Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

406-243-4075

Senator Jon Tester says he’s frustrated with how the Veterans Administration is preparing to roll out legislation he wrote to reform how veterans get health care outside the VA system.

At a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday, Tester questioned VA officials about the Mission Act. He’s expressed concern about it being used as a tool to eventually privatize veterans health care.

A bill that a group of Montana high school students wrote to try to reduce gun violence in the state was killed in a Senate committee Thursday.

It was written by Helena Youth Against Gun Violence, which formed in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting in which 17 people were killed in February of 2018.

Tim Fox has raised substantially more money than any other candidate running for a statewide office in Montana so far.

Campaign finance reports for the 2020 election filed Friday show Fox has raised nearly $204,000 since January 1. Fox, who is currently Montana’s attorney general, is running for governor.

The first ever statewide conference on homelessness is happening in Helena today and tomorrow. More than 75 organizations from across Montana are meeting.

Jim McGrath, with the Missoula Housing Authority presented a graph showing some positive trend data about the number of homeless people here since 2005.

In Butte Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency set a date for an important milestone in the Mining City’s Superfund cleanup.

Next Friday, the agency says it will give federal court 135 days notice of filing a final consent decree laying out legally binding cleanup plans.

While much of the state was enjoying a sunny St. Patrick’s Day, state lawmakers and scores of people concerned about health care spent all day Saturday inside the state Capitol debating two competing visions for the future of Medicaid expansion in Montana.

Nationwide, military veterans commit suicide at the rate of 17 a day, and despite many efforts to bring it down, the rate has remained constant for years.

On Wednesday, Montana Sen. Jon Tester has introduced a bill aimed at making an impact, by containing numerous directives for the U.S. Veterans Administration.

Helena high school students who organized to do something in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting 13 months ago presented a bill to Montana’s House Judiciary Committee at the capitol Tuesday.

"We’re not expert lobbyists, nor are we supporting any particular agenda or organization. We’re just students who saw an issue in our community and decided something needed to be done," says Clara McRae, a senior at Capital High School and co-founder of Helena Youth Against Gun Violence

A new analysis of the latest federal health statistics says that Montana had the second highest rates of deaths from alcohol in 2017, and substantial growth in its suicide rate that year as well.

Released Tuesday, the “Pain in the Nation Update” from the non-profits Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust says that when it came to growth in the number of deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide combined, Montana and New Jersey led the nation in 2017. Each state saw a greater than 15-percent increase in such deaths.

An administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency who’s been praised by leaders in Butte and Anaconda has been promoted to become a senior advisor to the newly-confirmed head of the EPA.

Doug Benevento has been a frequent visitor to Montana, and helped negotiate final cleanup agreements for Butte and Anaconda. He’ll remain based in Denver, but with a broader portfolio than just the six states he’s overseen since 2017.

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