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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.

A second judge has recused himself from a case before the Montana Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of a new law that gives the governor more discretion to appoint judges.

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday recommended continued federal protections for grizzlies in the continental U.S. Federal officials say the bears still face threats from human population growth and habitat loss. But the report doesn't rule out removing protections for bears in specific regions in the future.

The "beast bill" heads to the Senate. The attorney general sues over restrictions on the use of federal COVID relief money. Montana could lose millions in federal education money because of a bill banning transgender students from participating in women's sports. A bill to make it easier for Native Americans to vote is killed. And a progressive blogger ends his long run as an influential gadfly.

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

More than 30 people testified during a marathon hearing over one of three bills Montana lawmakers are workshopping to stand up the state’s forthcoming recreational marijuana program.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen
Courtesy

Montana has joined 31 other states in suing the U.S. Treasury Department over a provision that bars states from using federal stimulus dollars to offset tax cuts.

Montana is set to see roughly $3 billion in federal stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan Act with the stipulation that the money can’t be used to offset revenue reductions caused by tax cuts. 

Montana Capitol bulding in Helena, MT.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed a bill into law that bans "sanctuary cities" in the state.

The new law prohibits state agencies and local governments from adopting policies that block local law enforcement from detaining undocumented immigrants sought by federal authorities. There are no sanctuary cities in Montana right now. 

The Montana House Tuesday endorsed a state spending plan for $2 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

It took more than a decade interspersed with multiple ballot initiatives and courtroom debates to set Montana’s policy for regulating medical marijuana. State lawmakers are now seeking to avoid those past pitfalls as they face the challenge of regulating the state’s fledgling recreational marijuana industry.

Pepper Petersen rattles off marijuana strains in a Helena medical dispensary.

“Lime Haze. Gelato Zkittlez Cake. And of course, Mendolicious, it’s very popular."

As of March 2021, eight states and the District of Columbia allow terminally ill patients to obtain medications to end their lives. In 2021, legislators in at least 19 states have pushed aid-in-dying bills, including some to modify existing laws.
Lydia Zuraw / Kaiser Health News

 

Linda Heim knew her dad didn’t plan to wait for the cancer to kill him. For decades, he’d lived in Montana, which they’d thought was one of the few places where terminally ill people could get a prescription to end their life.

State lawmakers have passed a measure creating a Bitterroot Valley Community College District.

The joint resolution triggers a process to transition Hamilton’s Bitterroot College UM — currently an appendage of the University of Montana — into an independent, locally controlled community college.

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