Montana Public Radio

Kim Abbott

The Capitol dome in Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers continue their investigation into allegations of bias among members of the judicial branch. After a series of rapid developments, there’s a break in the action and it’s not clear what comes next. MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar shares her reporting with Freddy Monares.

The 2021 meeting of Montana lawmakers was defined by Republicans' ironclad majority in both chambers with the backing of the first GOP governor in 16 years and work that began during a pandemic. MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar and YPR’s Kevin Trevellyan have been in the halls and zoom meetings for the past 80 days. Here’s their breakdown of the final day of action.

Shaylee Ragar Kevin, the Republican caucus held a press conference after the session had officially adjourned, and they were in high spirits.

Montana Capitol bulding in Helena, MT.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

The 2021 meeting of Montana lawmakers was defined by Republicans' ironclad majority in both chambers with the backing of the first GOP governor in 16 years and work that began during a pandemic. MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar and YPR’s Kevin Trevellyan have been in the halls and zoom meetings for the past 80 days. Here’s their breakdown of the final day of action.

Sen. Greg Hertz (R) - SD6 chaired the Select Committee On Judicial Transparency and Accountability session Monday April 19, 2021.
Montana Public Affairs Network

Montana lawmakers plan to continue their investigation into alleged bias in the state’s judicial branch after the 2021 legislative session ends.

Missoula County’s elections office and a local GOP-backed citizens group remain locked in a dispute regarding an alleged discrepancy in the number of ballots cast there during the 2020 election. The claims haven’t been substantiated in court, yet the allegations are being used in an argument to justify the need for enhanced election security in the state.

Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman shows off an early step to process absentee ballot envelopes in Missoula County’s elections center, before walking through the office’s subsequent procedures to verify a resident’s vote.

The Montana Capitol
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Supreme Court has blocked several subpoenas filed by legislative Republicans ordering the justices to produce internal communications about pending legislation by Monday.

The Supreme Court Friday also blocked a subpoena that would have required Court Administrator Beth McLaughlin to appear Monday before a special legislative committee investigating judicial conduct, and to turn over her state computer. 

Capitol Talk: Budget Puzzle, Lawsuits And The Limits Of Public Input

Mar 19, 2021

The many moving parts of the state budget have pushed lawmakers to extend the session — but Montana's Legislature isn't the state's only busy branch.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has filed yet another lawsuit against the Biden Administration. At the same time, prominent Montanans are suing Gov. Greg Gianforte over his effort to directly appoint judges.

And, as a racist social media post by a Republican lawmaker resurfaces, Montanans are learning that overwhelming public opposition to legislation does not guarantee a bill's defeat.

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

Demonstrators gathered for a "Rainbow Rally" at the Montana State Capitol Monday, March 15, 2021 to protest bills moving through the state Legislature that would impact the LGBTQ community.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Capitol steps were submerged under a sea of rainbow colors Monday as a group rallied in protest of bills moving through the Legislature that would impact LGBTQ residents.

"We want them to know we’re here, we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere," Shawn Reagor, an organizer with the Montana Human Rights Network, told a crowd outside the state Capitol Monday afternoon. 

Health care worker holding a clipboard.
iStock

The Montana House of Representatives advanced a bill Wednesday that outlines how patients could pay for medical care directly without health insurance.

Marijuana in jars on a shop shelf.
iStock

After a short break last week, Montana's lawmakers are back at the state Capitol. The 67th Legislative Session is now more than halfway to its 90-day deadline and details of the state budget and recreational marijuana regulations still need to be hammered out.

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