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Montana legislative panel wants quick study of state tax structure

HELENA – The Legislative Finance Committee on Monday expressed interest in working with the Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee on reviewing the state’s tax structure, however members balked at waiting until 2019 to do a formal study, saying they want to put it on a faster track. Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee members sent a Read More…

Montana firefighters help fight California wildfires

MISSOULA, Mont. – The following is a press release from the Montana National Guard: Fifty-four Montana wildland firefighters and 16 wildland engines are headed to California to assist in firefighting efforts. The state of Montana received a request from the California Office of Emergency Services Tuesday afternoon to provide critically needed firefighting resources to support Read More…

Zinke booked government helicopters to attend D.C. events

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to previously undisclosed official Read More…

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Montana legislative panel wants quick study of state tax structure

HELENA – The Legislative Finance Committee on Monday expressed interest in working with the Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee on reviewing the state’s tax structure, however members balked at waiting until 2019 to do a formal study, saying they want to put it on a faster track. Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee members sent a Read More…

Montana firefighters help fight California wildfires

MISSOULA, Mont. – The following is a press release from the Montana National Guard: Fifty-four Montana wildland firefighters and 16 wildland engines are headed to California to assist in firefighting efforts. The state of Montana received a request from the California Office of Emergency Services Tuesday afternoon to provide critically needed firefighting resources to support Read More…

Zinke booked government helicopters to attend D.C. events

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to previously undisclosed official Read More…

Montana AG Encourages Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has joined 22 other states attorneys general urging Congress to pas legislation establishing nationwide reciprocity for concealed weapons permits. Spokesman Eric Sell said these bills would allow concealed carry permits to be recognized in all 50 states and U.S. Territories, regardless of where they were issued. “Self defense is a Read More…

Montana attorney general sues Oxycontin maker

HELENA- Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced Dec. 4 a consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, which manufactures opioid medication Oxycontin. Fox’s office claims that Purdue should be held partly responsible for the prescription opioid epidemic. In a press release, Fox said: “As our investigation revealed and our complaint alleges, for years, Purdue knew the Read More…

Counties push for increased wildfire salvages

Northwest Montana’s county commissioners want to see more fire-scorched timber salvaged from Lolo National Forest. The Forest Service is racing to complete the assessments, environmental reviews and public review processes required for area salvage operations to proceed. If timber isn’t cut within one year of a wildfire, weather and insect damage can render it useless. Read More…

Governor Bullock calls special session to balance Montana’s budget

MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock has called the Montana Legislature back to Helena for a special session to balance the state’s budget. The session will begin at 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, 2017. “I have put forth a set of reasonable and thoughtful proposals to balance Montana’s budget for consideration by the Legislature,” Gov. Bullock said. Read More…

Blue Cross-Blue Shield Montana announces Dr. Monica Berner as next president

(HELENA) Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Montana announced Monday that Dr. Monica Berner will be its next president. “I am humbled and excited to build on our past successes and celebrate innovation as we continue to navigate the ever-changing health care environment,” Berner said in a press release. “We are dedicated to making the health care system Read More…

Tester, Daines Grill Officials Over Whitefish Energy Contract

https://cpa.ds.npr.org/kufm/audio/2017/10/MN-PR-senate-update-10-31-17_0.mp3 Both of Montana’s senators questioned federal oversight of a multi-million dollar contract between Montana-based Whitefish Energy and the Puerto Rican electric utility during a Senate committee hearing today. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines grilled administrators overseeing power restoration efforts in Puerto Rico during the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Read More…

Montana Supreme Court says that Marsy’s Law is unconstitutional

(HELENA) The Montana Supreme Court has found that voter-approved Constitutional Initiative 116, commonly referred to as Marsy’s Law, is unconstitutional. The court concluded that the initiative made at least five substantive and not closely related to changes to the Montana constitution. Montana’s Constitution requires a separate vote for each unrelated change to the constitution. The court Read More…

Bullock appoints Democrat campaign donor to Billings judge post

Helena – Governor Steve Bullock has appointed Billings personal injury attorney Don Harris as the new district court judge in Yellowstone County. Mr.  Harris will replace Judge Russ Fagg who retired earlier this year. Mr. Harris is currently a partner at the law firm of Harris, Gannet & Varela PLLC. He received his undergraduate and Read More…

CFAC pays first refund to feds

Columbia Falls Aluminum Company has reimbursed the federal government for some of the costs of investigating its former Columbia Falls plant. The aluminum mill was permanently closed in 2015 and declared a Superfund site last year. The company is currently investigating the site under the Environmental Protection Agency’s oversight and direction. In its Agreement on Read More…

Fox Lauds Opiod Fight But Emphasizes Meth and Alcohol Abuse

Both President and Mrs. Trump both spoke on Thursday about the epidemic of opiod drugs in the U.S,, however Montana Attorney General Tim Fox also emphasized the challenge of both alcohol and methamphetamine. “Attorney General Fox appreciated the president’s announcement of a state of emergency over the opiod epidemic,” said. spokesman Eric Sell. “It’s important Read More…

Payments to Schools, Fire Bills Could Trigger Special Legislative Session in Montana

The last Montana legislative session was a tough one with a trim budget, but there is speculation the money is already running out. Ever since the session ended, there has been talk of either the legislature or governor Steve Bullock calling a special session. Montana House Finance chair Nancy Ballance  believes the governor might announce Read More…

Zinke funneled millions to questionable PACs

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has directed millions of dollars in political contributions since 2014 to a network of Washington operatives that prominent conservatives have accused of profiting by misleading donors. Beneficiaries of Zinke’s largesse include groups linked to Washington-area political operative Scott B. Mackenzie, organizer of a Virgin Islands GOP political action committee that hosted Read More…

Harvey Weinstein Gave Thousands to Montana Democrats

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is receiving significant criticism nationwide as many actresses have stepped forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, harassment, and a cover-up of these stories by the press.  As a high-profile political contributor, Weinstein’s donations have even been re-donated to charities by major politicians, including New York’s Andrew Cuomo. Interestingly, according to Read More…

Budget Breakdown

The last special legislative session in Montana was held a decade ago, when Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, announced the “call” summoning lawmakers back to Helena in order to fund government and transfer money to pay for wildland firefighting. Today, Schweitzer’s Democratic successor, Gov. Steve Bullock, is in an even direr situation following an expensive Read More…