Montana Public Radio

I-185

Governor Steve Bullock speaks at a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula, September 19, 2018.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Governor Steve Bullock told county government leaders Wednesday that a ballot initiative to increase Montana’s tobacco tax is the right thing to do for basic health-related reasons.

On Wednesday, Bullock warned a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula of dire consequences if voters don’t approve Initiative-185.

Big Tobacco Violated Campaign Laws, Commissioner Finds

Sep 10, 2018

HELENA — Two Big Tobacco companies violated Montana’s campaign practices and disclosure laws as part of a campaign opposing a tobacco tax ballot initiative.

That’s according a 14-page decision issued by the state’s top campaign practices official.


The latest fundraising reports show that opponents of the ballot initiative proposing increasing Montana’s tobacco tax boosted contributions by $7.7 million in August. That’s nearly eight times what the campaign supporting the ballot issue raised in the same period.

Groups in support of I-185 held a press conference across from the Capitol in Helena Wednesday, August 22, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

A fight backed by hospitals and tobacco companies over an initiative that will appear on Montana ballots this November has amassed more than $2 million. 

Ballot Initiative 185 asks voters to raise taxes on all tobacco products, and for the first time tax e-cigarettes and vaping products, to fund health programs, including the state’s Medicaid expansion.

A unanimous Montana Supreme Court has rejected a tobacco industry-funded group's request to rewrite the ballot statement of a citizen's initiative to raise the state's tobacco taxes.

The opinion by Chief Justice Mike McGrath Wednesday says the statement written by the attorney general's office meets legal standards and will appear as is before voters in November.

PD.

The committee that oversees Montana’s Medicaid expansion is expected to recommend that it continue beyond its 2019 sunset date.

A draft document released Friday suggests expansion has helped nine percent more adults who are eligible for Medicaid join the workforce in Montana. It also says six percent more of Medicaid eligible adults with disabilities are joining the workforce.

Montana lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid here in 2015 in part because the bill doing so included incentives to help those receiving the health coverage to get jobs, or better paying jobs.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican lawmakers failed to get enough support to call a special session to consider referenda to counter two proposed ballot initiatives.

Montana Senate President Scott Sales, left, and House Speaker Austin Knudsen, both Republicans, are on opposite sides of the call for a special session
Corin Cates-Carney


Montana lawmakers have a little less than two weeks to decide whether to come back to Helena for a special legislative session, potentially the second in eight months.

“It’s going to be a very heavy lift to get the 76 votes,” Senate President Scott Sales said.

Montana capitol, Helena.
Jackie Yamanaka

Ballots for Montana state lawmakers to vote on convening a special legislative session were dropped in the mail today, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The proposal for a special session comes from Republican legislative leaders who want to pass referendums that could compete with citizen-initiated ballot issues seeking to re-authorize and fund Medicaid Expansion and change mining regulations.

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

State lawmakers will formally vote on a proposal for the Legislature to come back to Helena for a July 16 special session.

Secretary of State Corey Stapleton tweeted just before five Wednesday afternoon that his office will send out ballots to legislators as soon as possible.

The effort to convene a special session comes at the request of Republicans concerned about a pair of citizens initiatives that will likely appear on ballots this November.

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