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.

Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls, introduces House Bill 136 to the Montana House Judiciary Committee Jan. 19, 2021. The bill is the first in a slate of bills seeking to add restrictions on abortion access.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

On Tuesday, Montana lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee heard the first two bills to be introduced this session aimed at restricting access to abortion.

Republican Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway is carrying House Bill 136, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks of gestation or later. Republican Rep. Sharon Greef is carrying House Bill 171 which would place new restrictions on medication abortions as well as add new requirements for the providers performing them.

Sign on a business door that says 'Attention: for the safety of our patrons and employees, masks are required for entry. Thank you for helpping slow the spread of COVID-19.'

Montana's Senate advanced a bill that would shield businesses and organizations from COVID-19 lawsuits, so long as those businesses are following health care guidelines.

Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, opens a hearing on House Bill 112 during a Montana House Judiciary Committee Meeting Jan. 18, 2021. Fuller sponsored HB 112, which seeks to ban transgender women from competing in high school and college women’s sports.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers are considering two bills aimed at changing how transgender youth participate in sports and receive medical treatment.

House Bill 112 would ban transgender women from competing with other women in interscholastic sports. House Bill 113 would prohibit physicians from treating transgender youth with hormone treatment or surgery. 

The Session Week 3: MMIP, COVID-19 and Capitol Safety

Jan 18, 2021

The Session Week 3: MMIP, COVID-19 and Capitol Safety

As of Jan. 15, 296 bills have been introduced and none have been signed into law. This week, we're watching how lawmakers are proposing to change the role of public health officials, how the state is addressing missing Indigenous persons, and how the riot in D.C. could have ripple effects in Montana.

Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter (right) thanks Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls (left), for sponsoring Senate Bill 67, which would remove penalties for law enforcement failing to enforce local health directives, at a meeting of the Montana Sen
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers are bringing a slew of bills this session to modify the power of local health officers in a declared state of emergency, like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One bill introduced this week would remove legal penalties for law enforcement who refuse to enforce public health orders.

The way Montanans can participate in their state legislature has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. People have more virtual access, and in-person hearings in the Capitol look different than ever before.

Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Monday his nomination for the director of the Montana Department of Commerce. Gianforte pledged on the campaign trail to replace all state agency leaders.

Montana lawmakers have set the first rough outline for state health department spending at about a billion dollars less than the agency’s current budget. A party line vote Friday set the initial base spending for budget negotiations. 

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte unveils his budget proposal in a press conference at the Montana Capitol in Helena January 7, 2021. The proposal promises a $100 million decrease in state spending over the next two years.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s first budget proposal includes broad tax cuts and a marginal change in the state’s general fund spending.

Gianforte is proposing a less than one percent increase, not adjusted for inflation, to the state’s general fund spending over the next 2 years.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has put his support behind a proposal to raise state employee pay by 55 cents an hour in 2023.