This story is excerpted from the MT Lowdown, a weekly newsletter digest containing original reporting and analysis published every Friday.
Average annual increase in state General Fund spending proposed by Gov. Greg Gianforte’s 2023-25 budget. That’s equivalent to about $122 million in new spending annually during the two-year fiscal biennium that runs from July 2023 to June 2025, or roughly $111 per Montana resident. Gianforte’s Budget Director, Ryan Osmundson, argued in a press briefing last week that the increase represents a “very conservative budget” given the economy’s rapid rate of inflation, estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at 14% nationally over the last two years.
Gender-affirming care ban for transgender minors has second hearing
A bill to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors received nearly three hours of testimony Monday in its designated House committee, the first major action on the legislation since it passed out of the Senate in early February.
Missoula food group, area ranchers look to alleviate beef-processing bottleneck
Ranchers across the West often truck their cows hundreds of miles to meatpacking facilities that slaughter, butcher and package the meat for sale. The highway miles add financial burden to an industry that already struggles for economic sustainability.
Legislature moves to name highway after Blackfeet chief
The Legislature has passed a bill to rename a section of Montana Highway 89 on the Blackfeet Reservation after the late Blackfeet chief Earl Old Person. The bill is currently on Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk awaiting his signature, which would make the name change legally official.