Steve Bullock

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Officials weigh in on Gianforte charge

Gov. Steve Bullock and two Montana members of Congress have weighed in on assault charges filed against Greg Gianforte after an altercation with a reporter for the Guardian on Wednesday. In a news release, Gov. Bullock, a Democrat, said, “It is unsettling on many levels that Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a journalist and then lied, refusing to take responsibility for his actions. Yesterday’s events serve as another wake up call to all Montanans and Americans that we must restore civility in politics and governing, and demand more from people who hold the public’s trust. One thing is clear: no matter what happens today, the actions of Gianforte do not reflect the values of Montana or its people.”

Sen. Jon Tester, also a Democrat, said in a news release, “This is in the hands of law enforcement. But part of the job representing the people of Montana is answering basic questions on important topics, topics such as how a dangerous healthcare plan could impact the very people you are trying to represent. It’s part of the job.” Continue Reading →

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As Legislature winds down, a look at a fairly civil session

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HELENA — After nearly five months of hearings, debates, floor action and votes, Montana’s 65th Legislative session is coming to a close. While lawmakers are constitutionally required only to draft and pass a two-year budget for the state’s numerous offices and programs—which they did last week—legislators from all walks of life address the concerns of their constituents, as well as their own ideas in the other bills they bring. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Making sense of Legislature’s surviving tax proposals

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HELENA — When it comes to balancing the state budget, there are two schools of thought—raise taxes and generate revenue, or cut spending and save money. With the state facing a budget shortfall, that ideological difference has become all the more prominent throughout Montana’s 65th legislative session. Often, it defines party lines. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: A new low for state’s House Republicans

Whips

The 2017 Montana Legislature is not scheduled to adjourn for three more weeks, but I think we can already identify the most craven act of the session. That would be the House’s rejection of a bill to allow all-mail balloting in the special congressional election scheduled for May 25. (more…) Continue Reading →

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‘Lyin’ King’ featured at ‘SNL Helena’

With a tempting target in the White House and budget cuts looming, the “Saturday Night Live Helena” show took on added urgency this year. Helena thespians, singers and dancers put the show on every two years when the Montana Legislature is in session. The aim is to battle the perceived failings of state and national politics with one of the oldest of weapons: satire. This year’s show was reeled off in a snappy two hours, and if not every joke worked, no problem; another followed within seconds. Periodic news updates (Grizzly bears are reported fleeing public schools since the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) and parodied beer commercials for Goose Kill and Berkeley Pit IPA help held the disparate parts together. Continue Reading →

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At halfway point, legislative focus is on budget

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The 65th Montana legislative session has reached its halfway point, and the state budget still weighs heavy. Republicans and Democrats are working to reach a compromise on how to fund state programs, with battles over other policy happening simultaneously. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Historical society upgrades are long overdue

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Gov. Steve Bullock’s request to the current Legislature to expand and upgrade the 65-year-old Montana Historical Society facility has been misrepresented by some as unneeded “pork. “ This characterization is both wrong and ridiculous. Fortunately, however, members of both political parties recognize the real and critical need to care for and provide access to priceless collections belonging to the people of Montana and provide continuing economic development—jobs during construction and development of enhanced tourism dollars in the future. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Legislative Update: Thursday, Feb. 2

Governor issues first veto of session
By Freddy Monares
Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed the first bill of the 2017 Montana legislative session and offered up an amendment to decrease a raise in legislator pay. House Bill 1 would have increased the legislators’ pay by 14 percent for the next legislative session. Bullock amended the bill with an increase of only 1.4 percent, to coincide with the rate of inflation. He says the state needs to “live within its means.”

“At the same time that we’re tightening the belt of the rest of government, the legislative branch sent me a bill to increase the spending of their branch of government by 14 percent,” Bullock said. Republican Rep. Nancy Ballance said she was blindsided by the veto. Continue Reading →

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Governor touts investments, ‘constructive dialogue’

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Editor’s note: This is an updated story covering the governor’s speech. Gov. Steve Bullock outlined his goals for the 2017 Legislature on Tuesday during his third State of the State address, including a responsible state budget, infrastructure, business growth and education. While addressing a joint session of the House and Senate, Bullock named common values, including, “Fiscal responsibility. Education. Infrastructure. Continue Reading →

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