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.

Montana Free Press was founded by veteran award-winning investigative and political reporter John S. Adams. John was formerly the Capital Bureau Chief of the Great Falls Tribune and a correspondent for USA TODAY. John is known as a dogged investigator and the host of the MT Lowdown podcast whose unbiased reporting has changed the shape of Montana politics. Contact John at, or follow him on Twitter.