Montana Public Radio

Robert Farris-Olsen

A group of Republican lawmakers and protestors gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol for an anti-abortion rally on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers endorsed a bill Thursday that would change the state's Constitution to ban abortion in any circumstance. Although it is one of several anti-abortion bills making headway this session, this proposal will need to find bipartisan support in the Senate to continue moving forward.

The Montana House Monday offered support to a bill that would limit government civil liability for COVID-19-related issues. Lawmakers also voted down two bills that would’ve impacted public unions.

Voters in Clinton, Montana, cast ballots during the 2016 elections.
Rebekah Welch / UM School of Journalism

Montana lawmakers voted down a bill Tuesday that would have made judicial elections partisan. It was just one of several policy changes aimed at changing how judges get to the bench that legislators are considering this session.

Montana Republicans are adding another bill to the slew they’re bringing this legislative session to restrict access to abortion in the state.

House Bill 229 would bar plans offered through the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange from covering abortion, except in the event of a medical emergency. It was heard and endorsed by the House Judiciary Committee Friday on a party-line vote. 

It’s been clear that the 2021 legislative session at the Montana Capitol will look different amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn’t clear how different until Wednesday. Republican state lawmakers are planning an in-person session, rejecting mask requirements and allowing lawmakers the option to tune in remotely.

Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, chair of the House Rules Committee, listens as representatives debate over an amendment to “blast” motion rules on Jan. 8, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

Republican lawmakers in the Montana House backtracked Wednesday on a proposal to give committee chairs more power during the 2021 legislative session. The rule could influence which bills get a public hearing.

Lawmakers talk after the Montana Legislature rules committee adjourned, December 08, 2020.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers clashed this week over how best to conduct the 2021 legislative session. One change going into effect could determine what bills get a hearing in the House. 

The House Rules Committee adopted a new rule to let committee heads, who are all Republican, dictate if a proposed bill gets a hearing.