Montana Public Radio

Jim Keane

On the heels of voting down other labor-related bills, Montana lawmakers decisively rejected a so-called right-to-work bill for private unions today.

Montana's congressman votes as expected against impeachment, and Montana's two senators are having a very public spat. Gov. Gianforte has a rocky rollout of new orders lifting some pandemic restrictions. Attorney General Knudsen gets into a legal fight with a county attorney over local COVID-19 regulations. And university administrators keep a wary eye on a bill headed to the State Senate that would allow guns on campus.

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

Rep. Jim Keane, D - HD73
Montana Legislature

Two high-profile bills outlining a path for Montana to borrow tens of millions of dollars to update infrastructure across the state got their first hearings today in the Senate.

Legislation allowing the state to issue general obligation bonds to pay for large-scale public works projects in Montana has routinely failed in recent years.

The latest campaign finance reports show that a lot of the $3 million that’s flowed into the race for Montana’s I-186 ballot measure so far has come from organizations and individuals with out of state and international ties. 

Secretary of the Veterans Administration David Shulkin at an event in Helena, MT August 21, 2017.
Eric Whitney

The Secretary of the Veterans Administration visited Montana today, and made an announcement that many veterans will welcome.

At an event in Helena, Senator Jon Tester let the news slip before Secretary David Shulkin had a chance to.

"The VA Secretary is going to announce at some point in time today — I don't want to take away any of your thunder – some rules that he is going to modify to allow rest homes to be built in rural areas. The Butte boys that are here ..."

The Montana Capitol
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana senators have started the clock on the final day of the legislative session, forcing a 24-hour limit on the political chess match over funding long-term construction projects in the state like water treatment plants, a state veterans home, and schools.

"We’re going to turn the hourglass over and say you got one more day. Let’s get it done,” said Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso.

Legislature Passes Bill To Fund Capital Projects, Veterans’ Home

Apr 21, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

HELENA -- The House gave final approval Friday to amendments on a bill that would appropriate roughly $157 million for capital projects with state special revenue funds, grants and donations.

The Senate passed House Bill 5 last week, but amended it to allow authority money to fund three more projects, including a veterans’ home in Butte. Authority money is grants and donations the Legislature needs to approve for spending.

The bill will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Coal with the town of Colstrip in the background
Amy Martin

An attempt to resurrect legislation written to aid the city of Colstrip when parts of the coal-fired power plant there shut down, failed a long-shot vote Tuesday afternoon.

Democratic Representative Jim Keane pressed lawmakers to blast Senate Bill 338 onto the House Floor for debate after it failed to pass out of a committee last week on a tie vote.

'Cash Bill' Would Fund Veterans’ Home And University Renovations

Apr 13, 2017
(PD)

The Senate gave final approval today to a bill that would fund capital projects, like university system renovations and a veterans’ home in Butte, with money from state special revenue funds, grants and donations. 

Butte Democrat Works To Steer Infrastructure Bills Through The Legislature

Apr 6, 2017
Rep. Jim Keane, D - HD73
Montana Legislature

Representative Jim Keane often refers to his infrastructure bills as "vehicles." The Butte Democrat continues to steer those bills through the process. This time to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

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