Montanans Rally At Capitol To Air Grievances, Advocate Lifting Coronavirus Restrictions

Apr 20, 2020

More than three hundred Montana citizens and multiple Republican candidates for statewide office gathered at the state Capitol in Helena on Sunday, flaunting federal, state, and public health agency social distancing recommendations to express a range of opinions centered on the belief that it’s time for state directives closing schools and businesses to end.

A Kalispell congregation continues its in-person services, despite stay-at-home orders issued due to the coronavirus pandemic. That's generated complaints to the Flathead City-County Public Health Department. The comments come as some are calling for a physician affiliated with the non-denominational Christian congregation to be removed from the county health board.

Gov. Steve Bullock faces increasing pressure to ease pandemic restrictions. The two leading Republican candidates for governor trade barbs over an allegation of insider trading. And all the gubernatorial candidates stake out their claim to electability.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

The U.S. Forest Service is allowing loggers more time to meet their contracts in national forests due to the novel coronavirus, according to a notice published in the federal register Wednesday.

The move is meant to lend a helping hand to the timber industry as operations shut down across the country, the notice says.

Montana’s temporary ban on flavored e-cigarette products officially ended Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual for vape retailers.

Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio sent a list of four questions to candidates in the gubernatorial primary election, asking how they believe the state’s top executive should approach the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some people receiving unemployment in Montana will start seeing an additional $600 in weekly benefits from the state labor department. The $600 bump was approved by Congress as part of the federal CARES Act.

The Montana Supreme Court will not mandate expanded measures requested by disability rights advocates to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Montana prisons and jails.

Justices Tuesday unanimously denied a petition filed two weeks ago by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana on behalf of Disability Rights Montana.

Whitney Williams standing on a bridge.
courtesy Whitney Williams / Whitney Williams Campaign

This week we are airing conversations with some of the candidates running for Montana governor as the Jun. 2 primary approaches.

Missoula based businesswoman Whitney Williams grew up in Montana and returned to the state with her company williamsworks three years ago. She spoke with YPR New’s Jess Sheldahl earlier in the month about what brought her back to Montana, medicaid expansion, and campaign fundraising.

Missoula Club Bar & Grill in Missoula
John Lloyde/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Over 10,000 loans totaling nearly $1.3 billion have been approved for small businesses in Montana as part of the federal coronavirus relief package.

Out of the $350 billion allocated to small businesses nationwide through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), nearly $250 billion in loans had been approved as of Apr. 13.