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One-third of Daines’ campaign funds from Montanans – a relatively high percentage

One-third of Daines’ campaign funds from Montanans – a relatively high percentage

HELENA — Only one-third of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines’ $5 million in campaign funds has come from Montanans — yet that percentage is more than usual for a key Senate race, political observers say.

18 hours agoLoading…

State plans 2015 rate increases, benefit deductions to cover employee health plan losses

HELENA — The 16,000 state employees and retirees insured by the state health plan likely will face rate increases of 15 percent to 27 percent next year, and lower benefits, to cover higher-than-expected medical costs, state officials said Monday.

August 18, 2014 9:45 pmLoading…
Walsh giving $180,000 in campaign funds to Democratic party; can't give it to Curtis

Walsh giving $180,000 in campaign funds to Democratic party; can't give it to Curtis

HELENA — Sen. John Walsh, who withdrew Aug. 7 as a candidate for his U.S. Senate seat, is distributing nearly $180,000 of his leftover campaign funds to other Democratic candidates and state party groups.

August 18, 2014 2:15 pm Photos

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With no money, little experience, Amanda Curtis is Democrats' pick to run against Daines

With no money, little experience, Amanda Curtis is Democrats' pick to run against Daines

HELENA — State Democrats Saturday chose state Rep. Amanda Curtis, of Butte, as their new U.S. Senate candidate, putting the largely untested, freshman lawmaker up against Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines just 80 days before the election.

August 16, 2014 3:23 pm Photos

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Curtis not worried about her comments in YouTube videos saying she's an 'anarchist at heart,' felt like punching a Republican lawmaker

Curtis not worried about her comments in YouTube videos saying she's an 'anarchist at heart,' felt like punching a Republican lawmaker

HELENA — If Montanans — and the political opposition — want to know what newly minted Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis really thinks about things, they need look no further than her own, very public video record.

August 16, 2014 3:27 pm Video Loading…
Democratic Party powers disparage Adams in run-up to nominating convention

Democratic Party powers disparage Adams in run-up to nominating convention

HELENA — In the run-up to Saturday’s Democratic Party convention that will choose a U.S. Senate candidate to replace Sen. John Walsh, supporters of Rep. Amanda Curtis have been bashing her main opponent, Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams.

August 15, 2014 4:38 pm Photos

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Sen. Dave Wanzenried pulls out of U.S. Senate nomination race

Sen. Dave Wanzenried pulls out of U.S. Senate nomination race

HELENA — State Sen. Dave Wanzenried on Thursday said he’s ending his efforts to succeed Sen. John Walsh as Montana’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate this fall, leaving only two main candidates still in the intra-party contest.

August 14, 2014 1:15 pmLoading…

MDU seeking 5.4 percent increase in natural gas rates for eastern Montana

HELENA — Montana-Dakota Utilities is asking state regulators to approve a 5.4 percent rate increase for its nearly 81,000 natural gas customers in eastern Montana — just eight months after an earlier increase was approved.

August 14, 2014 6:50 amLoading…
U.S. Senate hopeful Curtis explains gun-rights position

U.S. Senate hopeful Curtis explains gun-rights position

HELENA – Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Amanda Curtis appeared and spoke last year at a rally for expanded background checks for firearm purchasers, but said this week her position on the issue won’t hurt her with Montana voters.

August 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Adams, Curtis, Wanzenried vying to replace Walsh in Senate race – and maybe Bohlinger

Adams, Curtis, Wanzenried vying to replace Walsh in Senate race – and maybe Bohlinger

HELENA — At least three, perhaps four, people will compete this Saturday to become the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate replacing Sen. John Walsh — and the emerging front-runner may be a little-known high school teacher from Butte.

August 11, 2014 6:45 pm Photos

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Perspective: Democrats' prospects for Senate seat still grim; don’t blame Walsh for that

Perspective: Democrats' prospects for Senate seat still grim; don’t blame Walsh for that

HELENA — U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, the Republican candidate for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat, must be feeling pretty confident about now — and a little bit lucky, too.

August 10, 2014 1:00 am Photos

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XGR panel: Montana’s renewable-power mandate, while successful, shouldn’t be expanded

HELENA — Montana’s requirement that utilities buy a minimum amount of renewable power, such as wind, has been an economic success, but shouldn’t be expanded, a legislative panel’s draft study says.

