MTPR

National Conference of State Legislatures

Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

County election officials are backing a proposal to allow online voter registration in Montana ahead of the 2020 election. However Secretary of State Corey Stapleton is standing against the idea.

Montana Capitol building.
William Marcus / MTPR

Montana may join 15 other states in making it more difficult to pass new or increased taxes.

A simple majority of the state Legislature can currently approve new taxes or fees. But House Bill 148 introduced Tuesday would raise that threshold to a two-thirds supermajority.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

Montana lawmakers are drafting new rules about how to handle harassment and discrimination in the legislative branch. 2018 has brought an unprecedented amount of legislation around the country on the subject of sexual harassment policies for legislative members. That’s according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Voters in Clinton, MT cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch

A Republican representative from Kalispell says voters should be required to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Representative Derek Skees introduced his proposal to change Montana’s law during a House Committee meeting today, while opponents argued the bill would make it harder for some people to vote.

Governor Bullock, with Budget Director Dan Villa. Governor Bullock released his revenue and spending plan Nov. 15 at the Capitol in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney

A new tax on medical marijuana proposed by Governor Steve Bullock would add an estimated million plus dollars a year to government bank accounts. That’s almost 3 times more than the governor’s office says will eventually be needed to support the state’s medical marijuana reform.

In late April, as the Montana Legislature was getting ready to adjourn, the state Senate confirmed Jonathan Motl as Commissioner of Political Practices, a job he’s held since being appointed by Democratic Governor Steve Bullock in 2013. Montana has had four different Political Practices Commissioners since 2011, and Motl is the first in that time to win Senate confirmation, against harsh criticism from some Republicans.

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

State lawmakers are being asked to increase the amount of power that customers can sell to their electric utility from their own solar or wind generators

It’s called net metering, and it’s a boon for alternative energy installers, or a threat to local power companies, depending on whom you ask.

In Montana, electric customers with their own solar panels or wind turbines can sell up to fifty kilowatts back to their power company. Brad van Wert runs an alternative-energy business in Gallatin, and supports raising that cap.