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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Briefs: Rental assistance; Property taxes; Montana vs. Facebook

Whitefish rental assistance program will start accepting applications in January
Aaron Bolton | Montana Public Radio

A new rental assistance program in Whitefish aims to help workers live within city limits. Many who work in Whitefish can’t afford to live there, forcing them to make long commutes.

The program run by the nonprofit Housing Whitefish will help renters pay up to a quarter of their rent, providing up to $4,800 in assistance per year.

The Whitefish City Council Monday agreed to give Housing Whitefish $200,000 to help launch the program. The organization says it still needs to raise additional funds.

Rental assistance applications will be accepted starting in January and Housing Whitefish will begin providing rental assistance in April.

Gov. announces property tax task force as lawmakers consider a special session
Aaron Bolton | Montana Public Radio

 Gov. Greg Gianforte Tuesday announced he will form a task force next year focused on reducing property taxes.

The announcement comes as lawmakers are being polled on whether to return to Helena for a special session focused on property tax reform.

Gianforte says he will appoint members to his task force in January. The governor wants the task force to make proposals for lawmakers to consider during their next legislative session.

Members of the Montana Freedom Caucus are calling for a special session in January. They want surplus tax dollars returned to Montanans, to limit property tax growth based on inflation and to reduce a special education tax.

Attorney general sues Facebook & Instagram, alleging risks to children 
John Hooks | Montana Public Radio

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is suing the parent company of Instagram and Facebook. The suit alleges the social media platform is intentionally designed to be addictive to minors and misrepresents the content available on the platform.

Montana’s lawsuit contains similar allegations made in suits filed by dozens of other states in October.

Montana names Facebook, Instagram, and parent company Meta as defendants in the suit. In a statement, Knudsen said the addictive design and widespread sexual content on Meta’s social media platforms pose “serious risks” to the mental health and well-being of children.

Meta did not immediately respond to MTPR’s request for comment.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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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