Montana Public Radio

Jennifer Fielder

Favorites in the top races won their primaries but the general election may not be as predictable. President Trump plans to campaign in Montana for his favorite Steve. And hard-line conservatives celebrate legislative primary victories.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Montana primary voters held onto an incumbent and advanced new candidates in races for the board that regulates electric utilities in the state.

The closest race for the Montana Public Service Commission was for District 2 in southeast Montana, where incumbent Republican Tony O’Donnell of Billings fought for a second term against former PSC commissioner Kirk Bushman and State Rep. Daniel Zolnikov.


Primary races are crowded for the Republican-dominated Montana Public Service Commission, which sets customer rates and approves new power, water and legacy telecommunications projects by regulated utilities in the state.

'Hanna's Act' Missing Persons Bill Clears The State Senate

Apr 16, 2019
Montana State Sen. Diane Sands (D) - Missoula
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

HELENA—After a turbulent journey through the Montana Legislature, the bill named after Hannah Harris, who was found murdered on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 2013, passed the Senate 37-13 Tuesday.

A bill to establish a missing persons specialist in Montana is advancing to the Senate after a week in limbo.

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.

A piece of legislation intended to aid the investigation of missing indigenous people stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday, but supporters aren’t giving up just yet.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

Funding For Missing Persons Bill Remains In Limbo

Mar 12, 2019
A sign from a Jan. 9, 2019 missing and murdered Indigenous women vigil in Missoula.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers are no closer to agreeing on who should fund a missing persons bill after a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill-21, or “Hanna’s Act” is named for a Northern Cheyenne woman who was murdered in 2013. The bill would create a position in the Montana Department of Justice to investigate every missing persons case across the state, in an attempt to bridge gaps in communication and jurisdiction between state, tribal and federal agencies.

A fisherman in the Bitterroot River near Painted Rocks State Park.
Josh Burnham

An optional fee increase on vehicle registrations that would help reduce a multi-million dollar maintenance backlog at state parks passed an initial vote in the Montana Senate today.

The fees Montanans pay when registering vehicles would increase from $6 to $9 under Senate Bill 24, although people could decline to pay the fee.

Pages