MTPR

Eric Feaver

U.S. Supreme Court file photo.
PD

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Montana case—whether the state can exclude religious schools from a tax credit program that gives scholarships to parents for private school tuition payments.

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.

Montana remains among only a few states in the country without publicly funded pre-K.
iStock

A state-funded preschool program is on a fast track in the state Legislature. The policy introduced today is starting to reveal a rare clash between the state’s largest union and Gov. Steve Bullock.

The policy outlining voluntary preschool and the creation of a new state department of early childhood is carried by Rep. Eric Moore, a Republican from the Miles City area.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare says the Montana Nurses Association released “blatantly false information” when it announced Wednesday it was filing charges against Kalispell Regional for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

Out-of-state conservative free market groups have set up campaigns offering Montana public employees a guided path to abandoning organized labor.

This following a June U.S. Supreme Court decision favoring so-called “Right-to-Work” policies. The ruling said that public unions could no longer require non-union employees to pay what’s known as agency fees. 

 Signs stacked inside the headquarters of the newly formed Montana Federation Of Public Employees. Union organizers campaigned for union membership before the US Supreme Court ruling concerning labor union membership.
Corin Cates-Carney

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers can't be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining.

 Signs stacked inside the headquarters of the newly formed Montana Federation Of Public Employees. Union organizers campaigned for union membership before the US Supreme Court ruling concerning labor union membership.
Corin Cates-Carney

A U.S. Supreme court decision expected in the coming weeks could deal a big blow to Montana’s public sector unions. The decision could make Montana a so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ state in the public sector, costing the state’s biggest union membership, revenue, and bargaining power.

Elsie Arntzen is Montana's superintendent of public instruction.
Montana Legislature

Federal education officials have now weighed in on Montana’s plan to replace the No Child Left Behind law. Public educators here have been waiting on that since submitting the plan in September

More than 20 officials with Montana’s Office of Public Instruction gathered around a conference room table in Helena Wednesday to hear the federal Department of Education’s response to the state’s plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Bill To Establish Charter Schools Passes Montana House

Feb 27, 2017
Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A bill that its sponsor says would provide additional educational opportunities by establishing a public charter schools act passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 55-44 on Monday.

A Republican from Winnett is worried about the student loan debt saddling college students.

Representative Bill Harris worries the debt load on college students may force them to leave the state and Montana employers are looking for workers.  He hopes his House Bill 239 bridges that gap.


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