Helena, Montana

Mike Dennison

Ever-shifting ‘companion bills’ part of final budget talks

HELENA — A one-sentence bill that morphed into a nine-page, $38 million legislative behemoth is a key element of the 2019 Montana Legislature’s final budget dance — and so are a few other of these so-called “companion bills,” which have drawn a skeptical eye from some lawmakers.

Revival of DUI bill criticized as backdoor power play

HELENA — A toughening of Montana’s drunken-driving laws, proposed by Attorney General Tim Fox, got new life at the Legislature Saturday — but not before some tense, testy exchanges among legislators and lobbyists over what they saw as backdoor power play to cram the proposal and other items into a new bill.

Medicaid expansion bill still on ice

HELENA — For the third consecutive day, Senate Republicans on Saturday blocked the bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program — with no specific indication

House panel votes to kill Historical Society museum bill

HELENA — A Montana House committee Thursday voted to kill the measure that would authorize construction of a new, $48 million museum for the Montana Historical Society in Helena, and increase the state lodging tax to help fund it.

On Colstrip bill, labor, biz battle consumer advocates, enviros

HELENA — On what’s become one of the keynote bills of the 2019 Legislature, organized labor, business lobbies and pro-coal forces lined up Monday to support a guaranteed return for NorthWestern Energy if its buys more Colstrip-generated power — while consumer advocates and environmentalists argued that the cost to ratepayers could be too high.

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