MTPR

Montana Association of Counties

2019 Montana lobbying spending.
Cassidy Alexander, via Datawrapper / Montana Public Radio

At least $6.5 million dollars was spent on lobbying during the state’s 2019 legislative session. That’s according to the spending reports that groups trying to influence state lawmakers are legally required to file.

Montana Public Radio dug into the reports, which this year got harder for the public to make sense of.

Fisheries biologists checking for adult invasive mussels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

State legislators are considering giving counties greater powers for managing aquatic invasive species.

House Bill 402 would allow counties to adopt local ordinances aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, levy taxes for vertebrate and invertebrate pest management and allow counties within the Columbia River Basin to quarantine lakes.

Sen. Nate McConnell announces the Firefighters Protection Act. The bill would allow current or former firefighters to file for health coverage or wage protection if they’re  diagnosed with one of more than dozen diseases. Jan. 29, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Professional firefighters are again asking lawmakers to expand their workers' compensation benefits to cover chronic diseases they’re more likely to catch because of their jobs. However, the unknown price tag that could come with it is posing a hurdle.

First People's Buffalo Jump State Park.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Montana has more state parks than any other state in the Rocky Mountain region. Friday, the governor's Parks In Focus Commission released its recommendations for addressing the funding and maintenance challenges the state parks face.

Governor Steve Bullock speaks at a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula, September 19, 2018.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

Governor Steve Bullock told county government leaders Wednesday that a ballot initiative to increase Montana’s tobacco tax is the right thing to do for basic health-related reasons.

On Wednesday, Bullock warned a Montana Association of Counties meeting in Missoula of dire consequences if voters don’t approve Initiative-185.

Montana Senate President Scott Sales, left, and House Speaker Austin Knudsen, both Republicans, are on opposite sides of the call for a special session
Corin Cates-Carney


Montana lawmakers have a little less than two weeks to decide whether to come back to Helena for a special legislative session, potentially the second in eight months.

“It’s going to be a very heavy lift to get the 76 votes,” Senate President Scott Sales said.

A look into the West Pioneer Wilderness Study Area  from a plane above. West Pioneer is around 150,000 acres in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
Corin Cates-Carney

A new survey commissioned  by the University of Montana shows voters from every political leaning support national policy that protects and expands public land access in the state.

Candidates Barred From Targeting Public Workers' Emails

Feb 10, 2016
The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office.
Steve Jess / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana candidates for political office are barred from distributing unsolicited campaign material to public employees' email addresses, the state commissioner of political practices said Wednesday.

Bill Would Speed Up Spending For Oil & Gas Impacted Counties

Jan 22, 2015
Rep. Brad Hamlett, D-Cascade, wants to require prosecutors to provide indisputable biological proof that a person committed a capital crime before that person can be sentenced to death. File photo.
Montana Legislature

A legislator wants to get money to oil boom impacted counties faster. The money could be used to for infrastructure projects, schools, or public safety.

If enacted, the bill directs the department of commerce to compare the current amount of oil and natural gas production taxes collected against the average of those taxes collected over the past four years.

If the current amount exceeds that four year average, then 70% of the excess would be used for oil impacted projects.