Last Best Blog

This is the weblog page of Last Best News. Here you will find some news, perhaps, but also lots of commentary, opinion and satire. Just so you know.

Recent Posts

Trump sparks women’s interest in politics

The election of President Trump has sparked an outpouring of interest by women in running for political office, a sociology professor said here this week. Speaking in the final lecture in the Frontiers of Democracy series at Montana State University Billings, Joy Honea said that enrollment in the “Getting Ready to Run” training offered by Emily’s List has increased 300 percent since the election. Emily’s List, which encourages pro-choice Democratic women to run for office, has had 10,000 calls since the election from women interested in running for office. An estimated 86 percent of members of Daily Action are women. The group, founded in December, logs some 10,000 calls a day to members of Congress seeking progressive change. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Thursday, April 13

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Ballot-collection bill debated
By Cole Grant
The Montana Legislature is taking a break this weekend after passing more than a dozen bills Thursday. Lawmakers tackled issues like giving loans to the owners of coal-fired power plants, raising production caps for small breweries, and asking voters if they want to limit who can collect ballots. In a debate on the bill about ballot collection in the House Wednesday, recorded by the Legislature, Rep. Forrest Mandeville, R-Columbus said whether or not people believe voter fraud is happening, “We should still be trying to do everything we can to make sure there is no question that our election process is absolutely sacred.”

Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula says Senate Bill 352 aims at voter suppression. “This bill is about creating barriers where none are needed, or none need to exist, because our system works as it is,” he said. “This bill hurts voters.”

Since the referendum passed the House and Senate, it will now go to the secretary of state’s office, and will probably be on the 2018 ballot. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Wednesday, April 12

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Abortion bill wins preliminary approval
By Freddy Monares
The Montana House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would make it unlawful for physicians to perform abortions after five months of pregnancy. Senate Bill 329 provides an exception for medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother. Rep. Dennis Lenz, R-Billings, a supporter of the bill, said he says he takes great offense when someone says men don’t understand abortion. “As someone who was born to an unwed mother—11 years before Roe v. Wade—I know where I would be,” Lenz said. Rep. Virginia Court, D-Billings, who opposes the bill, said it is the ultimate in government interference. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Monday, April 10

Resolution calls for study of pot legalization
By Cole Grant
Montana lawmakers may have the opportunity to study the possibility of  legalizing recreational marijuana in the next year or so. Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell, D-Helena, said that even if now isn’t the time to legalize, it may be the time for the state to look at the issue. “I’m not sure it’s the best thing for Montana,” she said. “I just feel it’s an opportunity. Given what’s going on all around us, it’s an opportunity to take a look at this.”

House Joint Resolution 35, heard Monday, would create a committee that would study how recreational legalization would be carried out in Montana. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Friday, April 7

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Bullock tries amending balloting bill
By Cole Grant
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock used his veto power Friday to amend a bill that landed on his desk to include a mail-in ballot option for Montana’s upcoming special congressional election. The amendatory veto comes after another bill died last month that would have allowed counties to opt in for mail ballots. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Rocky debaters take on Ireland’s best

One way to judge a team is by the quality of its opponents. By that standard, Rocky Mountain College’s debate team has to rank with the best. RMC takes on a national champion team from Ireland on Saturday in a parliamentary-style debate. The Irish team is on a six-city tour of the United States after rising to the top in a country where debate has a long and honored tradition. The teams square off at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in the Great Room of Prescott Hall at RMC. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Wednesday, April 5

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House hears two abortion bills
By Cole Grant
Montana lawmakers heard two bills Wednesday that would change when and how women can have abortions. The House of Representatives advanced Senate Bill 282, which would require, among other things, that if a fetus has more than a 50 percent chance of living outside the womb, a doctor would need to give it life-sustaining support. The bill needs one more vote to pass the House. Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls, voted for the bill. “The pregnancy is terminated, which is the desire of the mom, but the life of the child is saved,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Monday, April 3

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Raise for care workers rejected
By Cole Grant
All day Monday, Montana senators debated the state’s $10 billion-plus budget. Sen. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, carried one of the more expensive amendments in the Senate that would have added a dollar an hour per year to the wages of workers who care for seniors and disabled Montanans. The amendment failed, as did similar ones throughout the day. “We have to recognize that there are a lot of people left on the table that are not going to get their needs met,” Caferro said. “And I think if this doesn’t get fixed down the road, we’re going to find in the next two years that we’ll be hearing from people in our districts.”

Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, said giving money to programs like these would be a worthy act. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Friday, March 31

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Caregiver Act among bills signed into law
By Freddy Monares
Gov. Steve Bullock signed 12 legislative bills into law this week, including one that would establish something called the Caregiver Act. Created by House Bill 163, it will require hospitals to record the name and phone number of a patient’s caregiver when the person is admitted to the hospital. The bill also makes it so that hospitals have to coordinate with caregivers for after care before the patient is discharged. Bullock and Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth, both praised the bill at  Friday’s signing. “Good for the patient, good for the caregiver, good for the hospital and it’s good for the state,” Bullock said. Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Thursday, March 30

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Senator pushes for warnings on raw milk
By Freddy Monares
In response to a House-approved bill that would legalize raw milk, lawmakers are considering a bill that would label raw milk. Senate Bill 300 would require raw milk and products made with raw milk to have a warning label for consumers who are vulnerable to bacterial infections. That bill passed the Senate 29-to-21. Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is the sponsor of the bill. “As a historian I will tell one of the reasons pasteurization became common was because of the number of deaths of pregnant women and stillbirths related to the consumption of raw milk,” Sands said. Continue Reading →

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