Montana Public Radio

politics

As Montana continues to lag behind the national census response rate, members of hard to reach rural communities are counting themselves in grocery stores, libraries and bars. The once-a-decade count decides millions of dollars in federal funding and could boost Montana’s representation in Congress.

Thirsty customers start meandering into 2 Bassett Brewing in White Sulphur Springs on a recent weekday evening.

President Donald Trump.
(PD)

A Montana man was fined for taking flags in support of President Donald Trump from the porch of a Three Forks home and burning them.

Opposition to Obamacare Becomes Political Liability for GOP Incumbents

Sep 1, 2020

In the 2014 elections, Republicans rode a wave of anti Affordable Care Act (ACA) sentiment to pick up nine Senate seats, the largest gain for either party since 1980. Newly elected Republicans such as Cory Gardner in Colorado and Steve Daines in Montana had hammered their Democratic opponents over the health care law during the campaign and promised to repeal it.

Six years later, those senators are up for reelection. Not only is the law still around, but it’s gaining in popularity. What was once a winning strategy has become a political liability.

A 2020 Montana primary absentee ballot
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

The U.S. Postal Service says it lost $2.2 billion in the three months that ended in June as the beleaguered agency — hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic — piles up financial losses that officials warn could top $20 billion over two years.

But the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, disputed reports that his agency is slowing down election mail, or any other mail, and said it has “ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on time” for the November presidential contest, when a significant increase in mail-in ballots is expected.

State officials are worried a new sped up federal deadline could jeopardize Montana’s chances of getting an accurate census total. The once a decade count has large implications for the Treasure State.

In April, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it would push the counting deadline back a month to Oct. 31 because the coronavirus pandemic had halted field operations across the U.S.

Monday, the bureau said counting will end Sept. 30 after all.

The weeping wall on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS (PD)

President Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday that will devote nearly $3 billion a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands following its overwhelming approval by both parties in Congress.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaking at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, August 16, 2018.
Clay Masters / Iowa Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock's campaign said Monday that it raised $7.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The Democrat's bid against Republican incumbent Sen. Steve Daines has emerged as a critical race in the fight for control of the U.S. Senate.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact narrowly passed the state Legislature in 2015 after more than a decade of negotiation. It settles water rights in and around the Flathead Reservation.
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.

Solenex well site is the last remaining oil lease in Badger-Two-Medicine.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Blackfeet Nation released draft legislation Thursday that would permanently protect the Badger-Two Medicine region bordering Glacier National Park from industrial resource development. Montana’s congressional delegation says they are reviewing the draft language of the proposed bill.