Montana Public Radio

Diane Sands

This week on Campaign Beat: Sen. Tester has some qualms about Bernie Sanders topping the Democratic ticket for president. Sen. Daines has no qualms about whether President Trump should stay in office. Former Montana congressman and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resurfaces. And Montana lawmakers revisit annual sessions.

Listen now with MTPR's Sally Mauk, Lee Newspapers Capitol Reporter Holly Michaels and University of Montana Political Science Professor and Mansfield Center Fellow Rob Saldin.

State Sen. Ryan Osmundson (R) - Buffalo.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana lawmakers have yet to find consensus about moving the state toward annual legislative sessions. Lawmakers debated the issue on Tuesday.

Montana and North Dakota are the only two states in the country with part-time legislatures that meet once every other year to approve a budget and pass policy. Instead of meeting once for 90 days every other year, state lawmakers are now studying whether to move to 45-day meetings every year.

Cannabis in jars. Stock photo.
iStock

A Montana group pushing to legalize recreational marijuana by a citizen vote next year now has support and financial backing from two national groups. The campaign to set up a tax structure and regulations for recreational use plans to spend millions in Big Sky Country.

The national political action committee that’s successfully pushed for the legalization of marijuana in California, Maine, and Massachusetts is coming to Montana.

Montana State Sen. Diane Sands (D) - Missoula
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

Montana Health officials Friday released new rules for private therapeutic homes that previously fell under the authority of a mostly self-regulated board. This comes a month after the state health department removed two-dozen children from one of those facilities due to allegations of abuse.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: It was hard-fought, but Medicaid expansion will continue in Montana, and Gov. Bullock is celebrating the big legislative win. Moderate Republicans once again tipped the scales on Medicaid and other big items. Greg Gianforte appears ready to leave Congress, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope of retaking the seat. The Legislature is ready to wrap up after the Easter break.

'Hanna's Act' Missing Persons Bill Clears The State Senate

Apr 16, 2019
Montana State Sen. Diane Sands (D) - Missoula
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

HELENA—After a turbulent journey through the Montana Legislature, the bill named after Hannah Harris, who was found murdered on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 2013, passed the Senate 37-13 Tuesday.

'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.

Bill Aims To Protect Pregnant Women Seeking Addiction Treatment

Mar 19, 2019
Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is carrying Senate Bill 289, and says pregnant women are less likely to to seek treatment for addiction if there is a “threat of being charged with drug possession.”
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service


In 2017, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that approximately 100 babies every year experience drug withdrawal in Montana.

Now, in an effort to lower that number, lawmakers are considering a bill to help pregnant women with addictions.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

Montana Senate Endorses Moving Oversight Of Youth Programs

Mar 12, 2019
Montana State Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill to give the state health department oversight of private residential programs for troubled children.

Tuesday's 34-15 vote comes after a series by the Missoulian that found multiple problems with programs for children dealing with emotional and behavioral problems.

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