Government & Politics


That’s how political candidates often describe their opponent’s advertisements that are saturating television, mailboxes, and social media.

What does the laws says about truth in political ads?

Not much, says Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, because the content is protected by the Constitution’s free speech provisions.

“That is where the argument that you are interfering with the First Amendment speech right is strongest,” he says.  

Motl says the courts have struck down laws that have attempted to deal with political content.

Jackie Yamanaka

For all of the procrastinators who have an absentee ballot is still sitting on your kitchen counter, elections officials are urging you to drop it in the mail.

The general election is coming up fast, November 8, 2016.

Yellowstone County Elections Administrator Bret Rutherford says the reduction in the number of U.S. Postal Service sorting centers means it can take longer for mail to be delivered, especially for rural Montanans.

Jackie Yamanaka

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Montana voters to return Congressman Ryan Zinke for a second term in the U.S. House. The Wisconsin Republican spoke briefly at a rally and fundraiser for Zinke at a private hangar the Billings airport Sunday morning.

The campaign stop was part of Ryan’s campaign swing on behalf of Republican Representatives.

Ryan said the U.S. House runs differently than the U.S. Senate.  He called it a meritocracy, “If you’re good, you get the ball and run with it.”

In the Senate, seniority matters. Ryan said that’s not the case in the House.

The arrival of property tax bills may be delayed in some of the counties affected by the settlement reached between the state of Montana and NorthWestern Energy. That settlement may also result in a slight increase for some.

MSUB University Relations

Jobs and job creation were the topics today for Montana’s gubernatorial candidates.

The Bullock Administration announced Montana received $1.3 million from the U.S. Labor Department to expand apprenticeship programs.

Governor Steve Bullock, D-MT, announced the award during a press conference at the Capitol.

“This new funding will be used to dramatically expand apprenticeship opportunities in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, energy, information technology, finance and skilled trades,” he says.

MSUB University Relations

The two incumbents running for the top statewide elected offices are ahead of their challengers according to the latest MSU Billings statewide poll

MSU Billings students polled 590 adult Montanans between October 3-10, 2016. 70% of those were reached via cell phone.

That snapshot in time found Democratic Governor Steve Bullock led his Republican challenger Greg Gianforte by a 44-to-32 percent margin. 20% replied DK/NA (didn’t know or no answer).

MSUB University Relations

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte says he wants to bring integrity to state government. He announced he’ll create an Office of Government Accountability, if elected. 

Gianforte charges the Bullock Administration has engaged in numerous abuses whether its awarding state contracts to use of the state airplane.

The Bozeman businessman adds there’s also the issue of what he calls regulatory overreach.

Montana Secretary of State


General election ballots are in the mail for 297,001 registered Montana voters.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch says the number of ballots mailed out October 14, 2016 means nearly 43% of registered voters now vote by mail. She says voting absentee has grown in popularity because of its convenience.

“You know, spreading it all out on the kitchen table and being able to look at it and vote is very appealing to voters,” McCulloch says.

2016 General Election Reminders:

Jackie Yamanaka

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte said he will continue to support Presidential candidate Donald Trump. The businessman from Bozeman was asked about his support after the Washington Post released a 2005 video late last week in which Trump used vulgar language in talking about women. 

Gianforte and Governor Steve Bullock faced off October 8, 2016 during the final Gubernatorial debate, sponsored by the MTN Television Network.

Patrick Williams / University Relations, MSU Billings

Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock and Republican challenger Greg Gianforte aimed familiar barbs at each other during a televised debate October 8, 2015 from Great Falls. 

The just over 1 hour debate, sponsored by the MTN Television Network, featured criticisms Montanans have heard in television ads over the last several months.