Montana

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Bill would ban bicyclists from most 2-lane roads in state

Molt

Editor’s note: Rep. Barry Usher called back after this story was posted. We have included his comments at the end of the story. Bicyclists from around the state are rallying against a proposed bill that would ban bicyclists and pedestrians from using virtually every two-lane road in the state that doesn’t have a paved shoulder. Kristi Drake, director of Billings TrailNet, said her first thought was not to worry about the proposal because it seemed to have so little chance of passing. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Parents in Crow reservation death still seeking justice

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Since the death of their son Steven Bearcrane-Cole on the Crow Indian Reservation in 2005, Cletus and Earline Cole have fought for the justice they feel their son deserves. They continue to believe that there was compelling evidence of murder, and that his death was never investigated properly by federal agents in charge of dealing with serious crimes on the reservation. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Independent journalism takes small step ahead in Montana

Regular readers of Last Best News already know that we have been collaborating with Missoula Current, an independent online newspaper that is filling the same niche in Missoula that we have been filling here in Billings. We have been sharing stories, giving each other advice and talking about other ways we can work together to promote and expand independent journalism in Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Lawmakers weigh privacy issues in the digital age

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Section 10 of the Montana Constitution states that “the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.”

But as technology rapidly advances, finding the line between individual privacy and “a compelling state interest” is more complex than ever before. In response, the 2017 Montana Legislature will begin to make distinctions, wrestling with bills that deal with issues like cell phone data, GPS-enabled heart monitors and even “revenge porn.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Budget gets top billing, but plenty on the table in Helena

Keane

Budget subcommittees proposed further cuts to Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget throughout the second week of the Montana Legislature. “If we can get through the budget and balance it, that will be probably all we can do,” said Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Huge infill project underway near downtown Missoula

Projects

MISSOULA — More than $100 million in construction is planned for the Old Sawmill District this summer, including a student housing facility, two additional condominiums, a high-end apartment building and a new restaurant, the developers said this week. A new commercial building may also break ground this year, along with the start of a 55-and-older active living center on the district’s west end. (more…) Continue Reading →

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In Red Lodge, big hopes for Old Roosevelt School

Hub

RED LODGE —It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the transformation of Old Roosevelt School into the arts and culture hub of Red Lodge. The original three-story school, built in 1920 at 518 S. Broadway Ave., has numerous classrooms lined with big windows, flooding the rooms with natural light. In an even larger room on the third floor, there is a raised stage, its velvet curtain still intact, flanked by pilasters ornamented with painted scrolls. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bills on budget, infrastructure, sex assault get attention

Clark

HELENA—Calls for unity across party lines abounded throughout the opening day of Montana’s 65th legislative session. Hundreds gathered in the Capitol rotunda on Jan. 2 as top state leaders were sworn into office. “Before any of us are Democrats or Republicans, we’re Montanans,” Gov. Steve Bullock told the audience in his first speech of the session. “And Montanans elected us to serve.”

The ceremony featured local school children performing Montana’s state song and Rep. George Kipp III, D-Heart Butte, performing two Native American songs. Continue Reading →

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Budget takes center stage in Legislature’s first week

Sesso

HELENA — Montana’s 2017 Legislature has begun to tackle a wide swath of issues, from public safety to infrastructure, from education to agriculture. But as the first of many bills were read in committee rooms around the Capitol last week, it became clear that everything this time around would focus on the budget. During a Republican caucus Tuesday, House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, told fellow party members that the challenges the entire Legislature faces in the coming months would be daunting. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Billings donations destined for refugees in Missoula

Refuge

If weather conditions are favorable this weekend, Jane Moses hopes to make another attempt to deliver donations for international refugees in Missoula. Moses and her daughter Libby made their first attempt on Tuesday and got as far as Livingston, where a stretch of Interstate 90 was closed because of high winds. They detoured through Livingston and looked into what lay ahead. (more…) Continue Reading →

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