MTPR

Shaylee Ragar

Student Reporter

Shaylee is a former student reporter for MTPR, and Capitol reporter for the UM Legislative News Service in 2019.

House Advances 'Save Colstrip' Bill

Apr 15, 2019
Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R) - Billings, is carrying Senate Bill 331 as it moves through the House. He said after an amendment restored oversight to the Public Service Commission, the bill became more palatable for lawmakers.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- The Montana House of Representatives on Monday advanced legislation known as the “Save Colstrip” bill, which would incentivize NorthWestern Energy to buy more shares of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant.

State Budget Bill Is Flying Through The Legislature

Apr 9, 2019
Sen. Jon Sesso, D-Butte, speaks on the Montana Senate floor. Sesso serves as Senate Minority Leader.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- Montana’s budget will return to the House of Representatives after it was amended in the Senate last week and passed 28-21 Monday.

Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Carl Glimm, a Republican from Kila, says it’s typical for the Senate to tweak House Bill 2, the legislation that outlines the state’s $10.3 billion, two-year budget.

Lawmakers Consider The Future Of Bison In Montana

Mar 25, 2019
Bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

Debates are intensifying at the Montana Legislature over the state’s management of North America’s largest land mammal: The American bison.

Some argue bison are a critical cultural, spiritual and historical resource. Others argue bison pose a threat to the health and well-being of cattle. Now, legislators are considering a number of bills that would decide where bison are allowed to graze, and which government entity gets to make that decision.

Bill Aims To Protect Pregnant Women Seeking Addiction Treatment

Mar 19, 2019
Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is carrying Senate Bill 289, and says pregnant women are less likely to to seek treatment for addiction if there is a “threat of being charged with drug possession.”
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service


In 2017, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that approximately 100 babies every year experience drug withdrawal in Montana.

Now, in an effort to lower that number, lawmakers are considering a bill to help pregnant women with addictions.

Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) - Hamilton, at the Legislature. Feb. 22, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

Rep. Nancy Ballance, a Republican from Hamilton, has served as a chair of the House Appropriations Committee in Montana’s Legislature since 2015. The committee is tasked with building a balanced budget for the state, which is the only legal requirement of the lawmaking body. Ballance is a former insurance executive, and has dug deep into Montana’s finances.

UM Legislative News Reporter Shaylee Ragar spoke with Ballance last week about the state’s revenue projections, the future of Montana’s economy and about her views of Medicaid expansion, which again is a major debate this session.

Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, is sponsoring a bill to criminalize bullying in schools at the request of a group of school resource officers. Jan. 21, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- Montana lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would criminalize school bullying.

House Bill 199 is sponsored by Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings. It would make bullying in a school a misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500, county jail time or placement in a youth detention facility. If the bullying results in death or serious bodily harm, the defendant could be charged with a felony.

The town of Libby.
courtesy

Montana’s Supreme Court has appointed six more judges to the state’s year-old asbestos claims court.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Libby asbestos disaster hit national news, but many Montanans affected by it are still fighting for reparations in the courts, with no end in sight.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana Governor Steve Bullock says Medicaid expansion has bipartisan support going into the 2019 legislative session, and is confident it will pass.

The Senate passed the farm bill on Dec. 11, 2018.
(PD)

Both of Montana’s senators voted for the farm bill, a multibillion-dollar legislative package to fund agriculture and food aid programs, which the Senate passed Tuesday.

The mammoth package will fund key farm safety net programs for the next five years without making significant changes to the food stamp program that serves nearly 40 million low-income Americans.

When the M-44 trap is set, only the capsule holder and capsule protrude above ground level.
Guy Connely - U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Environmental Protection Agency has denied a petition from an environmental organization to ban M-44 devices, known as cyanide bombs, on public lands.

The EPA responded that it will not take immediate action to ban M-44s as requested, but will continue with its normal registration review process. This means the devices could be banned in the future.

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