Montana Public Radio

Caleb Hinkle

A group of Republican lawmakers and protestors gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol for an anti-abortion rally on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers endorsed a bill Thursday that would change the state's Constitution to ban abortion in any circumstance. Although it is one of several anti-abortion bills making headway this session, this proposal will need to find bipartisan support in the Senate to continue moving forward.

The Montana House Thursday offered its support to a bill that would create a commission to study whether to permanently revoke regulations suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.

On the heels of voting down other labor-related bills, Montana lawmakers decisively rejected a so-called right-to-work bill for private unions today.

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.

'Right-To-Work' Bill Draws Lengthy Public Testimony

Feb 17, 2021

A bill that would prohibit forced private union membership as a job condition in Montana drew lengthy public testimony Tuesday. Republican Rep. Caleb Hinkle of Belgrade told lawmakers his adamant support for "right-to-work" legislation comes from his time working at a unionized grocery store in 2013.

Hinkle said he had to pay a $500 union initiation fee or leave his job, which led him to seek work elsewhere and endure what he called the most difficult financial situation of his life. He says other employees shouldn’t have to make a similar decision.

As of mid-day Friday, 594 bills had been introduced and Gov. Greg Gianforte had signed one bill into law. This week, we’re watching bills that would cut taxes, implement “right to work” policies and end same-day voter registration in Montana.

Montana Republican Rep. Caleb Hinkle presents House Bill 158 during a House State Administration Committee meeting on Jan. 19, 2021.
Montana Public Affairs Network

On Wednesday a Montana legislative committee heard testimony on two bills spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals involve federal relief spending and as well as regulations waived during the current state of emergency.