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President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, appears before a Senate panel Tuesday to begin his confirmation process.

Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead that Department, was previously the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, during the Obama administration. He then served as deputy secretary of DHS.

Watch the hearing live beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Pennsylvania health expert Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary for health in the department of Health and Human Services, in a move that could make Levine the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

Levine is currently the secretary of health in Pennsylvania, where she leads the state's fight against COVID-19. She is also professor at the Penn State College of Medicine. Levine began her medical career as a pediatrician, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

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Authorities at the U.S. Capitol are on high alert. NPR's Noel King talks to National Guard Vice Chief Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville about how the guard is helping to secure Inauguration Day events.

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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.

Republican Attorney General Tim Fox left office Monday after leading the Montana Department of Justice for two four-year terms. Fox spoke with MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar about the issues he prioritized, what challenges Montana still faces and what is next.

A Montana utility regulator has filed a more than $2 million claim against the Public Service Commission for negligence and harm he says was directed towards him.

Bozeman Commissioner Roger Koopman filed the notice with the Department of Administration on behalf of himself and his family, citing targeted, malicious behavior by the PSC and several of its elected officials and state employees.

Gianforte Sworn In As Montana Governor

Jan 4, 2021

Greg Gianforte was sworn in as Montana’s 25th governor Monday. He’s the state’s first Republican chief executive in 16 years.

After taking his oath of office during a small, livestreamed ceremony at the Capitol, Gianforte said he will tackle Montana’s economic comeback by lowering taxes, improving infrastructure and cutting what he calls unnecessary red tape.

“Let me say loudly and clearly to job creators, entrepreneurs and business owners in our state and beyond: Montana is open for business,” he said.

A protestor's sign sits outside the House of Representatives gallery during the swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol, January 4, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Servic

Montana’s 67th Legislature convened Monday in the Capitol building in Helena where lawmakers remain split on how best to meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Cary Smith talks about GOP priorities for the 2021 legislative session, January 04, 2021.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

On the first day of the 67th Legislature, Republican legislative leaders outlined their top policy goals. GOP lawmakers now have a conservative counterpart in the governor’s office for the first time in nearly two decades. 

The 2021 Republican action plan offers six broad priorities rather than specific bills.

The House chamber at the Montana Legislature during the 2019 session.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Montana state representatives voted down a proposed set of rules Tuesday to govern the 2021 legislative session. This will leave House lawmakers either scrambling to create new rules once the session begins in January or leave last session’s rules in place.

A syringe in a container labeled COVID-19 vaccine.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines is encouraging Montanans to get a COVID-19 vaccine when doses become available. This follows federal emergency use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for persons aged 16 years and older. Ten Montana hospitals received their first shipments of the vaccine this week.

It’s been clear that the 2021 legislative session at the Montana Capitol will look different amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn’t clear how different until Wednesday. Republican state lawmakers are planning an in-person session, rejecting mask requirements and allowing lawmakers the option to tune in remotely.

Gov. Steve Bullock
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock will leave office January 4th after serving two terms as governor and one term as state attorney general. Bullock spoke with Sally Mauk about his time in office, what he accomplished, what challenges remain and what comes next.