Lawmakers and Gianforte administration officials tasked with allocating $150 million to bolster Montana’s post-COVID economy name business innovation, value-added ag, worker training and affordable housing as priorities.
The smoke and heat pummeling Montana have driven people to seek refuge at libraries, movie theaters, museums and other indoor venues. In areas with low COVID-19 vaccination rates where people have largely abandoned masks and physical distancing, health officials are concerned the result will be COVID outbreaks.
Montana’s health department has a draft plan to help tackle substance use and mental illness. It includes housing support, more care for inmates and a big financial boost for inpatient treatment. Public comment is open until Sep. 7.
With an expansive drought drying out vegetation across the state, 2021 is shaping up to be a particularly active year for Montana wildfires. MTFP’s new Fire Report has information on the location and size of fires reported across the state, as well air quality ratings for Montana communities with monitoring stations, updated hourly.
Montana’s districting commission adds legislative district criteria to previously adopted guidelines for dividing the state into U.S. House Districts. On their list: Equal population, compact, contiguous, in compliance with the Voting Rights Act — and maybe even competitive.