Montana Public Radio

Tyson Runningwolf

Legislation limiting who can handle absentee ballots during election season cleared the Montana Legislature Tuesday largely along party lines.

An initially uncontroversial bill granting the secretary of state’s office rulemaking authority to boost election security was amended with the rule to prevent someone from turning in somebody else’s absentee ballot if they’re paid to do so.

Sponsor and Ulm Republican Rep. Wendy McKamey said the provision is a needed voting safeguard.

Following the election, ten Native Americans have won their races and will be serving in Montana’s legislature. This is fewer Indigenous representatives than last session.

Montana remains one of the few states whose legislature has racial parity, meaning the makeup of the legislature is proportional to the racial makeup of the state. Next year, members of the Montana American Indian Caucus will account for nearly seven percent of the state legislature, which, according to the 2010 Census, is almost exactly the same percentage of Native Americans living in Montana.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

The Blackfeet Nation says it will ask a federal court on Monday to continue a fight to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area, after the US Interior Department reversed course on oil leases there.

"That was a surprise, we were totally caught off guard," says Tyson Runningwolf, a Democratic representative from Browning, and a member of the tribe.

"There’s one thing that unifies the tribe always and that’s protecting the Badger-Two Medicine at all costs, whatever it takes to be involved in protecting it from oil and gas development and protecting that sacred area," he says.

Lawmakers Consider The Future Of Bison In Montana

Mar 25, 2019
Bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Josh Burnham

Debates are intensifying at the Montana Legislature over the state’s management of North America’s largest land mammal: The American bison.

Some argue bison are a critical cultural, spiritual and historical resource. Others argue bison pose a threat to the health and well-being of cattle. Now, legislators are considering a number of bills that would decide where bison are allowed to graze, and which government entity gets to make that decision.

Rural Schools Teacher Recruitment Bills Pass Initial Vote

Feb 26, 2019

HELENA — The Montana House of Representatives passed two bills Tuesday aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers for rural schools.

Rep. Tyson Runningwolf, D-Browning, is sponsoring House Bill 420, which passed it’s initial vote 70-30. The bill would appropriate $500,000 in state funding to create a series of grants for schools and students to encourage pursuing education degrees and staying in Montana.

Montana Bill Would Distinguish 'Real' From Lab-Grown Meat

Feb 8, 2019
Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A state lawmaker wants to make sure meat products produced from a cultured cell can't be labeled the same as steaks, burger and other items that come from livestock and poultry.

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy (D), HD-32.
Mike Albans

  

Montanans elected nine Native Americans to the state Legislature Tuesday. That’s the same as last session in 2017.

Two Medicine River, in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Courtesy Gene Sentz

A Texas oilman is suing the federal government after they canceled his lease, along with two others, in the Badger Two-Medicine area south of Glacier National Park in Montana.

The area is a sacred site for the Blackfeet Nation.