August 06, 2014 5:30 pmLoading…
Sen. Walsh cancels events; in Helena meeting with advisers

Sen. Walsh cancels events; in Helena meeting with advisers

HELENA — Sen. John Walsh, who has canceled several campaign appearances this week, remained in Helena on Wednesday as he pondered whether to stay in the U.S. Senate race in the wake of revelations that he plagiarized portions of a master’s degree paper.

August 06, 2014 10:32 am Related Loading…

Home-health employers seek exemption to Obamacare regulations

HELENA — Next year, all large employers will be required to offer health insurance to their workers — and for health care firms that rely on government funding to provide services to the poor, that mandate poses a special problem.

July 28, 2014 6:20 amLoading…
Walsh says he was being treated for PTSD when he plagiarized paper

Walsh says he was being treated for PTSD when he plagiarized paper

HELENA — The New York Times reported Wednesday that Montana’s newest senator, Democrat John Walsh, plagiarized large portions of his final paper submitted for his 2007 master’s degree at the U.S. Army War College.

July 23, 2014 2:20 pm Video Related Loading…
'Woodwork effect' of Obamacare adds 6,000 people to Medicaid in Montana

'Woodwork effect' of Obamacare adds 6,000 people to Medicaid in Montana

HELENA — Montana is one of two dozen states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid as part of the federal health care overhaul — but it’s still added a higher-than-expected number of folks to this program that pays medical bills for the poor.

July 20, 2014 12:15 amLoading…
Whatever happened to CHIP expansion? It succeeded – but is really the Medicaid expansion

Whatever happened to CHIP expansion? It succeeded – but is really the Medicaid expansion

HELENA — While the debate rages over whether Montana should expand Medicaid to cover low-income adults, a dramatic expansion of Medicaid and a related government health plan has already happened — to cover children.

July 20, 2014 12:00 am Related Loading…
NWE CEO says dam purchase a good deal: We are not 'crooks’

NWE CEO says dam purchase a good deal: We are not 'crooks’

HELENA — NorthWestern Energy CEO Bob Rowe told state regulators Thursday that the company’s $870 million purchase of a dozen hydroelectric dams is a solid plan to rebuild the utility and benefit customers, and that suggestions that the company will unduly profit are wrong.

July 18, 2014 9:20 amLoading…
Financial disclosure: Daines worth millions; Walsh, a lot less

Financial disclosure: Daines worth millions; Walsh, a lot less

HELENA — U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines, by far, is the wealthiest member of Montana’s congressional delegation — and, according to financial-disclosure reports, has personal wealth more than 125 times that of his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Walsh.

July 16, 2014 6:30 pm Related Loading…
Auditor’s office: Net increase of 30,000 Montanans with health insurance

Auditor’s office: Net increase of 30,000 Montanans with health insurance

HELENA — Since the launch of the federal government’s online health insurance “marketplace” in Montana last October, a net 30,000 Montanans have gained new health coverage, the state auditor’s office said Tuesday. 

July 15, 2014 7:21 pmLoading…
Consumer witness: NW dam purchase a bad deal for consumers, unless altered

Consumer witness: NW dam purchase a bad deal for consumers, unless altered

HELENA — The lead witness for a Montana consumer-advocate office said Tuesday that if regulators approve NorthWestern Energy’s $900 million purchase of a dozen hydroelectric dams without changes, it will mean guaranteed profits for the company and much higher costs for ratepayers.

July 15, 2014 1:45 pm Photos

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Remington confirms it will replace millions of triggers

Remington confirms it will replace millions of triggers

HELENA — The Remington Arms Co. has confirmed it will offer to replace trigger mechanisms on millions of Model 700 bolt-action hunting rifles, as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement reported earlier this week.

July 11, 2014 9:22 pmLoading…

Legislative panel advances report on federal-land management

HELENA — A legislative panel Thursday voted to advance a report on how to encourage more state involvement in management of federal lands in Montana — but not before changing it to say transferring those lands to the state should be considered a “last resort.”

July 10, 2014 7:06 pmLoading…
Blue Cross execs actually got a lot more pay in 2013 than earlier reported

Blue Cross execs actually got a lot more pay in 2013 than earlier reported

HELENA — Top executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana did not take a pay cut last year, as reported erroneously by the Gazette State Bureau in May — but, rather, received quite a bit more in total compensation.

