Montana Public Radio

Kayla Desroches

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.

 

State regulators Wednesday will start considering whether Montana’s largest electric utility should be able to pass costs on to customers for money it lost in the summer of 2018.

A State of Montana spokesperson says she was wrong in telling the Billings Gazette last week that a female inmate who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had been isolated for the entire length of her illness.


Renewable energy industry advocates and Montana’s Attorney General are among those pushing back on an East Coast group’s petition that could put an end to the state’ rooftop solar program for net-metering.


A Black Lives Matter event in Billings this weekend drew around 2,000 people who rallied in support of racial equality and justice for people of color victimized by law enforcement. Speakers talked about their experiences being Black in Montana.

Editor's note: YPR News is chosing not to bleep a racial slur in quotes in this story because we think it provides important context into the racism Black people experience in Montana.

Hundreds of people lie on N 27th St. and Second Ave. N in protest of police brutality at the Justice for George Floyd & Black, Indigenous and People of Color In Our Community/World in Billings June 7, 2020.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Over the past week thousands of people across Montana turned out for locally-organized rallies in support of black Americans and against police brutality. The rallies drew disparate crowds, and while talk got heated at times, the events remained non-violent.

The Billings Police Department said at a press conference Thursday that it will do its utmost to ensure a safe and peaceful Sunday rally for racial equity and nonviolence in police interactions. Organizers in several Montana cities are planning events this week.

The locally-organized Billings event is part of a string of nationwide protests against racial violence in the days following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody.

Montana primary voters held onto an incumbent and advanced new candidates in races for the board that regulates electric utilities in the state.

The closest race for the Montana Public Service Commission was for District 2 in southeast Montana, where incumbent Republican Tony O’Donnell of Billings fought for a second term against former PSC commissioner Kirk Bushman and State Rep. Daniel Zolnikov.


Primary races are crowded for the Republican-dominated Montana Public Service Commission, which sets customer rates and approves new power, water and legacy telecommunications projects by regulated utilities in the state.

The state of Montana released its draft environmental assessment for a waste disposal facility expansion at a hardrock mine in south central Montana and now seeks public comment.


A federal judge in Montana heard arguments May 13 in a case where environmental advocacy groups say coal leasing under the Trump Administration breaks federal law.

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