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Discarded mask

Missoula County lifted its mask mandate Monday, effectively ending all COVID-19 restrictions for the general public in the area.

A screen capture from a 2019 Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks video shows a golden eagle picking at an animal carcass while two magpie stand nearby.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks /

A recent study from RaptorView Research Institute in Missoula found that most golden eagles that wintered in the Bitterroot Valley between 2011 and 2018 had elevated levels of lead in their blood. RaptorView Executive Director Rob Domenech says lead in the birds is related to hunters using lead bullets.

COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake for Eligible Montanans by Age Group - 04-27-21
Credit: Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A few counties across Montana are seeing notable spikes in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Flathead, Park and Cascade county health officials say the virus is affecting the old and young alike.

Sign on a business door that says 'Attention: for the safety of our patrons and employees, masks are required for entry. Thank you for helpping slow the spread of COVID-19.'

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law a bill Friday that prohibits actions — such as those taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — that would affect the bottom line for businesses.

As a result of the new law, both Lewis and Clark and Gallatin counties said they could no longer enforce mask mandates.

Montana has banned transgender women and girls from competing in women’s interscholastic sports. Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed that ban into law Friday. Montana joins five other states in enacting a ban on transgender women and girls from participating in K-12 and college sports with other women and girls. 

The Montana state health department is launching a consultation line for rural health professionals treating pregnant women and moms with mental health conditions.

The line is designed to bolster Montana’s mental health resources.

A nurse-midwife in Kalispell recently was considering possible medication for a patient with a history of postpartum psychosis, but what she really needed was a specialist.

“I wanted to get her a team, and unfortunately it takes a little while to get into psychiatric care,” said nurse-midwife Christie Weseman.

Nearly 30 Indigenous advocacy groups are condemning the work of a presidential task force on missing and murdered Indigenous person cases.

On National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day, the groups issued a statement on Operation Lady Justice (OLJ), claiming the presidential task force established in 2019 has been, “continuously inflict[ing] harm on MMIWG and MMIP families and show[ing] disrespect to the movement.”

The Montana Supreme Court has denied a request to consider the legality of a bill that would increase the governor’s influence over judicial nominations. The policy is a back-up option advanced by Republicans in case the court strikes down a separate law giving the governor more power to fill judicial vacancies directly.

The state Supreme Court rejected the request that came from the same bipartisan group that’s asking the high court to undo the new law giving the governor power to appoint judicial vacancies directly.

Attendees at a Missoula, MT vigil Wednesday, May 4, 2021 lit candles to commemorate the victims and survivors of the crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The crisis of violence against Indigenous women and girls is being recognized in ceremonies in Montana and around the nation this week. Family members and advocates gathered on the State Capitol steps in Helena Wednesday and outside the Payne Family Native American Center in Missoula. 

5 Things to Know About Health Care Changes In Montana

May 7, 2021

HELENA, Mont. — The 2021 Montana legislative session will be remembered as one of the state’s most consequential as a Republican-led legislature and governor’s office passed new laws restricting abortions, lowering taxes and regulating marijuana. 

But the debate over those and other highly publicized issues may have caused other meaningful legislation related to health care to slip off the public’s radar. Here are five substantial health-related policies that emerged from the recently ended session. They include bills that Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed or is expected to sign into law.