Montana Public Radio

Jill Cohenour

Lawmakers Grind Through Marijuana Implementation Amendments

Apr 16, 2021
Cannabis bud.
iStock

HELENA - Senators on a special committee will attempt to roll three bills into one to build Montana’s recreational marijuana program. 

Montana Republican legislative leaders have subpoenaed the Montana Supreme Court’s seven justices and court administrator, looking for evidence of alleged bias over bills that could be challenged in court. It is the latest development in a conflict brewing between the state’s legislative and judicial branches.

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.

216 Bills Advance At Legislature's Halfway Point

Mar 3, 2021
Rep. Ed Hill, R-Havre, listens as members of the Montana House of Representatives debate House Bill 427 during a floor debate on Feb. 24, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA — After a 15-hour session, the Montana Senate finished its business for the first half of the 67th legislative session just before midnight on Monday, advancing a total of 115 bills. The slate ranged from legislation aimed at strengthening religious freedoms to a bill abolishing daylight saving time. 

Montana's two senators are expected to split their votes on impeachment. The governor has lifted the state's mandatory mask mandate, and Attorney General Austin Knudsen joins the effort to reverse a Biden administration decision to halt the Keystone pipeline.

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

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Some Helena businesses are raising concerns about state legislators flouting public health guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lewis and Clark County health officer says she's received reports concerning lawmakers who are in town for the current legislative session.

As of mid-day Friday, 594 bills had been introduced and Gov. Greg Gianforte had signed one bill into law. This week, we’re watching bills that would cut taxes, implement “right to work” policies and end same-day voter registration in Montana.

The way Montanans can participate in their state legislature has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. People have more virtual access, and in-person hearings in the Capitol look different than ever before.

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

A panel of Montana state legislative leaders adopted new guidelines Friday for holding the session during the coronavirus pandemic. The move came one day after a state lawmaker announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

Demonstrators gather outside the Montana Capitol January 6, 2021 in support of President Trump's debunked claims of fraud in the presidential election.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana state political leaders issued statements condemning pro-Donald Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

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