MTPR

Duane Ankney

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

Units 1 and 2 of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip will permanently close at the end of this year. Plant operator Talen Energy made that announcement in a press release Tuesday, saying the company has been unsuccessful in making the units economically viable. Talen says the plant’s newer units, 3 and 4, will remain open.

A new tax on airplane fuel is nearing a final vote in the Montana Legislature.
(PD)

A new tax on airplane fuel is nearing a final vote in the Montana Legislature. In recent weeks a trade group for major airlines has fought against the bill in a social media campaign.

Montana lawmakers advanced House Bill 661 Tuesday on a 74-26 vote, approving amendments made by the Senate.

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.

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.

'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.

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.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state budget sails through the Legislature; Gov. Bullock says he's "skeptical" about the "save Colstrip" bill; a Colstrip senator launches a vitriolic video slamming press coverage of the Colstrip bill; Attorney General Tim Fox opposes ending Obamacare; and three more candidates enter the races for governor and U.S. House. 

It's been a busy week at the Montana Legislature. Medicaid expansion and a bill to help NorthWestern Energy acquire more coal are still alive; A bill to fund preschool education is killed; And a bill to help find missing and murdered Native American women is passed, then killed, then revived. Learn more now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A controversial bill to change the state’s regulation of NorthWestern Energy in a potential deal at Colstrip cleared a critical vote Wednesday in the Senate. 

The proposal encourages the state’s largest monopoly utility to increase its operating share of energy production at one of the coal-fired power plant's four units.

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