Montana Public Radio

Diane Sands

Shards of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth.
Radspunk (GFDL)

Lawmakers in Helena are calling for what’s being billed as the “Montana Meth Summit”, a gathering of lawmakers and government officials to talk about the impacts of meth in Montana. Senator Eric Moore, a Republican from Miles City, and Senator Diane Sands, a Missoula Democrat, stood in the Capitol Tuesday afternoon, as they announced a listening session to discuss the trends of meth use across the state.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

This week, Congressman Ryan Zinke had his confirmation hearing this past week to become the next Secretary of the Interior. Assuming that Zinke is confirmed, Gov. Bullock will soon call a special election to fill Zinke's Congressional seat. Republican Ken Miller is the latest new candidate for this position.

Part of this week's conversation also includes a proposed bill that would set up long-term financing for future infrastructure projects by using coal tax money, and several bills aiming to update Montana's sexual assault statutes.

Lastly, the hosts discuss the women's marches taking place across the country the day after Trump's inauguration and whether this is the start of a long-term movement.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

The Capitol dome in Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Today, Montana Senators voted unanimously in support of a bill to change the state's legal definition of rape, removing the requirement of force for a perpetrator to be found guilty.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Today, lawmakers in a state Senate Judiciary Committee passed a largely bipartisan package of bills aiming to update laws on sexual crimes. But later, the committee split along party lines, shutting down efforts to change traffic laws.

Lawmakers in the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to pass a bill out of committee that could change what Montana legally defines as rape, and remove force from that definition.

Capitol Connections: Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Jan 11, 2017

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


The Montana Capitol
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

During the first week of the 2017 legislative session, senators have discussed a package of 5 bills that could change the future of how sex crimes are prosecuted in Montana. Three of those bills were heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, including one to change how state law defines rape.

Sen. Diane Sands (D) SD-49
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

Over the next two days, lawmakers in Helena will consider a group of bills that could change how the State handles crimes of sexual assault. The Senate Judiciary committee will hear five bills aiming to redefine what the law considers as rape, as well as laws on sex offender registration and crimes among minors and parents.

Barbara Dryden, center, and Richard Blank, to her left, tell Governor Steve Bullock about the challenges family caregivers face Monday at Missoula Aging Services.
Kim Hutcheson, Missoula Aging Services

Governor Steve Bullock and Democratic State Senator Diane Sands say the state legislature should boost spending on assistance programs for the elderly by $1.6 million.

They made the pitch at a visit to Missoula Aging Services Monday. There, Bullock and Sands heard from people who’ve used the kinds of assistance they want to expand.

Montana State Senator Diane Sands.
Courtesy Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, University of Montana

Montana lawmakers are wondering how to track the effectiveness of nearly $20 million being injected into the state's mental health care system this year.

An Interim Committee Monday heard positive feedback on the funding package. But health care providers say they're not sure what data to collect to demonstrate whether new and expanded programs are successful.  

Montana Senate Votes To Ban E-Cigarettes For Minors

Mar 5, 2015

The Montana Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill to prohibit minors to buy or possess electronic cigarettes.

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