Montana Public Radio

Colstrip Power Plant

'Capitol Talk': Legislature Wraps-Up; Campaign Season Heats Up

Apr 26, 2019

Tonight on Capitol Talk: Big bills that passed, and ones that didn't; the split in the Republican party — and its consequences; Gov. Bullock's pending big announcement; and Attorney General Tim Fox's fondness for chicken.

Montana State Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature is in a holding pattern entering the final days of the session as behind the scenes deals are being worked out in rooms at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers are attempting to advance politically contentious policies over preschool funding and the  future of Colstrip as time in the 2019 legislative session runs out.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) - Stevensville
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The bill to continue Medicaid expansion in Montana passed out of the state Senate Tuesday after teetering on the edge of a deadline for end of session negotiations.

The reauthorization of the health coverage program for low-income adults, packaged with new work and public service requirements for certain enrollees, passed 28-22 in its final Senate vote.

Updated and expanded 6:40 p.m.

A bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program has passed a critical vote in the Senate by a one vote margin. The  26-24 vote Monday afternoon lifted House Bill 658 from its multi-day stall ahead of a Tuesday deadline for bills to pass. That means the bill faces one more Senate vote Tuesday.

House Advances 'Save Colstrip' Bill

Apr 15, 2019
Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R) - Billings, is carrying Senate Bill 331 as it moves through the House. He said after an amendment restored oversight to the Public Service Commission, the bill became more palatable for lawmakers.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- The Montana House of Representatives on Monday advanced legislation known as the “Save Colstrip” bill, which would incentivize NorthWestern Energy to buy more shares of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant.

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

Bills to continue Medicaid expansion — and to buy more coal — have nothing in common, unless you want one, or both, to pass. That fight, and whether transparency is good or bad for legislating top our discussion tonight on Capitol Talk.

A party-line vote late in a Montana House committee Friday is advancing the controversial bill that gives NorthWestern Energy incentives to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

A party-line vote late in a Montana House committee Friday is advancing the controversial bill that gives NorthWestern Energy incentives to buy a larger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip.

But the so-called Montana Energy Security Act is moving to the House floor for debate significantly changed.

Sen. Duane Ankney (R) - Colstrip.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion in Montana failed to pass today when the state Senate locked in a 25-25 tie.

Republican co-sponsors of the policy are withholding their support in a play for leverage over other political goals, including the passage of a controversial bill aimed at keeping the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip running.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / MTPR

A critical vote over the future of Medicaid expansion could come down to the votes one or two state senators Thursday. That’s after debate was delayed Wednesday on the health care program for low-income adults.

Senate Majority Whip Steve Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Great Falls, says the vote will be close on House Bill 658, which is arguably the most high-profile bill of the 2019 legislative session.

NorthWestern Energy building in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The controversial proposal for Montana to give NorthWestern Energy incentive to buy a bigger share of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip got its first hearing in the state House Monday.

Senate Bill 331 is seen by some as a deregulation bill to benefit of the state’s largest monopoly utility company. Others see it as a proposal to save Colstrip while providing reliable  power that will keep Montanans' heaters running even in the coldest of cold snaps.

Pages