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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Bill would bring COVID relief funds to southwest Montana

A mining headframe in Uptown Butte, Montana with the city in view in the background.
Mike Albans
Montana Public Radio
A mining headframe in Uptown Butte, Montana with the city in view in the background.

Two local Montana governments missed out on a previous round of federal pandemic aid due to a technicality. Sen. Jon Tester recently introduced a bill to bring the money into southwest Montana.

Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda-Deer Lodge were denied pandemic aid from the American Rescue Plan Act this fall after the U.S. Treasury Department determined funds could not go to combined county-municipal governments.

Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda-Deer Lodge are Montana’s two consolidated city-county governments.

Sen. Tester’s bill would overturn the ruling and make the two counties eligible for the next round of funding, due in 2023, as well as reimbursing the missed funds.

Bill Everett, CEO of Anaconda-Deer Lodge county, said the funds were a necessary aid to help local governments get back to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through this COVID period, all counties and local governments have had a financial setback. Those ARPA funds are to make us whole, they’re not to try to get ahead, but simply to make us whole.”

Tester’s Local Assistance Fairness Act has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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