July 09, 2014 6:30 pmLoading…

Legislative fed-land study sparks accusations of 'hidden agenda' of transferring lands to state

HELENA — A study of federal land management problems in Montana roiled a legislative panel Wednesday, as some members said the report has a “hidden agenda” of transferring ownership of federal lands to the state.

July 09, 2014 4:53 pmLoading…
NorthWestern, Consumer Counsel present contrasting views of $900M dam purchase

NorthWestern, Consumer Counsel present contrasting views of $900M dam purchase

HELENA – Montana’s tarnished utility-deregulation law wove its way through the fabric of Tuesday’s hearing on NorthWestern Energy’s proposal to buy a dozen hydroelectric dams, with a company lawyer calling the plan a chance to “put the failed experiment of utility deregulation behind us.”

July 08, 2014 11:20 am Photos

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Remington to settle class-action lawsuits over rifle’s trigger mechanism; recall in the works?

Remington to settle class-action lawsuits over rifle’s trigger mechanism; recall in the works?

HELENA — The Remington Arms Co. has reached a nationwide settlement of claims that most of its Model 700 bolt-action hunting rifles have a defective trigger mechanism — a settlement likely to include the recall of millions of the popular firearm.

July 07, 2014 5:15 pm Photos

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Barber in his office with documents

Barber in his office with documents

Richard Barber, shown in 2013 in his office filled with documents about Remington Arms Co. Barber said a federal court agreement with the gun maker and plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit accomplishes what he wanted to accomplish. “I guess it’s safe to say, it’s better late than never.”

July 07, 2014 5:05 pm

Disclosure of utility executive salaries back before PSC, as part of Missoula water battle

HELENA — In its fight to take over the private water utility serving Missoula, the city is pushing for public disclosure of what the utility pays some of its top executives, saying it’s an excessive cost Missoula water users shouldn’t have to pay.

June 29, 2014 12:15 amLoading…

Committee moves ahead on bills to revise, possibly limit Parole Board powers

HELENA — A legislative panel studying the state parole board voted Friday to draft at least two bills revising or limiting the board’s powers — and some members want to look at even further restrictions and changes.

June 27, 2014 9:27 pmLoading…

Legislative panel backs off plan for FBI investigation, seeks in-depth study of Shelby prison

HELENA — A legislative panel Friday undid its earlier decision to ask the FBI to investigate the privately operated prison at Shelby, but still voted to support a study and full-scale audit of the prison that holds 550 state inmates.

June 27, 2014 6:24 pmLoading…
Daines levels new charge against Walsh’s Guard leadership; Guard, Walsh dispute facts

Daines levels new charge against Walsh’s Guard leadership; Guard, Walsh dispute facts

HELENA — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Daines is running a new TV ad accusing Democratic Sen. John Walsh of condoning sex discrimination while heading the Montana National Guard — a charge Walsh and current Guard officials say is untrue.

June 25, 2014 5:37 pm Video Loading…
No evidence data was stolen when state computers were hacked

No evidence data was stolen when state computers were hacked

HELENA — State officials Tuesday said they’re notifying 1.3 million people whose personal data were in a state Department of Public Health and Human Service computer hacked by unknown assailants a year ago.

June 24, 2014 12:15 pmLoading…
Montana Senate leader asks judge to dismiss illegal contribution complaint

Montana Senate leader asks judge to dismiss illegal contribution complaint

HELENA — Charges that state Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich broke campaign-reporting laws were filed improperly and should be dismissed, an attorney for Wittich told a state judge Monday.

June 23, 2014 2:55 pmLoading…
NorthWestern electric rates are among highest in the region

NorthWestern electric rates are among highest in the region

HELENA — When NorthWestern Energy’s homeowner customers get their electric bills next month, they’ll pay 10.34 cents per kilowatt hour — still nearly the highest rate of any major electric utility in the region.

June 22, 2014 12:15 am Related Loading…
Yellowstone Valley Co-op has high prices, but no increase for nearly four years

Yellowstone Valley Co-op has high prices, but no increase for nearly four years

HELENA — Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative, the state’s second-largest electric cooperative, charges relatively high power prices for its customers – but hasn’t had to raise them since 2011, its general manager said.

June 22, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Walsh, Tester, Daines oppose further military involvement in Iraq

Walsh, Tester, Daines oppose further military involvement in Iraq

HELENA — The three members of Montana’s congressional delegation say they’re opposed to sending any additional U.S. troops or advisers into Iraq to help quell a Sunni Muslim-led insurgency.

