Montana Public Radio

Austin Knudsen

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

26 minutes ago

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.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

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.

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.

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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 14: Piecing The Budget Puzzle Together

Apr 5, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,271 bills had been introduced and at least 135 had been signed into law. This week we’re watching how lawmakers are piecing the budget puzzle together. Major questions remain over new taxes cuts, funding state agencies, what to do with federal stimulus and recreational marijuana. Much of this work is under a Thursday deadline for appropriation and revenue bills, including regulations for marijuana, to move from one chamber to the other.

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.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen
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Montana has joined 31 other states in suing the U.S. Treasury Department over a provision that bars states from using federal stimulus dollars to offset tax cuts.

Montana is set to see roughly $3 billion in federal stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan Act with the stipulation that the money can’t be used to offset revenue reductions caused by tax cuts. 

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.

Montana’s attorney general is joining 20 other state attorneys general in suing to reverse Pres. Joe Biden’s decision to cancel a permit vital to building the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

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Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over changes to immigration policy.

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