Category Archives: Montana

MT Supreme Court OKs governor’s judicial appointment powers

by Mara Silvers | Montana Free Press HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a law allowing the governor to directly fill vacant judicial seats is constitutional, apparently bringing the lawsuit to a close. Senate Bill 140 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte in March and was immediately challenged in court. The legislation abolishes the Judicial Nomination Commission, an

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Historic preservation board appointments draw criticism from some over relation to heritage area effort

City Commissioners re-appointed Rich Ecke and Ellen Sievert to the city-county Historic Preservation Advisory Commission during their June 1 meeting. Both have been serving on HPAC and Sievert is the former city-county historic preservation officer who retired from the city in 2016. Two members of the public raised concern about Ecke and Sievert who are both affiliated with the nonprofit

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Gianforte accepting public comment on judicial applications

Gov. Greg Gianforte is seeking public comment on applicants to the vacancy in the Eighth Judicial District in Cascade County. Members of the public can provide letters of support or other comments regarding the applicants through 5 p.m. June 30. Gianforte creates panel to help fill District Court vacancy The governor has received applications from the following attorneys whose applications

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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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Tester visits Malmstrom, talks helicopters, C-130s, GBSD

Sen. Jon Tester visited Malmstrom Air Force Base on May 21 with Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Brown and Air Force Global Strike Command Commander Gen. Timothy Ray. Tester has visited the base numerous times and is currently chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. During the visit, he said officials updated him on the

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Gianforte creates panel to help fill District Court vacancy

Gov. Greg Gianforte has created an advisory council to assist in finding the next district court judge for the vacancy on the Eighth Judicial District. The vacancy was created last month when the Montana Senate did not confirm Michelle Levine to the bench after former Gov. Steve Bullock appointed her to the seat last fall to fill the vacancy created

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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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State ending federal COVID unemployment benefits, launching return-to-work incentive

The state is launching a return-to-work bonus program using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and is ending its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs by June. That state will return to pre-pandemic unemployment insurance eligibility and benefits. The bonuses will be paid to unemployed individuals who rejoin the labor force and accept and maintain steady employment for

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