Montana Public Radio

LGBTQ

Adrian Jawort, a Northern Cheyenne writer and lobbyist for Montana Indigenous Vote, speaks to a crowd outside the Capitol during a "Rainbow Rally" on March 15, 2021 to protest bills moving through the Legislature that target LGTBQ Montanans
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers are carrying a handful of bills that would impact transgender people, adding to the record number of proposals seen across the country this year to restrict trans kids from playing in school sports and accessing gender-affirming health care. Several of those policies are nearing Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.

The "beast bill" heads to the Senate. The attorney general sues over restrictions on the use of federal COVID relief money. Montana could lose millions in federal education money because of a bill banning transgender students from participating in women's sports. A bill to make it easier for Native Americans to vote is killed. And a progressive blogger ends his long run as an influential gadfly.

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

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. 

Capitol Talk: COVID Windfall, 'Religious Freedom' And Fossil Fuels

Mar 12, 2021

Montana Republican leaders think the COVID relief signed into law this week is a mistake. The Legislature now has to figure out how to spend the COVID windfall. Montana's attorney general joins a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. It looks like Gov. Gianforte will sign a "religious freedom" bill if it reaches his desk. And Sen. Daines says the Interior Secretary nominee will harm Montana's "way of life" if she's confirmed.

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

On Thursday, Montana's Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte put his support behind a bill supporters say would protect religious freedom. Opponents say it would allow for discrimination of LGBTQ Montanans.

Capitol Talk: Antifa; 'Religious Freedom', And Limits On Local Control

Feb 19, 2021

Bills heard this week at the Capitol seek to: limit the ability of local governments and health departments to require restrictions during a public health emergency; limit services to LGBTQ people in the name of religious freedom; make Montana a right-to-work state; declare antifa a domestic terrorist organization — even though there isn't such an organization.

And after years of criticizing dark money groups, former Gov. Steve Bullock raises eyebrows by taking a position with a PAC tied to dark money.

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

Capitol Talk: Abortion, Transgender Rights And Open Meeting Laws

Jan 22, 2021

This week on Capitol Talk, restrictions on abortion and trans rights dominate the House Judiciary Committee while that same committee's Republicans bar reporters from a meeting. All that as old fissures reappear in the Republican caucus.

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

Shared State Episode 03: Grateful To God

Sep 15, 2020

Delegates included a nod to religion when they wrote Montana’s constitutional preamble. Decades later, ideas about God, faith and morality continue to influence how lawmakers approach policy issues. Specifically: access to abortion and civil rights for LGBTQ people.


Organizers in Bozeman are calling for more support for Black students at Montana’s largest university and for businesses to commit to anti-racist policies. One organization is gearing up to offer workshops on understanding race.

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