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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

'Capitol Talk': Water Rights, Dark Money, Medicaid And More

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk": The Flathead water rights compact passes out of committee. A bill intended to "shine sunlight on dark money" is making its way through the process. Lawmakers heard testimony on one part of the GOP healthcare plan. And next Friday is the bill transmittal deadline and halfway point of the session

Flathead water compact

The Flathead water rights compact passed its first hurdle winning approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday after a contentious hearing. It still faces a vote in the Senate, and if passed, a tough fight in the House.

Campaign finance

A campaign finance bill championed by Gov. Bullock and sponsored by Republican Sen. Duane Ankney aims to "shine sunlight on dark money" in Montana. The bill would require every campaign expenditure to be reported, including those from so called "dark money" groups. Opponents say there's no need for the bill because the Commissioner of Political Practices already has the authority to deal with campaign finance issues.

Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion is one of the big issues looming over the Montana legislature this session. The debate heated up this week as lawmakers heard testimony on one piece of the Republican health insurance plan.

Death penalty ban

The House Judiciary committee narrowly passed a bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana. All nine Democrats and two Republicans on the committee voted in favor of the bill.

Transmittal deadline

Friday, Feb. 27 is the transmittal deadline for bills at the Legislature. Any non-budget bill that hasn't been passed and transmitted to the other chamber automatically dies for the session.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Tune in to "Capitol Talk" on your radio every Friday during the session at 6:35 p.m.

Retired in 2014 but still a presence at MTPR, Sally Mauk is a University of Kansas graduate and former wilderness ranger who has reported on everything from the Legislature to forest fires.
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