Montana Public Radio

Shaylee Ragar

Capitol Reporter

Shaylee Ragar is Montana Public Radio’s Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, covered the Legislature for the UM Legislative News Service and interned with MTPR as a student. She graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2019.

Montana lawmakers Tuesday voted down a proposal that would regulate health care for transgender youth in the state. Another bill aimed at transgender youth is still alive.

Sen. Greg Hertz (R) - SD6 chaired the Select Committee On Judicial Transparency and Accountability session Monday April 19, 2021.
Montana Public Affairs Network

A growing dispute between Montana’s legislative and judicial branches came to a head Monday during a pair of special committee hearings. Republican lawmakers have alleged bias by state Supreme Court justices over pending legislation — and in an unexpected move, justices addressed those concerns directly.

The Session Week 16: Separation Of Powers And The Future Of Colstrip

Apr 19, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,297 bills have been introduced and at least 197 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching a mounting dispute over separation of powers between the Legislature and the Montana Supreme Court. We’re also watching debate on a bill that would incentivize the state’s largest utility to buy more of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

The Montana Capitol
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Supreme Court has blocked several subpoenas filed by legislative Republicans ordering the justices to produce internal communications about pending legislation by Monday.

The Supreme Court Friday also blocked a subpoena that would have required Court Administrator Beth McLaughlin to appear Monday before a special legislative committee investigating judicial conduct, and to turn over her state computer. 

Montana Republican legislative leaders have subpoenaed the Montana Supreme Court’s seven justices and court administrator, looking for evidence of alleged bias over bills that could be challenged in court. It is the latest development in a conflict brewing between the state’s legislative and judicial branches.

A group of Republican lawmakers and protestors gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol for an anti-abortion rally on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers have voted down a bill that would have asked voters to change the state Constitution and ban abortion in the state. The proposal came in five votes shy of the two-thirds majority it needed — 100 out of Montana’s 150 lawmakers — to advance.


A bill passed by the state Legislature's Republican majority is now leading to debate over the separation of powers between the branches of Montana’s government.

The bill that eliminates the Judicial Nomination Commission and allows governors to directly appoint judges to certain vacancies was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte last month. Montana State News Bureau reporter Seaborn Larson updates MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar on the latest developments.

The Session Week 15: Parental Rights And Competing Tax Bills For Recreational Marijuana

Apr 12, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,282 bills had been introduced and at least 153 had been signed into law. This week we’re watching the ideological split within the GOP over recreational marijuana taxes, proposed changes to social safety net eligibility and parental rights.

Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, presents House Bill 2 -- the state budget bill -- to members of the Montana Senate April 7, 2021. Osmundson, who chairs the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, is carrying HB 2 in the Senate.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

The Montana Senate has endorsed a $12 billion spending package to guide the state budget over the next two years.

Sen. Ryan Osmundson, Republican chair of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, says the budget proposal would increase state spending, but it remains a conservative budget. 

Montana’s Sens. Steve Dianes and Jon Tester join new U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough for a roundtable discussion at Fort Harrison, April 7, 2021.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

The Biden Administration's new secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs joined Montana’s congressional delegates for a visit to Fort Harrison in Helena Wednesday. The officials are urging veterans to get vaccinated for COVID-19.