Montana Public Radio

Greg Gianforte

Montana Capitol bulding in Helena, MT.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers advanced a preliminary state budget last week that outlines $12 billion in spending over the next two years. It's expected to land on the House floor for debate in the coming days.

If nothing changes, the state will spend about $400 million more in the next biennium than it did over the last two years. That’s a 3.4% increase, according to the Legislative Fiscal Division. But the budget has only cleared one hurdle of many before it becomes law.

A syringe in a container labeled COVID-19 vaccine.
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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 1, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday.

Vaccines are currently available to residents 60 or older, health care workers, people of color and those with certain medical conditions. Educators are eligible through a federal partnership with several pharmacies in the state, but remain ineligible for the vaccines through the state’s distribution plan.

The Session Week 11: State Budget Takes Shape And Marijuana Regulation Coming Soon

Mar 15, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,148 bills had been introduced and Gov. Greg Gianforte 54 had been signed into law.

This week we’re starting to see the state budget take shape; recreational marijuana regulations are coming soon; and Democrats try again with tax changes as Republican plans move forward.

The Montana House Thursday advanced a bill that would let special needs students attend private schools using public education dollars.

Under House Bill 329, public money tied to a special needs child would go into a savings account to reimburse parents on private education costs.

Tax calculator
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Republican lawmakers are considering doubling a tax cut Gov. Greg Gianforte has proposed for the top marginal income bracket.

Capitol Talk: COVID Windfall, 'Religious Freedom' And Fossil Fuels

Mar 12, 2021

Montana Republican leaders think the COVID relief signed into law this week is a mistake. The Legislature now has to figure out how to spend the COVID windfall. Montana's attorney general joins a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. It looks like Gov. Gianforte will sign a "religious freedom" bill if it reaches his desk. And Sen. Daines says the Interior Secretary nominee will harm Montana's "way of life" if she's confirmed.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

On Thursday, Montana's Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte put his support behind a bill supporters say would protect religious freedom. Opponents say it would allow for discrimination of LGBTQ Montanans.

The new Southwest Montana Veterans' Home welcomed its first resident Monday. The grand opening is a big deal in Butte, where regional veterans have waited nearly 30 years for a facility to call their own.

80-year-old Bill Davis is the first of what will eventually be 60 veterans to call the $20 million facility home.

The Session Week 10: We’re Halfway There

Mar 8, 2021

As of mid-day Thursday 1,121 had been introduced and Gov. Greg Gianforte had signed 38 bills into law.

This week we’re breaking down what made it across the transmittal deadline, what failed and where the session is going next.

School hallway.
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Gov. Greg Gianforte Friday signed a bill into law that will create an incentive program for public school districts to pay their early-career teachers a higher wage.

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