Government & Politics

Jackie Yamanaka

The Montana Department of Justice reports there’s been a 100% increase in human trafficking cases between 2015 and 2016.  Attorney General Tim Fox says the number of rescues of both adult and juvenile victims was also up during this timeframe.


Budget Defines First Week of Montana Legislature

Jan 9, 2017
Jackie Yamanaka

 By Michael Siebert

Community News Service

University of Montana School of Journalism

HELENA -- Montana’s 2017 Legislature has begun to tackle a wide swath of issues, from public safety to infrastructure, from education to agriculture. But as the first of many bills were read in committee rooms around the Capitol last week, it became clear that everything this time around would focus on the budget.

Jackie Yamanaka

State agencies are offering up about $5.5 million from their current budgets to help lawmakers shore up the state’s checkbook.

Republican legislative leaders made the request in hopes the agencies would help them with the hard decision of further reducing budgets.


Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and legislative leaders say Montana’s state budget will get more intense focus during the 65th Legislature than in recent years. Officials are coming to this session facing declining revenues from natural resource extraction and lower tax collections that aren’t sufficient to pay for existing government services.


Google maps

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT, has the following details for those who are traveling to Washington, D.C. for the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

Washington, DC Office Open House: Daines will host an Open House at 320 Hart Senate Office Building the day before the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017. He's inviting Montanans to stop by his office, snap a picture in the Senator for a Day! photo booth, and enjoy light refreshments and snacks from Montana. The office will host visitors from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

Legislative Fiscal Division

Montana’s cash cushion has grown smaller since the 2015 Legislative session largely because of declining revenue from natural resource extraction and lower tax collections.

That’s why lawmakers are summoning state agencies to see if they would make spending cuts in their current budgets to help Montana’s ailing “checkbook.”


Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and the other statewide elected officials took their oaths of office and were sworn in during a ceremony that had to be moved inside to the Capitol Rotunda because of bitter cold temperatures.


Montana Legislature

A legislator from Billings is the latest candidate to announce he’ll seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the U.S. House seat expected to open up when incumbent Ryan Zinke likely will become the next U.S. Interior Secretary.

State Representative Kelly McCarthy made the announcement last night in an email. He said he wanted to get the word out before the start of 2017 Montana Legislature on Monday.

When  US Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-MT, accepts the appointment as Interior Secretary in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet and is confirmed, then the process begins to fill his House seat.

The open seat will ultimately filled by a special election. But there is disagreement between Montana statute and the US Constitution and the House of Representatives on some of the details.

Montana Expedites Medical Marijuana Initiative

Dec 8, 2016
(Flickr/Dank Depot) (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A Helena judge ruled that medical marijuana providers can accept more than three-patients immediately rather than waiting six more months for the initiative to take effect. 

The Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative approved in November was a victory for people like Katie Wetch, who endure chronic pain.


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