Montana Public Radio

Jonathan Windy Boy

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Montana Democrats say they're taking a first-of-its kind approach to include more Native Americans in party decisions.

The Session Week 12: Budget In The House, Windfall Of Federal Cash, Rules For Marijuana

Mar 22, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,183 bills have been introduced and 60 have been signed into law. This week we’re watching the state budget, recreational marijuana and bills that would carry impacts for LGBTQ people.

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy testifies on House Bill 200, which would ban "sanctuary cities" in Montana, Feb. 02, 2021.
MPAN

Talk about race or racism isn’t allowed as Montana lawmakers debate a bill that would ban so-called "sanctuary cities." That ruling came for a second time in the statehouse Tuesday as the House advanced the policy.

Following the election, ten Native Americans have won their races and will be serving in Montana’s legislature. This is fewer Indigenous representatives than last session.

Montana remains one of the few states whose legislature has racial parity, meaning the makeup of the legislature is proportional to the racial makeup of the state. Next year, members of the Montana American Indian Caucus will account for nearly seven percent of the state legislature, which, according to the 2010 Census, is almost exactly the same percentage of Native Americans living in Montana.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state health department faces permanent job cuts; A sales tax proposal reappears at the Capitol; Sexual harassment allegations among lawmakers lead to a new anti-harassment policy; And with time running short, Gov. Bullock remains coy about his 2020 election plans.

Jonathan Windy Boy
Courtesy Montana Legislature

UPDATE: In an earlier version of this story, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former House Speaker Austin Knudsen and Senate President Scott Sales both confirmed the identity of the lawmaker. Sales said he knew who was the subject of the complaint, but did not publicly identify him as Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy. 

A Montana lawmaker says his constitutional rights have been violated after he was identified as the subject of a harassment complaint by a female legislator.

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D), HD-32.
Mike Albans

A Montana legislator sent a female colleague harassing text messages in 2017 leading to his resignation as chairman of the state Tribal Relations Committee.

This information came to light today in an investigation reported by the Associated Press.

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D), HD-32.
Mike Albans

  

Montanans elected nine Native Americans to the state Legislature Tuesday. That’s the same as last session in 2017.

Contentious Budget Bill One Vote From Passage At Montana Legislature

Apr 20, 2017
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) - Hamilton.
Mike Albans

The state’s main budget bill is one vote away from going to the governor’s desk. Majorities in both the House and Senate have now agreed on it and some of its companion spending bills.

For the first time in recent memory, the state's main budget bill won't go to a joint House-Senate conference committee to hammer out any more deals. 

Efforts To Prevent Suicide Advance In Legislature

Mar 7, 2017
Young people who’ve experienced homelessness in Montana feel like they often fall through the cracks of programs designed to help kids fleeing abusive homes or needing a place to stay. Stock photo.
(PD)

A package of bills aimed at addressing youth suicide in Montana is working its way through the legislature. One of those bills, House Bill 381, would allow school districts to create policies and procedures for suicide prevention and response specific to their communities.

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