Montana Public Radio

Mike Cuffe

Capitol Talk: Beasts, Budgets And Voting Rights

Mar 26, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte makes headlines after trapping a Yellowstone wolf — while bills targeting wolves head toward passage. Republican lawmakers want to eliminate same-day voter registration. And the so-called "beast bill" — directing how billions in federal COVID relief money will be spent — crawls forward.

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

Voters line up in the morning to register to vote and cast their ballots outside the MetraPark pavilion in Billings on Election Day. November 03, 2020.
Jess Sheldahl / Yellowstone Public Radio

Republicans in the Montana Senate have endorsed a bill that would end same-day voter registration in the state, pushing the bill closer to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana environmental regulators took the first step last week to tighten pollution rules for toxins flowing into Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River. The new rules are aimed at stemming pollution coming from British Columbia coal mines.

An aquatic invasive species inspection station in Montana.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

A coalition of state, federal, tribal and private organizations dedicated to protecting the Columbia River Watershed from aquatic invasive species (AIS) met in Polson Wednesday. They said building connections between local groups and water managers will be crucial to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana.

A line of Montana legislators at the U.S. State Department-hosted town hall meeting in Kalispell on March 20, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

More than 200 people Wednesday night came to a U.S. State Department-hosted town hall meeting in Kalispell meant to inform federal negotiations that could shape the future of an international watershed roughly the size of Texas.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

Sen. Mike Cuffe (R) - Eureka
Montana Legislature

As negotiators from the United States and Canada consider tweaks to a longstanding treaty about the Columbia River system, Montana legislators are pushing for local water security and compensation.

The Columbia River Treaty outlines shared management of flood risk and hydropower generation along a river system that crisscrosses the international border. The United States, Canada and tribal nations are in the process of modernizing that agreement.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to hand off long-term management of the Libby Superfund site to the state in 2020. A state advisory team is getting ready to budget for unforeseen cleanup and monitor the site.

State Rep. Steve Gunderson says the Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team’s goal is to ensure the EPA’s remediation plan lasts into the future, and that homeowners won’t have to pay for any future cleanup.

Boat propeller encrusted with invasive mussels.
National Parks Service (PD)

A new group that aims to harmonize Montana’s response to invasive mussels, and prevent the economic and environmental damage they can cause, met for the first time Wednesday in Missoula.

Legislature Passes Bill To Fund Capital Projects, Veterans’ Home

Apr 21, 2017
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

HELENA -- The House gave final approval Friday to amendments on a bill that would appropriate roughly $157 million for capital projects with state special revenue funds, grants and donations.

The Senate passed House Bill 5 last week, but amended it to allow authority money to fund three more projects, including a veterans’ home in Butte. Authority money is grants and donations the Legislature needs to approve for spending.

The bill will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock.

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