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An excerpt from Justice Jim Rice's concurring opinion on a lawsuit challenging the governor's authority to appoint judges to open benches directly. Rice wrote a concurring opinion, but included scathing criticism of the Legislature and Dept. of Justice.

A Montana Supreme Court justice who voted in a 6-1 ruling to uphold a new law allowing the governor to appoint judges directly to open benches is also condemning Republican lawmakers and the state’s attorney general for their handling of the proceedings.

Senator Jon Tester (D) - Montana
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Montana’s senior U.S. senator is among a bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers working on an infrastructure deal after President Joe Biden ended talks with a core group of Republicans earlier in the week.

The two Democrats and two Republicans in charge of redrawing the state’s new congressional and legislative districts are in disagreement over how to start drawing lines.

The U.S. Census Bureau has not yet released the final data states need to start drawing districts, but Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission met Thursday to talk about the rules that will guide the process.

Montana Capitol
Eric Whitney

Montana’s governor will retain a new power to appoint judges directly to vacant benches without the input of the Judicial Nomination Commission. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law in a ruling issued Thursday.

Joe Lamson, a Democrat on Montana's districting commission, is particularly fond of this map showing the state's legislative districts as drawn in the early 2000s.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

The Republicans and Democrats on Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission are expected to present conflicting plans for drawing the state’s districts at a Thursday meeting. 

The districting and apportionment committee is scheduled to meet to discuss possible criteria to draw new lines for 100 legislative districts — and for the first time in three decades, two Congressional districts. 

Lawmakers Discuss Policy Violations By Utility Regulators

Jun 8, 2021

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The two newest members of the Montana Public Service Commission told a legislative committee Monday they've spent their first five months on the job working to improve the operation, performance and culture of the office that regulates monopoly utilities.

Girl hiding a gun in her school backpack.

Updated 06/07/21 at 7 p.m.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A state judge on Monday granted a request by the Montana Board of Regents to extend a temporary restraining order that blocked a new campus carry law from taking effect.

District Court Judge Mike McMahon on May 28 temporarily blocked the law that would have allowed students and staff to carry firearms on public college campuses. The law was to take effect on June 1.

Montana Legislature House chamber.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers will consider overriding eight of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s vetoes from the 2021 legislative session. The bills Gianforte vetoed meet the threshold for an automatic poll of lawmakers asking if they’d like to reverse the governor’s decision. 

Graph of Montana Medicaid Expansion Enrollment by Month
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A record number of Montanans are enrolled in the state’s expanded health coverage program for low-income adults. More than 9 percent of the state's population is enrolled in the program.

Enrollment in Montana’s Medicaid expansion climbed to record levels this spring after rising since early 2020. Nearly 99,000 Montanans were enrolled as of the latest data in April.

Gov. Greg Gianforte is taking public comment on five applicants being considered for a vacant judgeship in Cascade County.