Montana Legislature

Recent Posts

Bullock’s work-comp fee pitch hits strong opposition


HELENA — Business groups and others denounced one of Gov. Steve Bullock’s key revenue-raising proposals as risky and discriminatory at a hearing at the special legislative session on Monday. Bullock’s plan would temporarily require the workers’ compensation State Fund to pay a 3 percent management fee on its assets exceeding $1 billion that are invested by the State Board of Investments. The bill, if enacted, is projected to raise $30 million over the two-year period before the fee goes off the books in June 2019. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Last special session in Montana was 10 years ago


HELENA—This will be the 33rd special legislative session in Montana history and the first called by Gov. Steve Bullock, who took office in 2013. The most recent special session was a one-day session in September 2007, called by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to replenish the state’s wildfire firefighting fund. Among the tasks of the session next week is to restore money to the firefighting fund. (See related story.) (more…) Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Big jump in cigarette tax would help in many ways


This year, a staggering 1,600 Montanans will die from tobacco use — the leading cause of preventable death. Montana also faces a staggering $220 million budget shortfall, forcing the state to cut vital health programs and seek ways to raise new revenue. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Opinion: All state firefighters need work-comp coverage

This Labor Day, I join many Montanans in thanking our hardworking firefighters, law enforcement and other emergency responders who fight this summer’s exceptionally intense, destructive wildfires. One way to express gratitude is to make sure Montana laws protect those who protect us. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Conservation Voters score Legislature

Montana Conservation Voters didn’t get much of what it wanted in the 2017 Legislature, but it managed to avoid the worst of what it did not want. MCV released its 2017 Montana Legislative Scorecard this week, detailing its positions on 12 bills, plus two resolutions, of concern to the state’s environmental interests. Seven of the bills made it through both houses of the Legislature but were vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock. The resolutions, both backed by MCV, failed, and none of the five bills MCV supported or the seven it opposed became law. “Special thanks should go to Governor Steve Bullock who stopped the terrible legislation that would have limited access to Montana’s public lands, put more money in the pockets of big polluters, and rolled back our clean energy economy,” Clayton Elliott, MCV’s executive director, said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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For conservationists, vetoes took sting out of dim session


A legislative scorecard released this week by one of the state’s major conservation groups paints a stark picture of the partisan divide in Helena. The Northern Plains Resource Council, based in Billings, tallied votes on seven pieces of legislation considered important by its members. With the state House and Senate both controlled by Republican majorities during the recently concluded 2017 Legislature, it perhaps wasn’t surprising that the NPRC was on the losing side of all seven bills. (more…) Continue Reading →

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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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