Steve Bullock

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Public lands at center stage for governors meeting

Guvs

Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday welcomed governors from across the West to Montana for the annual Western Governors Association meeting, one that will cover everything from cyber security to childhood hunger. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is also slated to deliver a keynote address on Tuesday. Several outdoors groups have scheduled a simultaneous rally to encourage Zinke to protect public lands and national monuments. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montanans pan withdrawal from climate accord

Guv

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock led a chorus of state and regional environmental groups in condemning President Trump’s decision Thursday to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. In a written statement, Bullock called the move “short-sighted and dangerous” and out of step with what Montanans from all walks of life know to be true. (more…) Continue Reading →

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

Capitol

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

em

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

Center

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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