MTPR

John Hickenlooper

Gov. Steve Bullock announces his candidacy for president in Helena, Mont., May 14, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that 20 candidates have qualified for the party's first presidential debates later this month.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts were the only major candidates out of the two dozen Democratic hopefuls who failed to meet the polling or grassroots fundraising measures required to get a debate spot. Two lesser-known candidates, former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam, also missed the cutoff.

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining and other activities across millions of acres in the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird species.

Land management documents released by the U.S. Interior Department show the administration intends to open more public lands to leasing and allow waivers for drilling to encroach into the habitat of greater sage grouse.

Gov. Bullock signs the Medicaid expansion plan into law, April 29, 2015 at the state Capitol. The bill's sponsor Sen. Ed Buttrey, and supporter Stephanie Wallace look on.
Steve Jess

Governor Steve Bullock has joined a bi-partisan group of six other governors asking Congress to overhaul the existing Affordable Care Act, rather than replacing it with one passed by the U.S. House.

Greater sage-grouse.
USFWS

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said today he is ordering a review of federal efforts to conserve the imperiled sage grouse. Zinke says he wants to ensure that officials in 11 Western states where the bird lives are fully consulted.