Montana Public Radio

Becky Beard

The Session Week 17: Last Minute Legislation And Maneuvers

Apr 26, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,313 bills have been introduced and at least 267 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching how the Republican majority is spending their mandate from voters as the session is winding down and last minute legislation.

Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, speaks on 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

A key policy in Gov. Greg Gianforte’s plan for tax cuts in Montana narrowly failed in the House on Thursday.

A bill that would provide tax relief to telecommunications companies that install broadband infrastructure in Montana is one step closer to being signed into law.

Elliston Republican Rep. Becky Beard said incentivizing companies to lay high-speed internet infrastructure would create jobs and economic activity in a state that currently ranks among the nation’s worst in broadband access.

“We have to have high-speed internet to function competitively. Even ask our schools about this necessity. It’s been a lifeline for so many of us," Beard said.

Rep. Becky Beard (R) - HD80
Montana Legislature

A fourth Montana state lawmaker has tested positive for COVID-19 after working in-person at the Capitol in Helena. Nearly two dozen close contacts have been identified in connection with positive cases tied to the Capitol.

"Herd Bull," a bronze bison skull sculpture by artist Benji Daniels on display in front of the Montana Historical Society in Helena, MT.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

A proposal to fund a new Montana history museum was defeated Thursday in the state Legislature.

The so-called Montana Museums Act was tabled by the House Taxation Committee on a tie vote, presenting the latest loss in a more than decade-long effort by the state historical society.

Rural Schools Teacher Recruitment Bills Pass Initial Vote

Feb 26, 2019

HELENA — The Montana House of Representatives passed two bills Tuesday aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers for rural schools.

Rep. Tyson Runningwolf, D-Browning, is sponsoring House Bill 420, which passed it’s initial vote 70-30. The bill would appropriate $500,000 in state funding to create a series of grants for schools and students to encourage pursuing education degrees and staying in Montana.