John MacDonald

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lobbyists were involved in drafting or revising opinion columns about health care written by state lawmakers in Montana and Ohio, officials said.

Lobbyists were involved in producing the final versions of articles warning of the dangers of Medicare-for-all and other government involvement in health care, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Montana Legislators Hear Bills To Expand Concealed Carry Rights

Feb 11, 2015

Today, Montana legislators heard bills to expand gun rights. House Bill 371, would allow permit holders to bring their concealed weapons into public places.

Republican Representative Kerry White says training needed to get a permit should allow people to carry a concealed weapon into most public places except bars.

News Roundup: Week Five At The Montana Legislature

Feb 8, 2015
Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Juneau calls for early education, tax cuts pass, lawmakers consider drones on public lands and Fox supports bill to combat human trafficking.

In her address to a joint session of the Montana Legislature last week, Superintendent Denise Juneau praised Montana’s schools and called for more investment in them.

“We have a lot to be proud of in this state,” she said.

Juneau listed accomplishments like the highest graduation rates in the state’s history and growth in organizations like the Future Farmers of America.

Montana Sportsmen Push Bill To Ban Aerial Drones

Feb 4, 2015
Sunday, aerial firefighters working on the Rice Ridge Fire were forced to ground their planes after a drone was spotted flying over the fire. This is the third time this summer that drones have interfered with firefighting on the Lolo National Forest.

The security detail at the White House aren’t the only people worrying about encounters with small aerial drones. Some of Montana’s sportsmen want limits placed on the popular flying machines.

Todd Eames from Billings says he and his brothers were fishing when he realized that someone, possibly from a nearby ranch, was watching him.

Protection For Whistleblowers, Reporters On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Jan 21, 2015
Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Republican Representative Daniel Zolnikov is out to protect whistleblowers and the reporters they talk to. Or at least, he’ll try with House Bill 229 at the state Capitol on Thursday.

Zolnikov says the bill would prohibit police from issuing a subpoena to get emails or reporter's notebooks revealing confidential sources.

“They can’t force the press to share who gave you that email, but they can go get the emails. Your emails. The press’s emails. That’s a big loophole.”