Montana Public Radio

Mark Blasdel

216 Bills Advance At Legislature's Halfway Point

13 hours ago
Rep. Ed Hill, R-Havre, listens as members of the Montana House of Representatives debate House Bill 427 during a floor debate on Feb. 24, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA — After a 15-hour session, the Montana Senate finished its business for the first half of the 67th legislative session just before midnight on Monday, advancing a total of 115 bills. The slate ranged from legislation aimed at strengthening religious freedoms to a bill abolishing daylight saving time. 

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

Montana lawmakers are giving shorter notice for some public hearings as their work picks up speed and a deadline approaches for bills to pass through the chambers. The deadline is leading to marathon policy meetings.

Demonstrators gather outside the Montana Capitol January 6, 2021 in support of President Trump's debunked claims of fraud in the presidential election.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana state political leaders issued statements condemning pro-Donald Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

The Montana Nurses Association implored state lawmakers in a letter to heed public health guidance as they plan for the 2021 legislative session. It’s unclear how or if lawmakers will change their traditional gatherings amid the pandemic. 

Montana House of Representatives.
Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers elected leaders Wednesday to shape legislative priorities during the 2021 session. Individual caucus meetings showed a stark contrast in how Republicans and Democrats will approach governing during the coronavirus pandemic.

MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar and YPR's Kevin Trevellyan covered the gatherings from the Capitol. They discuss their reporting.

David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

A group of 27 state Republican legislators are asking federal lawmakers to hold a hearing on the federal Montana Water Rights Protection Act in Kalispell. The group includes prominent opponents to the legislation.

If passed, the bill would be the largest water-rights settlement agreement in history between the U.S. Government and a federally recognized tribe. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act would settle a decades-long dispute over thousands of water-rights claims filed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Two Education Bills On Wednesday's Legislative Agenda

Jan 20, 2015
Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Wednesday at the Capitol, Montana legislators hear two “sister bills" on education.

As a proposed water compact involving the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes moves closer to consideration in the Montana Legislature, we’re talking to people on all sides of the proposal.

Today we’ll hear from Mark Blasdel of Kalispell, who is leaving his post as Speaker of the House to take a seat in the state Senate. Blasdel opposed the compact that died in the last legislature, and he says he’ll oppose the latest version as well.

Bullock vetoes draw GOP criticism

May 8, 2013

Governor Steve Bullock has finished working through bills from the 2013 Legislative Session. Bullock signed 393 bills this session.

But Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says he vetoed 71.  

 

In addition, check out this report from Matt Gouras of the Associated Press:

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A legislative session that began with promises of compromise ended with a whole bunch of vetoes from Gov. Steve Bullock on Tuesday — and plenty of criticism from Republicans who argued the governor was undermining bipartisan efforts.