Fred Thomas

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Lawmakers reached a tentative deal Tuesday on a policy to report and investigate harassment, discrimination and retaliation involving lawmakers and legislative employees.

A conference committee recommended lawmakers rejected a House proposal that the policy also apply to lobbyists, media and members of the public.

Senate Majority Leader for the 2019 legislative session, Fred Thomas. Thomas is Republican from Stevensville.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana's Senate has approved a policy prohibiting legislators and legislative employees from subjecting someone to discrimination, harassment and retaliation and creates a confidential process to report and investigate complaints.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) SD44.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

In first weeks of the legislative session Gov. Steve Bullock and the Republican Majority are trading barbs over how the state should pay for big public projects, including university system improvements and maintenance in towns and counties.

On Wednesday GOP leaders revealed plans for a new system for how Montana borrows money for public works projects.


A new tax on fireworks is up for debate in the Montana Legislature. The money would help pay workers compensation for volunteer firefighters injured on the job. But the fireworks industry is protesting against the policy that they say is unfair and will cripple their businesses.

There are roughly 8,000 volunteer firefighters in Montana and a quarter don’t get health coverage or wage protection if they’re injured on the job, according to a legislative study on the topic last year.

Senate President for the 2019 legislature, Scott Sales. Sales is a Republican from Bozeman. Nov. 15, 2018
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Legislature should "take its lumps" and pass a long-overdue measure to raise future lawmakers' pay without worrying about the potential fallout from constituents who may see the measure as self-serving, the Senate president said.