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 House of Representatives.
Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers declined to override eight vetoes from Gov. Greg Gianforte on bills that saw close votes when passed during the 2021 legislative session. 

State health officials heard opposition Thursday to a policy changing how transgender Montanans can amend their birth certificates. The public hearing drew health care professionals and LGBTQ advocates who urged officials to reject or ease the policy.

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Wednesday that a third round of federal stimulus payouts will be distributed to Montana cities and towns.

An excerpt from Justice Jim Rice's concurring opinion on a lawsuit challenging the governor's authority to appoint judges to open benches directly. Rice wrote a concurring opinion, but included scathing criticism of the Legislature and Dept. of Justice.

A Montana Supreme Court justice who voted in a 6-1 ruling to uphold a new law allowing the governor to appoint judges directly to open benches is also condemning Republican lawmakers and the state’s attorney general for their handling of the proceedings.

The two Democrats and two Republicans in charge of redrawing the state’s new congressional and legislative districts are in disagreement over how to start drawing lines.

The U.S. Census Bureau has not yet released the final data states need to start drawing districts, but Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission met Thursday to talk about the rules that will guide the process.

Montana Capitol
Eric Whitney

Montana’s governor will retain a new power to appoint judges directly to vacant benches without the input of the Judicial Nomination Commission. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law in a ruling issued Thursday.

Nurse working in a hospital / iStock

The Montana Nurses Association and St. Peter's Health based in Helena have ratified a collective bargaining contract for more than 300 nurses in the area. 

Joe Lamson, a Democrat on Montana's districting commission, is particularly fond of this map showing the state's legislative districts as drawn in the early 2000s.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

The Republicans and Democrats on Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission are expected to present conflicting plans for drawing the state’s districts at a Thursday meeting. 

The districting and apportionment committee is scheduled to meet to discuss possible criteria to draw new lines for 100 legislative districts — and for the first time in three decades, two Congressional districts. 

Elsie Arntzen Montana's superintendent of public instruction.

The Montana Office of Public Instruction has submitted a plan to distribute $382 million to schools from federal pandemic aid. The state’s public schools superintendent is pushing back on some of the strings attached to the money.

Montana Legislature House chamber.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers will consider overriding eight of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s vetoes from the 2021 legislative session. The bills Gianforte vetoed meet the threshold for an automatic poll of lawmakers asking if they’d like to reverse the governor’s decision.