Montana Public Radio

Capitol Talk

Fridays at 6:44 p.m. during the Montana Legislature

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers State Bureau Chief Holly Michels and UM Political Science Professor Rob Saldin.

Tune in to "Capitol Talk" online, or on your radio at 6:44 p.m every Friday during the session.

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'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
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COVID leads to the cancellation of floor sessions at the Legislature as the Republican leaders are in a subpoena standoff with the state Supreme Court. All this as a bill to ban abortion dies in the Senate, the governor tries to prohibit "vaccine passports" and a Montanan may become the next head of the Bureau of Land Management.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Gov. Gianforte is one of Montana's new cases of COVID. The marijuana bills are now in the Senate's lap. The House votes to abide by the First Amendment. The Republican PSC opposes a Republican Colstrip bill. And the Republican renaissance in Montana owes a lot to the legacy of former Governor Stan Stephens.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

The "beast bill" heads to the Senate. The attorney general sues over restrictions on the use of federal COVID relief money. Montana could lose millions in federal education money because of a bill banning transgender students from participating in women's sports. A bill to make it easier for Native Americans to vote is killed. And a progressive blogger ends his long run as an influential gadfly.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Capitol Talk: Beasts, Budgets And Voting Rights

Mar 26, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte makes headlines after trapping a Yellowstone wolf — while bills targeting wolves head toward passage. Republican lawmakers want to eliminate same-day voter registration. And the so-called "beast bill" — directing how billions in federal COVID relief money will be spent — crawls forward.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Capitol Talk: Budget Puzzle, Lawsuits And The Limits Of Public Input

Mar 19, 2021

The many moving parts of the state budget have pushed lawmakers to extend the session — but Montana's Legislature isn't the state's only busy branch.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has filed yet another lawsuit against the Biden Administration. At the same time, prominent Montanans are suing Gov. Greg Gianforte over his effort to directly appoint judges.

And, as a racist social media post by a Republican lawmaker resurfaces, Montanans are learning that overwhelming public opposition to legislation does not guarantee a bill's defeat.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Capitol Talk: COVID Windfall, 'Religious Freedom' And Fossil Fuels

Mar 12, 2021

Montana Republican leaders think the COVID relief signed into law this week is a mistake. The Legislature now has to figure out how to spend the COVID windfall. Montana's attorney general joins a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. It looks like Gov. Gianforte will sign a "religious freedom" bill if it reaches his desk. And Sen. Daines says the Interior Secretary nominee will harm Montana's "way of life" if she's confirmed.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Capitol Talk: Mid-Session Recap

Mar 5, 2021

Right-to-work legislation fails. "Culture war" bills are still alive. And the big budget fights loom as the Legislature marks its midpoint.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Montana's two senators are split on their support for the first Native American to be nominated to a Cabinet post. And the state Legislature is hurtling towards its mid-session break with a flurry of bills addressing abortion, transgender surgery and tax cuts, among others.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Capitol Talk: Antifa; 'Religious Freedom', And Limits On Local Control

Feb 19, 2021

Bills heard this week at the Capitol seek to: limit the ability of local governments and health departments to require restrictions during a public health emergency; limit services to LGBTQ people in the name of religious freedom; make Montana a right-to-work state; declare antifa a domestic terrorist organization — even though there isn't such an organization.

And after years of criticizing dark money groups, former Gov. Steve Bullock raises eyebrows by taking a position with a PAC tied to dark money.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Montana's two senators are expected to split their votes on impeachment. The governor has lifted the state's mandatory mask mandate, and Attorney General Austin Knudsen joins the effort to reverse a Biden administration decision to halt the Keystone pipeline.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

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