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On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Montana Sen. John Walsh "appropriated at least a quarter" of his 2007 master's thesis for the U.S. Army War College "from other authors' works, with no attribution."

Montana Politics Week In Review

Jul 18, 2014

NorthWestern Energy Dam Buyback

Clean Campaigns, A "Clean Platform" And Clean Coal

Jul 11, 2014

This week in Montana politics:

The A.P. reported that District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock rejected Sen. Art Wittich's attempt to dismiss campaign finance complaints filed against him. The ruling clears the way for the case against Wittich to proceed.

Montana politicians and interest groups were divided along party lines over this week's U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the Affordable Care Act's birth control coverage mandate. In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held private corporations do not have to provide birth control as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, if the corporations have religious objections to birth control.

Corey Stapleton has entered the Montana Secretary of State race.
Courtesy Corey Stapleton

Five Republican candidates are vying to be Montana's next representative in the U.S. House.  

That crowded field of congressional hopefuls in this year's primary includes state Senator Matt Rosendale of Glendive, former state Senator Corey Stapleton of Billings, state Senator Elsie Arntzen of Billings, Drew Turiano of Helena and former state Senator Ryan Zinke of Whitefish.

Montana Democrats next month will choose one of two candidates who hope to become Montana's next representative in the U.S. House. Republican Congressman Steve Daines is leaving the House to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by former Senator Max Baucus and now held by John Walsh.

John Lewis and John Driscoll are competing for their party's nomination to advance to November's general election.

Edward O'Brien has more on the Democratic House race featuring two men with backgrounds that each says would serve Montanans well:

MT's budget on track

Mar 14, 2014

Analysts expect Montana’s budget surplus to be slightly higher than previous predictions.

The estimate comes from the Legislative Fiscal Division. It now predicts the state will have nearly $353 million left in the bank at the end of this budget cycle. That’s almost $6 million higher than estimates in December.

Conrad Republican Senator Llew Jones chairs the Legislative Finance committee, which looks at the budget between Legislative sessions. He said, overall, the budget is staying right about where it should.

State Capitol, Helena
Jacob Baynham / Community News Service, UM School of Journalism

 As Montana moves toward the June primary elections, a deep divide still exists between elements of the state legislature’s Republican caucus.

This split between moderate and conservative Republicans was most dramatically seen in the 2013 Montana Senate, where the GOP held a 29-21 majority over Democrats. The body almost seemed to have three caucuses, though, as a small group of Republicans regularly defied party leadership to side with Democrats on a number of key issues such as campaign spending law changes, school funding legislation, and state employee pension reform.

Dan Boyce

2013 began with a new governor and a new legislature - and wound down with a government shutdown. In-between there were headline-grabbing trials and home-destroying fires.

The MTPR news staff - Sally Mauk, Edward O'Brien, Dan Boyce and Katrin Frye - covered the issues and breaking news. In this feature, they take a look back at a year of drama and heartache, and political surprises.

Montana’s public employees now just need to wait for state agencies and unions to ratify a plan negotiated with Gov. Steve Bullock in order to receive their first base-pay raises in more than four years.

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