Montana Public Radio

Steve Bullock

Firefighting Costs Montana $10 Million

Sep 21, 2020

This year 1,876 fires have burned more than 406 square miles in Montana.

The price tag to date on Montana’s share of this year’s fighting costs is $10 million, according to information Bullock shared at a news conference Wednesday.

He said while 50 some homes and some people’s means of livelihoods burned, Montanans have been fortunate that no lives have been lost to the burns at home.

"It’s still significant for the communities that have been impacted, that homes have been lost," Bullock said.

The candidates in Montana’s hotly contested Senate race are divided over how to handle the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a written statement, Republican Sen. Steve Daines said the Senate should move forward with confirming President Donald Trump’s nominee, expected to be announced at week’s end.

Schools and universities with current and past COVID-19 Activity, 2020 - 2021 school year. N=58.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State health officials Wednesday published information about COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in individual public grade schools and universities. The report shows that 68 of the state’s roughly 147,000 public school students have tested positive for COVID-19, along with another 96 cases in Montana's colleges and universities.

  • Republican Sen. Steve Daines, whose state depends heavily on fossil fuel revenues, says Montana needs to balance environmental protection with an energy economy.
  • A task force is expected to unveil a report soon to Gov. Steve Bullock, Montana’s Democratic Senate candidate, on proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Both candidates portray themselves as Montana’s best hope for preserving the state’s outdoor culture in this closely watched, high stakes Senate race.

Montana Gov.

Campaign Beat: QAnon, Carbon Tax And Cooney On Drums

Sep 11, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence and top Montana Republican candidates plan to attend a fundraiser hosted by supporters of QAnon, which the FBI calls a domestic terrorism threat. Gov. Bullock flip-flops on support of a carbon tax. A new ad accuses Sen. Daines of cozying up to Texas billionaires who own a big chunk of Montana. A new poll shows the Senate race a virtual tie. Trump's remarks about dead soldiers draw party line reaction. And Mike Cooney marches to the beat of his own drum.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Gwen Florio, filling in for Holly Michels.

Relief For Montana Meat Packers, Nonprofits Expanded

Sep 11, 2020

Montana’s governor Thursday said he will direct more coronavirus aid to nonprofits and meat packing businesses in the state.

Governor Steve Bullock’s office announced it would add more than $32 million in coronavirus relief funds to the Social Services Nonprofit Grant Program and Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant Program.

While the state has redistributed some of its grant money from other programs because of lack of demand, Bullock said this week that applications from meat processors flowed in.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.
iStock

Some public school districts and public health officials in Montana say medical privacy laws are preventing them from working together when a positive COVID-19 case is found in a school. On Thursday, Gov. Steve Bullock’s office released new guidance on the issue.

Montana absentee ballot for the 2017 special congressional election.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

As of Friday, 45 of Montana’s 56 counties have filed plans to hold all-mail elections this November after Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive in August allowing counties to do so. However, some people are pushing back against the measure and Republican officials have filed a lawsuit trying to stop it.

Campaign Beat: Hanoi Who? Montana Ad Checklist

Sep 4, 2020

Republicans try to impede Montanans voting by mail. A new ad resurrects "Hanoi Jane." Sen. Daines says a proposed climate action plan would hurt Montana's economy. A democratic protest rings hollow. And a new campaign ad checks all the Montana boxes.

Listen now on Campaign Beat with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Gwen Florio.

Montana unemployment rate by county on September 3, 2020.
Montana Department of Labor and Industry

Applications for unemployment assistance increased in Montana for the third consecutive week, even as national numbers are falling, the U.S. Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

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