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Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Fresh off Monday’s news that Montana’s gained a second U.S. House seat, Republican lawmakers Tuesday passed a proposal to give the Legislature more input on how the state is drawn into two districts. Opponents say the move is unconstitutional.

The residents of Colstrip rely on the local coal-fired power plant pumping in clean drinking water from the Yellowstone River. The plant uses the water for its operations, but also sends some of it to town. This means there are major questions about what will happen to the local water supply if the plant ever shuts down.

State lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at ensuring Colstrip city residents have access to clean drinking water in the years to come.

Montana Drought Monitor map for April 13, 2021 shows around 60% of Montana facing drought conditions.
Deborah Bathke / National Drought Mitigation Center

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office Monday released this year’s state Water and Supply and Drought Outlook report. Over 60 percent of Montana is facing drought conditions.

Rep. Sharon Greef, R-Florence, looks on as Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signs her bill into law to restrict how doctors administer medication abortions. It was one of three bills Gianforte signed Monday, April 26, 2021, to limit access to abortion.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed three bills into law that aim to limit access to abortion, breaking a nearly two-decade-long streak of Democratic governors vetoing anti-abortion legislation in the state. 

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
New York National Guard/Public Domain

Montana’s state health department is recommending that providers in the state resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Federal health officials Friday lifted the pause on the shot. Health officials say the benefits outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots potentially linked to the vaccine.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday that Montana will gain a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Voters will get to elect the new congressperson in 2022. 

Montana added 95,000 more residents since 2010. The 10% increase was enough to give the state additional representation in Congress.

The Session Week 17: Last Minute Legislation And Maneuvers

Apr 26, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,313 bills have been introduced and at least 267 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching how the Republican majority is spending their mandate from voters as the session is winding down and last minute legislation.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

The dispute between Republican legislative leadership and the state Supreme Court will likely continue after the legislative session ends. This as Montana joins several states in passing changes to voting laws — and those changes are already being challenged in court. And Friday, lawmakers reached a compromise on how to implement recreational marijuana.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

A gavel and scale of justice.

04/23/21, 6:40 p.m. This story has been updated to reflect the latest action on Judge Levine's nomination.

The Montana Senate has rejected one of Former-Gov. Steve Bullock’s district court judge appointees and advanced another. A third appointee is still awaiting consideration. 

President Joe Biden has nominated Tracy Stone-Manning of Missoula, Mont., to direct the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management. She will oversee roughly a quarter-billion acres of federally owned land in Western states.