Category Archives: Legislature

Taking Control: Local governments are adjusting to the Legislature’s rollbacks of municipal authority

By Alex Sakariassen | Montana Free Press After months of legislative debate, Montanans are beginning to glimpse how new laws passed by the 67th Legislature are poised to impact their lives. For county and municipal leaders, those impacts amount to a notable reduction in their ability to respond at a local level on a range of issues including public health,

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Lawmakers change rule for deputy sheriffs; make 1 percent longevity increase automatic

The Montana Legislature passed a bill this session, now signed by the governor, that decouples the compensation for deputy sheriff’s from that of other elected officials and makes an automatic 1 percent longevity increase for deputies annually. The longevity increase for deputies was previously only granted when the base pay for county elected officials was increased. The compensation for deputies,

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County Commission to consider several items related to removing state prisoners from county jail

Next week, County Commissioners will consider several items related to the Montana Department of Corrections vacating their inmates from the county detention center. The county is intending to terminate their contract with DoC that requires the county to house 150 state inmates who have been sentenced to the state prison system. County, state working to shift state prisoners to Shelby,

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Clearing out a confidentiality clause

By Alex Sakariassen | Montana Free Press Under a bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte late last week, ethics complaints filed against elected officials and public employees in Montana will no longer be held confidential by the Commissioner of Political Practices. House Bill 95 passed the Legislature without opposition, and the story behind its appearance in the Capitol this session

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Bullock-appointed judges face questions in Senate confirmation

By Mara Silvers | Montana Free Press HELENA — Weeks after Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill overhauling the process for filling judicial vacancies, lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings Wednesday for two judges appointed by former Gov. Steve Bullock. Cascade County District Judge Michele R. Levine and Lewis and Clark and Broadwater County District Judge Christopher Abbott faced extensive questioning after

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State beginning process for licenses for recreational marijuana after ballot iniative approved

The Montana Department of Revenue has begun the process to make licenses available for recreational marijuana cultivation and sale by Oct. 1, 2021, following the recent voter approval of Initiative-190. “There’s a lot of work ahead before the first legal sale of non-medical marijuana in Montana, and before the first license is issued,” Gene Walborn, department director, said in a release. “We look forward to working

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Court rules in favor of Cascade County, orders transfer of sentenced inmates to DOC custody

A Cascade County district court judge ruled in favor today of Cascade County and again ordered the transport of 11 inmates within five days from the county jail to Montana Department of Corrections facilities so they can begin serving their sentences. County Attorney Josh Racki said the county will now file similar motions seeking the transfer of about a dozen

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Legislative Roundup: House Rules, Medicaid and Public Lands Dominate First Week of Montana Legislature

by Shaylee Ragar UM Community News Service | University of Montana School of Journalism The 66th Montana Legislature opened for business Jan. 7 and lawmakers spent much of the first week discussing what they hope to see for hot topic issues and bills, like public lands and Medicaid expansion. After newly-elected Senators and Representatives were sworn in, the House voted on

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