Zachariah Bryan/UM Community News Service

Recent Posts

In Legislature’s aftermath, few answers for Colstrip

When Montana’s 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, found himself in much the same position as when the session 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. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Well exemptions on land transfers prove contentious


Matt and Jen Cottle, ranchers near Bigfork, want to build a house for their son but they have found themselves in the crossfire of a heated legislative debate over Montana water laws. In a letter addressed to Sen. Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell, Matt Cottle explained that he and his wife want to take advantage of a provision in state law that allows them to transfer a piece of land they own to their son, who has autism, without going through the public review process. But, to make the new house practical, they also need water, so they had hoped to drill a well without having to get a state permit. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Monday, Feb. 27


Charter school act passes state House
By Freddy Monares
A bill that its sponsor says would provide additional educational opportunities by establishing a public charter schools act passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 55 to 44 on Monday. Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, is the sponsor of House Bill 376. During the bill’s first hearing, recorded and archived on the Montana Legislature’s website, Windy Boy said 75 percent of high school students graduate. He says his bill aims to address the other 25 percent. “The public school system, which I’m a product of, tells me that the system doesn’t work for everybody,” Windy Boy said. Continue Reading →

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Renewable energy program, already shaky, may be killed


A state program that requires utilities to buy from small-scale, locally owned renewable energy projects in Montana is facing a do-or-die moment in Helena. Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, is pushing Senate Bill 78, which would eliminate the Community Renewable Energy Projects program. The bill passed a final vote last week in the Senate 30-19 and now moves into the House of Representatives. (more…) Continue Reading →

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