June 19, 2014 6:07 pmLoading…
Schweitzer ignites media firestorm over comments on 'gaydar,' Sen. Feinstein

Schweitzer ignites media firestorm over comments on 'gaydar,' Sen. Feinstein

HELENA — Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer set off a media and social media firestorm Wednesday night, as a magazine reported his comments about his “gaydar” going off over recently ousted U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and equating U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein with a prostitute.

June 19, 2014 1:20 pmLoading…
Medicaid expansion initiative drive falls short; won’t be on November ballot

Medicaid expansion initiative drive falls short; won’t be on November ballot

HELENA — An initiative to expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income Montanans won’t be on the November ballot this year, as supporters Thursday said don’t have enough signatures to qualify Initiative 170 for the ballot.

June 19, 2014 8:04 amLoading…

Medicaid expansion initiative drive falls short; won’t be on November ballot

HELENA – An initiative to expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income Montanans won’t be decided by voters this year, as supporters said today they don’t have enough signatures to qualify it for the November ballot.

June 19, 2014 7:47 am
PSC approves temporary electric rate increase for NorthWestern customers

PSC approves temporary electric rate increase for NorthWestern customers

HELENA — The state Public Service Commission Tuesday voted 4-1 to approve a $32 million annual, temporary rate increase for NorthWestern Energy’s electric customers in Montana starting next month.

June 17, 2014 11:51 amLoading…
Barry Beach says he's had it with Montana courts; may look to federal justice system

Barry Beach says he's had it with Montana courts; may look to federal justice system

HELENA — Convicted murderer Barry Beach, whose latest attempt to commute his 100-year sentence was rejected yet again by the state Parole Board last week, said Monday he may give up on Montana’s justice system and go to federal court to pursue his quest for release.

June 16, 2014 4:16 pm Photos

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Zinke, Lewis stake out talking points in first debate – but few shots at each other

BUTTE — Republican Ryan Zinke, at the first debate in the fall race for Montana’s sole U.S. House seat, pitched himself Saturday as a reasonable conservative who believes the American economy can return to greatness by developing its natural resources.

June 14, 2014 10:07 pmLoading…

Here’s a look at other major initiatives

HELENA — With the June 20 deadline to submit signatures fast approaching, only a group backing an initiative by Charter Communications to reverse a Montana Supreme Court decision and lower its property taxes is confident it will qualify for the November ballot.

June 13, 2014 6:07 pmLoading…

Will Medicaid expansion initiative make the ballot?

HELENA – The voter initiative to expand Medicaid in Montana is close to having enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, but a lead organizer said Friday it will come down to the final deadline next week.

June 13, 2014 5:58 pm Related Loading…
Bullock reduces loan costs for $29M in city water, wastewater projects

Bullock reduces loan costs for $29M in city water, wastewater projects

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday he’s lowering interest rates and other charges for state loans that fund city wastewater and drinking-water projects in Montana, saving local governments $29 million over the next 20 years.

June 13, 2014 2:57 pmLoading…
Libertarian to be at 1st U.S. Senate debate, drawing split reaction from Daines, Walsh

Libertarian to be at 1st U.S. Senate debate, drawing split reaction from Daines, Walsh

HELENA — Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Roger Roots will be on the stage Saturday in the race’s first general-election debate — and the campaign of Republican Steve Daines is none too happy about it.

June 12, 2014 6:12 pmLoading…
Walsh disappointed with Obama's handling of prisoner release

Walsh disappointed with Obama's handling of prisoner release

HELENA — U.S. Sen. John Walsh, the only Iraq War combat veteran in the U.S. Senate, said Wednesday he is “deeply disappointed” that President Barack Obama didn’t properly notify Congress about the circumstances of the release of prisoner-of-war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

June 11, 2014 5:45 pm Photos

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PPL Montana part of spinoff into new company – what now for Colstrip?

PPL Montana part of spinoff into new company – what now for Colstrip?

HELENA — PPL Montana, the state’s largest private power generator, is being spun off to a new company that will own independent power projects around the country, its parent firm announced Tuesday.

June 10, 2014 8:15 amLoading…
VA audit finds a 48-day average wait for new Montana patients

VA audit finds a 48-day average wait for new Montana patients

HELENA — Military veterans in Montana wait an average of 48 days for their first primary-care visit in the Veterans Affairs health system, longer than VA systems in most neighboring states, the VA reported Monday.

June 09, 2014 1:29 pm Photos

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