The Legislature finally agreed to Lee Newspapers’ request to release all the names of state lawmakers covered by taxpayer funded health care benefits.

Mike Dennison has the story here.

The Legislature’s former chief legal counselor, Rob Stutz, initially denied Dennison’s request in January.

Lee Newspapers indicated that it planned to sue, but held off after Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, and Sen. Kendall Van Dyk, D-Billings, introduced a bill  that would require the Legislature to disclose the information.

Senate Bill 284 passed the Senate 47-3, but was tabled Wednesday without debate in the House Human Services committee.

Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, attempted to blast the motion on the House floor today. GOP opponents argued that the measure was aimed at “embarrassing Republicans” for criticizing federal health care reforms while at the same time accepting taxpayer-funded health benefits. The motion failed 38-54.

Nevertheless, the Legislature today released the names of lawmakers accepting benefits.

Here’s the list.

Here’s the letter Legislative Services Division Executive Director Susan Fox wrote to Dennison.

John Adams began his professional career in 2001 in Idaho Falls, ID writing and editing for a variety of trade magazines. He covered topics ranging from potato and sugar beet farming to skate park and playground construction and maintenance. Adams started his newspaper career as the city government reporter for the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, WI where he covered the City Hall, police, fire and local courthouse beats. In 2005 he joined the staff of the Missoula Independent in Missoula, MT where he worked as a staff reporter covering a wide range of issues including the environment,...