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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

This Week In Montana Politics

PSC Vote, Common Core, Daines & RightNow Technologies, Curtis presents a jobs plan.

PSC Vote
On Thursday, Montana's Public Service Commission voted 4-1 to approve NorthWestern Energy's purchase of the 11 hydroelectric dams in Montana. The purchase will cost $870 million and increase electricity rates by around $5 per month for the typical Northwestern customer.

Juneau Back to School Visits
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau, kicked off a series of back to school visits which will continue over the course of the next several weeks.

Juneau told MTPR's Edward O'Brien the Graduation Matters Montana program to increase graduation rates and reduce the dropout rate, is proving to be a resounding success. "Because of the work they're doing, from 2009 - 2013 Montana's graduation rate has increased from 80.7% to 84.4%, and the dropout rate has decreased from 5% to 3.6%."

Responding to critics of Common Core, Juneau said "Common Core really is about good education and what's happening in schools and in classrooms. The political attack is really an attack on public education. If it wasn't Common Core, it'd be something else."

"Common Core really is just about standards and what people learn. There's nothing mysterious about them. I suggest if people really have a question, we have a great website, go take a look. There's nothing scary in them at all."

Daines & RightNow Technologies
Senate candidate Steve Daines has been touting his business experience throughout his campaign. Daines is a former executive with RightNow Technologies, an early pioneer of cloud computing, which was bought by Oracle Corp. in 2012.

Writing about Daines and RightNow Technologies, Mike Dennison of Lee Newspapers says, "the tale of RightNow’s success has become a staple of his stump speech."

Daines says his experience with RightNow gives him "an understanding of what companies have to do to grow jobs.  The incentives or disincentives that exist out there in policy today – whether it’s tax policy, or regulations – we had to experience it every day."

Amanda Curtis Presents Jobs Plan
Senate candidate Amanda Curtis presented a 7-point jobs plan in Helena on Thursday, saying, "Montanans deserve leaders who support working-class families and small businesses, not millionaires who vote to give tax breaks to their billionaire friends."

Charles Johnson of Lee Newspapers reports that the jobs plan calls for "closing tax loopholes for corporations that move their jobs overseas, investing more in Montana businesses and raising the federal minimum wage."

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