Montana Public Radio

Marissa Perry

Megan Myscofski

It’s been a rough year for Montana’s small businesses and more help could be on the way, packaged in Congress’ latest COVID-19 relief bill that's headed to President Donald Trump's desk. But that relief will look different in this round of aid and some programs that helped businesses stay afloat might not continue into the new year.

Sign on a business door that says 'Attention: for the safety of our patrons and employees, masks are required for entry. Thank you for helpping slow the spread of COVID-19.'
iStock

The vast majority of Montana counties aren’t taking Gov. Steve Bullock up on his offer to help pay for the enforcement of public health guidelines aimed at slowing a surge in COVID-19 cases. It's been two weeks since the governor offered extra support in federal CARES Act funds to pay for counties' enforcement work.*

Elsie Arntzen is Montana's superintendent of public instruction.
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The ongoing dispute between Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and the state’s schools chief deepened Thursday when Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen blasted Bullock for announcing a school mask requirement without consulting her.

Arntzen is a Republican running for reelection in November, while Bullock, a Democrat, is running for U.S. Senate.

Records: Montana Governor Feared Backlash Over Mask Mandate

Jul 17, 2020

Gov. Steve Bullock's statewide mask mandate came after hundreds of Montana residents, business owners and health care leaders demanded the move as virus cases mounted in the state, records obtained by The Associated Press reveal.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess / Montana Public Radio

The Montana GOP has lodged an ethics complaint against Gov. Steve Bullock alleging he used state resources during his run for president last year. The Montana Republican Party alleges Bullock used a Twitter and Facebook account for both official and campaign purposes in violation of state law. 

Gov. Steve Bullock annonces his Coronavirus Task Force on March 3, 2020 in response to the growing number of cases reported in the United States. Bullock says the task force is a multi-agency group that will coordinate public health response.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock has created a state task force to prepare for the possible spread of the novel coronavirus in Montana. Montana's efforts now include testing for the coronavirus at the state health department.

Currently, no cases of the COVID-19 illness are reported in Montana.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, August 16, 2018.
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock’s presidential campaign has agreed to pay for the travel, lodging and meals of the Montana Highway Patrol security detail accompanying him on out-of-state campaign travel.

Bullock’s official staff signed-off on an agreement earlier this month to pay for the expenses after Attorney General Tim Fox ordered a stop to the security. As of publication time the exact cost of the security detail has not been made public. 

Montana legislation seeking to change the definition of “wild bison” is in limbo as the governor and secretary of state disagree over whether the bill has become law.

Montana Mandates 'Net Neutrality' For State Contracts

Jan 23, 2018
Network cables.
(PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana on Monday became the first state to bar telecommunications companies from receiving state contracts if they interfere with internet traffic or favor higher-paying sites or apps, under an order from Gov. Steve Bullock intended to protect so-called net neutrality.