Montana Public Radio

Llew Jones

Rep. Sharon Greef, Governor Greg Gianforte, and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen are pictured at the HB 176 bill signing, April 19, 2021.
Gov. Gianforte's office

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed several bills into law this week, including policies to end same-day voting registration and change voter ID requirements; limit local public health powers; expand telehealth access; give businesses tax breaks for vocational training; allow insurance companies to consider gender when setting rates; address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous people; and update state laws after federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

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.

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

Montana lawmakers advanced a preliminary state budget last week that outlines $12 billion in spending over the next two years. It's expected to land on the House floor for debate in the coming days.

If nothing changes, the state will spend about $400 million more in the next biennium than it did over the last two years. That’s a 3.4% increase, according to the Legislative Fiscal Division. But the budget has only cleared one hurdle of many before it becomes law.

The Session Week 10: We’re Halfway There

Mar 8, 2021

As of mid-day Thursday 1,121 had been introduced and Gov. Greg Gianforte had signed 38 bills into law.

This week we’re breaking down what made it across the transmittal deadline, what failed and where the session is going next.

A bill aimed at raising starter teacher pay got its first hearing this week in the Montana Legislature. Montana is ranked lowest in the country for starting teacher wages.

The Session Week 4: Affordable Housing, Voting, Teacher Pay

Jan 25, 2021

As of midday Jan. 22, 375 bills have been introduced, one bill has become law. This week, we’re watching policy that could impact housing, voting, teacher pay.

Structural Balance: HJ 2 revenues are expected to dip below the Governor's proposed ongoing expenditures beginning in FY 2021.
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

The first state budget offered by Gov. Greg Gianforte includes tax cuts and a marginal increase in general fund spending.

Montana Republican Rep. Caleb Hinkle presents House Bill 158 during a House State Administration Committee meeting on Jan. 19, 2021.
Montana Public Affairs Network

On Wednesday a Montana legislative committee heard testimony on two bills spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposals involve federal relief spending and as well as regulations waived during the current state of emergency.

The way Montanans can participate in their state legislature has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. People have more virtual access, and in-person hearings in the Capitol look different than ever before.

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

As the 67th Montana Legislature gets underway, lawmakers are establishing the various ways they’ll conduct business amid the public health threat of the coronavirus. The COVID-19 protocols in each committee room may look different.

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