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Montana Politics

Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester took over as chair of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Wednesday. Tester had been the committee's top-ranking Democrat since 2017, and took over as chairman from Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas.

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.

Senator Jon Tester.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester will take over as chair of the Senate’s Veterans' Affairs Committee Wednesday, according to a Tuesday announcement from his office.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Monday said directors nominated to lead 12 state agencies will receive an average salary increase of 20 percent over their predecessors. Funding for the pay increases will come from their respective departments.

“Montana’s pay for agency directors has been among the worst in our region and country," Gianforte said in a press release. "We’re looking for folks who can make our state agencies more responsive to the people they serve and more responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Montana’s lone U.S. House Representative Matt Rosendale attended President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration Wednesday, two weeks after objecting to two states’ election results in their favor on the basis of unidentified allegations of voter fraud. Rosendale spoke with Yellowstone Public Radio about the inauguration and who needs to be held accountable for the Jan. 6 seizure of the U.S. Capitol.

Former Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Martha Williams was appointed on Wednesday as second-in-command at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Biden Administration. William’s replacement within Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s cabinet was also named today.

Rep. Seth Berglee, R-Joliet, walks the Senate Judiciary Committee through H.B. 102 while Shani Henry from Moms Demand Action watches.
James Bradley / UM Legislative News Service

A bill allowing people across the state to conceal-carry weapons without a permit, including on college campuses, is now working its way through the Montana Senate after passing the House of Representatives on party lines last week.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the presidential oath of office at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2021. Once the oath was completed, Biden became the 46th President of the United States of America.
DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Charlotte Carulli

Montana’s entire congressional delegation attended President Joe Biden’s inaugural celebration in Washington D.C., and all of them issued statements about the new administration.

In Montana, a Presidential Inauguration Day that saw increased security at the state Capitol also saw few protests against, or celebrations for, the Biden-Harris Administration. Former President Donald Trump won Montana by 16 points in the 2020 election, while losing the national race.

Adam Meier, Montana's newly-appointed DPHHS director (Jan. 2021)
State of Montana Newsroom

Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced on Wednesday his pick for state health department director.

Gianforte tapped Adam Meier to lead the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which manages Child Protective Services, the state Medicaid program and various other programs for low-income Montanans.