Recent Posts

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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In busy week in Helena, LGBTQ protections debated


The Montana Legislature heard emotional testimony last week on a bill that would include gender identity and sexual orientation in the state’s non-discrimination laws. Introduced by Rep. Kelly McCarthy, D-Billings, House Bill 417 would add LGBTQ-identifying individuals to a list of classes protected by the Montana Human Rights Act, meaning it would prevent them from being discriminated against when seeking housing and employment, and when using public accommodations. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bill to cut political practices commissioner moves to Senate


The Montana House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would shutter the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices, which some critics say could put the integrity of Montana elections in jeopardy. The bill, introduced by a state lawmaker tied to one of the office’s most significant investigations, would place oversight and enforcement of campaign laws back into the hands of the secretary of state and attorney general, as it was before the office was created in 1975. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Reed Point superintendent backs worker accused of bias


The superintendent of schools in Reed Point, while not specifically denying claims of racism brought by a Native American couple last month, said he doesn’t believe that the staff member involved uttered a racial slur. Mike Ehinger was reacting to claims made by Elsworth and Brandy GoesAhead, of Pryor, at a public forum in Billings last week during a visit by Meg Singer, the new indigenous justice outreach coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana. The claims were reported by Last Best News. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana friends hoping to make their mark in Hollywood


A couple of Montana boys who stumbled into the movie business while attending Carroll College appear to have struck a chord with their latest film. “What Separates Us,” by director Bryan Ferriter, a native of Helena, and producer Isaac Marble, who grew up on the East Bench outside of Fox, near Roberts, won the best-picture award at the Machetanz Film Festival in Palmer, Alaska, last summer. (more…) Continue Reading →

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State lawmakers urged to oppose anti-Muslim bill


The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization has sent a letter to 22 Montana legislators and the House Judiciary Committee, calling on the governing body to oppose an anti-Muslim bill poised for consideration. In the first month of Montana’s 2017 Legislature, Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, introduced a bill banning Sharia law to uphold the “fundamental rights guaranteed by our constitution.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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State senator sued over failure to release public records


A Washington, D.C., watchdog group filed suit Monday against Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, over her failure to produce public records the group asked for more than a year ago. The lawsuit, filed by the Campaign for Accountability in District Court in Helena, also names the Montana Legislative Services Division and asks the court to order Fielder and the state agency to release the public records in question. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Death penalty, Columbus Day debated in Helena


HELENA — A bill that would have abolished the death penalty in Montana was narrowly voted down in committee last week on a 9-10 vote. House Bill 366, sponsored by Rep. Adam Hertz, R-Missoula, would have replaced a death sentence with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Bills aim to diversify income for farmers, allow direct sales


HELENA — Montana farmers may soon face fewer regulations when it comes to diversifying their farm’s income if three bills in the Montana Legislature find enough support. One bill, House Bill 325 would legalize the direct sale of raw milk. Another, House Bill 352, would allow farmers to sell food from their own kitchens and a third bill would give them less liability when their farmland is used for tourism purposes. (more…) Continue Reading →

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