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Statewide news from Montana Public Radio.
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A new study shows newsrooms cut a record 16,000 jobs last year. That shrinkage is one reason more and more journalists are leaving the profession, including former Montana newspaper reporter Eve Byron. In this episode of Parsing the Press, Eve talks with Sally and Gwen about the downsides — and the allure — of being a journalist in today's challenging news environment.

YPR News’ Kaitlyn Nicholas recently spoke with Connie Walker, an award-winning Cree Journalist from the Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan. She is the host of the 8-episode podcast Stolen: The Search For Jermain from Gimlet Media and Spotify. In "Stolen," Walker shares the story of Jermain Charlo, a 23 year old member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes who went missing in Missoula in June 2018.

Two new Montana laws that aim to keep the Colstrip coal-fired power plant open and running sparked a lawsuit from plant owners who say the government is intruding on private business dealings.

Republicans and Democrats on a special legislative committee are at odds over dueling reports summarizing an ongoing investigation into Montana’s judicial branch.

The minority report from Democratic lawmakers refutes GOP claims of alleged judicial bias and misconduct, saying Republican lawmakers and the Republican-led executive branch are trying to smear the judiciary.

Gov. Gianforte signs Senate Bills 159 and 399 into law May 6, 2021 besides (L to R) Steven Thompson, Sen. Greg Hertz (R-Polson), Ray Thompson, Senate President Mark Blasdel (R-Kalispell), and Director of Commerce Scott Ostermann.
Gov. Gianforte's office

Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed two bills into law Thursday to simplify the state’s income tax code while also cutting the top marginal rate. Gianforte was joined by Republican lawmakers to sign the bills at a manufacturing business in Kalispell. 

Prescribed burn in Crazy Canyon near Missoula, MT.
Lolo National Forest

Firefighters are conducting prescribed burns on both the Lolo and Lewis & Clark National Forests. Area residents may notice the smoke.

Paycheck Protection Program's Funds Exhausted

May 5, 2021

The Paycheck Protection Program that’s given aid to businesses during the pandemic has run out of funding, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA will continue to fund already approved PPP applications.

The PPP provided Montana small businesses with nearly 42,000 loans totaling $2.5 billion since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans helped cover workers' paychecks during the COVID-19 related economic downturn and mandated shutdowns.

Montana GOP Sends Mailer Targeting Supreme Court

May 5, 2021

The Montana GOP has sent out a mailer blasting the Montana Supreme Court and calling for an investigation into the judicial branch. The mailing is Republicans’ latest attack on the judiciary as they press forward with a special committee that Democrats are calling a violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

The 2021 meeting of Montana lawmakers was defined by Republicans' ironclad majority in both chambers with the backing of the first GOP governor in 16 years and work that began during a pandemic. MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar and YPR’s Kevin Trevellyan have been in the halls and zoom meetings for the past 80 days. Here’s their breakdown of the final day of action.

Shaylee Ragar Kevin, the Republican caucus held a press conference after the session had officially adjourned, and they were in high spirits.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Montana will stop providing additional unemployment benefits allowed during the coronavirus pandemic. This coincides with the state offering so-called return-to-work bonuses.

Gianforte says the measures are intended to incentivize Montanans to re-enter the job market amid a severe workforce shortage.

The governor’s office says Montana will opt out of providing enhanced unemployment benefits by July.