Montana Public Radio

Tom Livers

Montana Governor Steve Bullock June 17 announced a new $125 million loan deferment program aimed at aiding businesses hurting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Montana’s health department distributed between $84 million and $163 million in Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program benefits to people ineligible for those programs, according to an audit presented to lawmakers June 16. State officials emphatically reject several of the audit’s key findings.

Gov. Steve Bullock annonces his Coronavirus Task Force on March 3, 2020 in response to the growing number of cases reported in the United States. Bullock says the task force is a multi-agency group that will coordinate public health response.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana is expanding state grant programs developed from federal COVID-19 relief money aimed at easing the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock today said the state’s finances are in a “historically strong position” heading further into the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials are still working with incomplete information about the pandemic’s economic impacts.

Legislative Auditor Angus Maciver answers lawmakers questions Jan. 13, 2020. The Legislative Audit Division and the Governor's Office are in an ongoing dispute over an unpublished report looking at Montana's  health department and Medicaid system.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s Legislative Auditor is pushing back against the Governor’s Office’s public criticism of an unpublished report on the state health department. The administration says the details are holding up $80 million in infrastructure projects.

Lawmakers were briefed on the brewing controversy during the kickoff of Legislative Week.

Montana State Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration says an $80 million infrastructure package is facing an “unacceptable” delay after passage during last year’s legislative session. The bipartisan spending deal on public works is hung up after an audit questioning state finances and Medicaid spending.

A helicopter drops water on the Bannack Fire, July 25, 2019.
Inciweb

Montana’s firefighting fund is in good shape moving into the end of the year, according to the state budget director.

Tom Livers, director of the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning told the Legislative Finance Committee Tuesday that this and last years’ mild fire seasons have swelled the state’s firefighting savings account.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state health department faces permanent job cuts; A sales tax proposal reappears at the Capitol; Sexual harassment allegations among lawmakers lead to a new anti-harassment policy; And with time running short, Gov. Bullock remains coy about his 2020 election plans.

State Budget Director Tom Livers speaks during a House Appropriations hearing on March 7, 2019.  Gov. Steve Bullock's administration opposes some of the Legislature's proposed eliminations in vacant state job positions.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration is objecting to the Legislature’s initial plan to cut funding for around 230 open job positions across Montana government in the next state budget.

The state’s $4.3 billion general fund budget is first up for debate as lawmakers arrive back in Helena for the second half of the 2019 legislative session.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

A new plan to cap state government debt when paying for public works projects is on a fast track in the state Legislature. It’s a potential breakthrough in the Legislature’s long fight over borrowing money to pay for large scale infrastructure.

The so-called Infrastructure Development and Economic Accountability Act passed out of House Appropriations unanimously, and without debate, hours after it receiving its first hearing Thursday.

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