A photo taken on March 28, 2016 of a Sage Grouse atop a snowy plain.
U.S. Forest Service

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge has dealt a setback to the Trump administration’s efforts to increase domestic oil and gas exploration.

Montana Legislators meeting during a live-web conferenece to discuss state finances on May 20, 2020
Montana Public Affairs Network

Montana legislators today considered sending several letters calling for additional financial action from the governor and Congress to address the novel coronavirus. Republican lawmakers and state officials remain at odds over how to deal with the virus’s potential impact on state revenues.

Montana lawmakers will receive a briefing on forecasts of COVID-19’s impact on state revenues Wednesday morning. Lawmakers in the Revenue Interim Committee are expected to debate whether they should send letters to Governor Steve Bullock calling for action to address possible hits to state finances.

U.S. Small Business Administration logo
U.S. Small Business Administration Website

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A new report shows over 21,700 loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) have been approved for small business, nonprofits and faith based organizations in Montana.

Starting June 1 Montana will no longer require out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days. Gov. Steve Bullock also announced Phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening plan during a press conference Tuesday.

Montana takes another step toward reopening, with the lowest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the country.

A letter drafted by the Montana speaker of the House asks Gov. Steve Bullock to consider reducing government spending over concerns about declining state revenue.

The draft will be discussed by the legislative Revenue Interim Committee next week as state leaders continue to crunch the numbers of the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Montana.

A sign in the window of a restaurant in Bozeman, Montana outlines service options during COVID-19, Apr. 9, 2020.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

The Gallatin City-County Health Department said Friday it’s working with business owners and faith groups to coordinate a gradual reopening of non-essential services.

Interior of the Red Lodge Brewing Company taproom.
Megan Kalb-Koenigsfeld / Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company

While restaurants, tap rooms and bars in Montana are allowed to provide take out and delivery service during the governor’s stay-at-home order, many business owners say they’re making a fraction of their normal sales.

Glacier County will temporarily lay off half of its workforce for 30 days in order to keep the county’s books balanced. The layoffs begin today. The county, which has long-standing financial troubles, decided to lay off workers now because it was already reducing staff due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Patrick Barkely at a BBER meeting in Billings.
Kayla Deroches / Yellowstone Public Radio


Montana’s most populated county may be reaching an economic equilibrium following a drop in oil prices in 2014 thanks to a strong base of manufacturing support services.