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'Capitol Talk': Will An Infrastructure Bill Make It Through The Legislature?

State revenue estimates have grown, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach. Will the Legislature pass an infrastructure bill this session? A mail-voting hearing turns heated. And Sally and Chuck remember Bob Ream, on this episode of 'Capitol Talk.'

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Republicans Admit Defeat On Health Care Bill: 'Obamacare Is The Law Of The Land'

Updated at 5 p.m. ET House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass. "Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law." Ryan may have...

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MTPR Features

Martin Sexton's 'Mixtape Of The Open Road' Keeps The Musical Bus Rolling

One of the most dynamic singer-songwriters of any generation, Martin Sexton returns to “Musicians’ Spotlight,” recording three songs in the studio (with harmony help from the Brothers McCann) and chatting retrospectively about his career.

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Medical marijuana sign.
Flickr user Laurie Avocado (CC-BY-2)

A committee of Senate lawmakers approved a 2 percent tax on medical marijuana providers and rejected an increase to the state’s alcohol tax.

Since voters approved a statewide medical marijuana program in November, lawmakers in Helena have debated ways to fund it.

Bill Would Provide Option For Montanans To Comply With Federal Real ID Act

1 hour ago

Montana is facing a deadline at the end of this year to comply with a 2005 federal mandate called the 'Real ID Act,' which requires states to meet minimum security standards for identification cards used to access federal facilities or get through airport security.

State revenue estimates have grown, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach. Will the Legislature pass an infrastructure bill this session? A mail-voting hearing turns heated. And Sally and Chuck remember Bob Ream, on this episode of 'Capitol Talk.'

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

The search for nominees to be Montana’s next top political cop ended this afternoon during a short meeting of legislative leaders.

The majority and minority leaders of the Montana House and Senate approved Jeff Mangan, a former Democratic legislator who owns a consulting firm in Great Falls, to join the Commissioner of Political Practices nominee list.

More than a dozen Fort Peck tribal members and veterans plan to traverse nearly 100 miles across the reservation to raise awareness about the potential dangers of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Courtesy Marina Starr

Hours before the Trump administration issued permits to resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline Friday morning a group on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana set out on a prayer walk to protest the pipeline.

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

Governor Steve Bullock and Senate President Scott Sales reached an agreement Wednesday on a list of nominees for the next Commissioner of Political Practices, ending a more than week long stall in the nomination hearings. Bullock says he did not try to leverage his administration's legislative goals during that meeting, which was outside of the public nominating process.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The company responsible for cleanup at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site released results of their site evaluation on Thursday. 

The evaluation confirms that groundwater beneath the former aluminum smelter facility has elevated levels of cyanide, fluoride and other contaminants, leached from legacy landfills used from 1955 until 1980. The studies also indicate that the contamination is not moving toward wells used for drinking water in nearby neighborhoods.

The bill would raise the state's tax on gas by 8 cents a gallon and on diesel by 7.25 cents a gallon.
Rusty Clark (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana House has endorsed what would be the state's first fuel tax hike in 24 years. The bill would raise the state's tax on gas by 8 cents a gallon and on diesel by 7.25 cents a gallon.

Health coverage in Montana.
Montana Commissioner of Securities & Insurance

In Montana, more than 47,000 people qualify for tax credits that lower their monthly health insurance premiums. Those tax credits were created by the Affordable Care Act, what some people call Obamacare. Many of those people would see big changes if the Republican healthcare bill in the works in Congress now becomes law.

Carole Mackin, a taxpayer from Helena, is escorted out of a hearing room at the Montana Capitol by a sergeant-at-arms Thursday, March 23 after she refused to stop her testimony in support of Senate Bill 305, which would allow mail ballot elections.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

A bill intended to save counties hundreds of thousands of dollars in the upcoming special election for Montana's vacant U.S. House seat brought heated testimony and debate Thursday in the Capitol.

Senate Bill 305 would allow counties the option of running the May 25 election entirely through mail-in-ballots. Great Falls Republican Senator Steve Fitzpatrick introduced his bill to the House Judiciary Committee:

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NPR News

The pace is picking up at the Montana Legislature. A Senate committee has begun its work on the state’s main budget bill, less than a week after receiving it from the House.

Welcome to Capitol Connections. I’m Jackie Yamanaka. This week, we’ll check in with Senate President Scott Sales, but first an update on funding for early childhood and special education.


Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was convicted Friday of child endangerment for his role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In a split verdict, the Pennsylvania jury found that Spanier's handling of a 2001 complaint alleging abuse by Sandusky, warranted conviction on one of three charges against him. The jury did, however, acquit Spanier of conspiracy and a second count of child endangerment, the Associated Press reports.

In a series of memorandums sent to U.S. embassies, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered a glimpse of what President Trump's promised "extreme vetting" will mean for visa applicants when put into practice.

There are beers that can make headlines simply by existing, especially if they use unique ingredients. That's the case with Stone Brewing's Full Circle Pale Ale, whose key component — water — came from an advanced filtration system that recycles and purifies San Diego wastewater that had previously been used in taps, toilets and showers.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.

"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

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