MTPR

Jon Tester

CORRECTION: The orginal draft of this story said this bill would remove wilderness study designation to some public lands. The bill does not address wilderness study areas. 

For the third time in three years, Sen. Jon Tester held a rally for a bill he’s sponsoring to expand federally designated wilderness in northwest Montana, and allow some snowmobile and mountain bike use on public lands in the area.

About two hundred people packed the Kettlehouse Brewing taproom in Bonner over the noon hour to hear Tester speak at an event hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association. They’re all hoping this is the year the Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act passes.

Billings Clinic in Billings, MT.
Courtesy Billings Clinic

The federal government’s big, new effort to allow veterans to use their VA health benefits to pay for healthcare from private doctors, clinics and hospitals launched Thursday. But the last effort went so badly in Montana that many are worried that the private sector won’t want to participate. That doesn’t appear to be happening, but the whole deal is still very much in pencil here.

Backlash is broadening in Congress against a plan to close or transfer management of Forest Service Civilian Conservation Centers, including two in Montana. 

Senator Jon Tester.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

One day after Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines announced a reversal of the decision to close a Job Corps facility in Anaconda, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester introduced legislation that would stop closures of similar sites across the country.

In a speech on the Senate Floor Tuesday, Tester said, "It is my hope that this administration will open their eyes and see what’s really going on in this country." 

Kim Schaub, a graduate of the Anaconda Job Corps, welds at Anaconda's Intercontinental Truck Body.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Trump Administration last week announced it’s closing the Anaconda Job Corps, along with eight others across the country. MTPR's Nick Mott reports on what this means for the local community.

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