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Montana Politics

Keep up with the latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news. Get updates on your radio during Morning and Evening Edition, on the web or via podcast any time.

Montana Republican legislative leaders have subpoenaed the Montana Supreme Court’s seven justices and court administrator, looking for evidence of alleged bias over bills that could be challenged in court. It is the latest development in a conflict brewing between the state’s legislative and judicial branches.

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 have voted down a bill that would have asked voters to change the state Constitution and ban abortion in the state. The proposal came in five votes shy of the two-thirds majority it needed — 100 out of Montana’s 150 lawmakers — to advance.

COVID vaccine record card
iStock

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed an executive order Tuesday banning the use of COVID-19 vaccine requirements by government agencies or private businesses. But the order could be on legally shaky ground when it comes to the private sector.

iStock

A bill passed by the state Legislature's Republican majority is now leading to debate over the separation of powers between the branches of Montana’s government.

The bill that eliminates the Judicial Nomination Commission and allows governors to directly appoint judges to certain vacancies was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte last month. Montana State News Bureau reporter Seaborn Larson updates MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar on the latest developments.

Circa February 2021: COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card with syringes or hypodermic needles. Vaccination Record Cards will be offered with each shot and a reminder for the second dose.
iStock

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte issued Tuesday an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.

The move by Gianforte comes as vaccine passports — documents used to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine — have been portrayed by Republicans across the country as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.

A snare trap
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks

Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed two bills into law designed to reduce the wolf population in Montana. The new laws extend the wolf trapping season by four weeks and allow wolf trappers to use neck snares.

The Session Week 15: Parental Rights And Competing Tax Bills For Recreational Marijuana

Apr 12, 2021

As of mid-day Friday, 1,282 bills had been introduced and at least 153 had been signed into law. This week we’re watching the ideological split within the GOP over recreational marijuana taxes, proposed changes to social safety net eligibility and parental rights.

Gov. Gianforte is one of Montana's new cases of COVID. The marijuana bills are now in the Senate's lap. The House votes to abide by the First Amendment. The Republican PSC opposes a Republican Colstrip bill. And the Republican renaissance in Montana owes a lot to the legacy of former Governor Stan Stephens.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Bill Seeks Warrant Requirement For Searches Of Consumer DNA Databases

Apr 9, 2021
Glowing and shining DNA strands double helix close-up.
iStock

HELENA — A bill that would require investigators to obtain a warrant to search consumer DNA databases like 23andMe or Ancestry.com drew criticism from law enforcement representatives during a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday. They say it would make it harder to solve cold cases.

The Montana House has passed largely along party lines three different proposals to regulate and tax recreational marijuana. Lawmakers faced a looming procedural deadline Thursday and are now handing the policy debate over to the Senate.

Lawmakers expect major changes in the coming weeks on bills to shape Montana’s adult use cannabis regulations.

Missoula Republican Rep. Mike Hopkins is carrying one of the proposals.

“There is a good bit more to the story to be told,” Hopkins said.

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