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Correction December 12, 2019: This article has been updated to include that Sen. Jon Tester is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Environmental advocates and political leaders across Montana are pushing for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million, an amount the country hasn’t been close to since 1998.

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton.
Courtesy Montana Secretary of State.

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton is in Israel this week with a bipartisan delegation of top state elections officials from across the United States. Officials say the trip aims to strengthen U.S.- Israel relations.

Stapleton is among 11 state officials from the U.S. traveling in the National Association of Secretaries of State delegation.

"Herd Bull," a bronze bison skull sculpture by artist Benji Daniels on display in front of the Montana Historical Society in Helena, MT.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state has decided to remodel the current Montana Historical Society building and add a connected building to create the new Montana Heritage Center.

 

The U.S. Senate will consider expanding access to healthcare for Native American veterans and streamline the hiring process for tribal law enforcement. That’s after two bills passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Wednesday.

Trucks wait at a Canadian border crossing.
iStock

Beltway Democrats and Republicans are both claiming victory over this week’s announced overhaul of the 25-year-old NAFTA trade agreement. Back home in Montana, farmers and ranchers are still sifting through the pact’s details with a fine-toothed comb. 

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes would manage the National Bison Range in exchange for concessions on water rights, according to draft legislation Montana Sen. Steve Daines is expected to introduce in Congress. 

Bison at the National Bison Range.
USFWS

A bill proposing to settle long disputed water rights claims between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the federal government includes a massive new bargaining chip: transferring the National Bison Range to control of the tribes. U.S. Senator Steve Daines is expected to introduce a bill to do that as early as this week.

 

President Donald Trump formed a task force to address missing and murdered indigenous people last month. 

 

A former Helena elementary school teacher and husband of Democratic state superintendent of public instruction candidate Melissa Romano is facing a felony drug charge. The charges were filed Tuesday. 

Watering a field.
iStock

Montana Senator Steve Daines and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced Thursday that they have come to a new agreement that would settle thousands of the tribes’ water rights claims.

Daines says he will introduce legislation next week that, if approved by Congress, will bring more than a decade of negotiation over the tribes’ water rights to an end. Daines was not available for an interview, but provided this recorded comment.

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