they can’t keep up with their basic infrastructure needs such as water and sewage treatment facilities, housing and roads and bridges.

December 14, 2014 12:30 am Photos

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Former first lady Carol Judge an advocate for health care, kids, equal rights

Former first lady Carol Judge an advocate for health care, kids, equal rights

HELENA — Former Montana first lady Carol Judge was a kind, gracious and remarkable woman who used her public role and her background as a registered nurse to help lead the push to overhaul Montana’s neglected institutions in the mid-1970s.

December 14, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Furloughs, layoffs possible at Livestock Department; budget short $300K

Furloughs, layoffs possible at Livestock Department; budget short $300K

HELENA — The state Board of Livestock next week may be asked to lay off some staff members at the state Livestock Department and offer unpaid furloughs to others.

December 09, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
Dems says House proposed rule changes hurt minority party

Dems says House proposed rule changes hurt minority party

HELENA — Two proposed rules adopted by a House committee last week would dramatically affect the rights of the minority party, Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena, said.

December 08, 2014 8:10 pm Photos

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House dress code requires that women be 'sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines'

House dress code requires that women be 'sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines'

HELENA — Some Democratic legislators are critical and social media posters are having a field day ridiculing a strict new dress code for the floor of the 2015 Montana Legislature.

December 08, 2014 6:30 pm Photos

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Motl dismisses complaint against secretary of state

Motl dismisses complaint against secretary of state

HELENA — The state political practice commissioner has dismissed a Republican lawmaker’s complaint that Democratic Secretary of State Linda McCulloch improperly used public resources to solicit opposition to a ballot issue.

December 08, 2014 4:16 pmLoading…
As Montana considers raising speed limit, Utah finds wrecks dropped after increase

As Montana considers raising speed limit, Utah finds wrecks dropped after increase

HELENA — Overall highway crashes have dropped annually on some stretches of Interstate 15 in Utah since the state raised the speed limit to 80 mph in late 2008, studies have shown.

December 06, 2014 4:00 pmLoading…

Legislative leaders support investing in public works, but disagree how to fund it

HELENA — Incoming Republican and Democratic legislative leaders agreed Thursday that the state needs to make a major investment in infrastructure in 2015 but disagreed over how best to pay for it.

December 04, 2014 8:30 pmLoading…
Montana part of multistate coalition suing over immigration order

Montana part of multistate coalition suing over immigration order

HELENA — Montana has joined 16 other states in challenging President Barack Obama’s recent executive order to suspend immigration laws for 4.1 million people living illegally in the United States.

December 03, 2014 2:25 pmLoading…
Some lawmakers want to increase interstate speed limit to 80 mph

Some lawmakers want to increase interstate speed limit to 80 mph

HELENA — Four legislators are having separate bills drafted for the 2015 session to raise the daytime speed limit on Montana interstate highways from 75 mph to 80 mph, and in one case, 85 mph.

November 29, 2014 10:00 pm Photos

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New report shows wage disparity in Montana for women, American Indians

HELENA — A disproportionate share of Montana women and American Indians and other people of color are earning less than a living wage, according to a report released this week.

November 28, 2014 6:00 amLoading…
New lawmaker posts comment comparing Demos to slaveholders

New lawmaker posts comment comparing Demos to slaveholders

HELENA — State Sen.-elect Nels Swandal, R-Wilsall, recently shared on his Facebook page a post from someone else showing a drawing of slaves working in a field and with a caption comparing the Democratic Party to slaveholders.

November 27, 2014 7:42 amLoading…

Bank of America settles mortgage case with White Sulphur Springs couple

HELENA — A Meagher County couple has reached a confidential settlement with Bank of America in its lawsuit alleging the bank engaged in fraudulent dealings.

November 25, 2014 5:28 pmLoading…
Media seek contempt of court against House GOP over apparent illegal caucus

Media seek contempt of court against House GOP over apparent illegal caucus

HELENA — A Helena judge on Friday set a show-cause hearing for Dec. 9 on whether the Montana House Republican caucus should be found in contempt for holding an unannounced Nov. 13 meeting in apparent violation of state law.

November 21, 2014 9:50 am Related Loading…

Panel compromises on state revenue estimate

HELENA — After deadlocking along partisan lines on setting a general-fund revenue estimate, the majority of a bipartisan legislative committee agreed Thursday to split the difference on two key tax sources.

November 20, 2014 8:30 pmLoading…
Fueled by Bakken boom, Eastern Montana property values skyrocket

Fueled by Bakken boom, Eastern Montana property values skyrocket

HELENA — The value of residential property in Montana dropped by 2.85 percent from 2008 to 2014, the state Revenue Department’s recent reappraisal found.

November 20, 2014 7:00 pm Photos

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