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The Legislature’s newest member is Rep. Naarah Hastings, R-Billings, whom the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners selected this week to replace former Republican Rep. Mallerie Stromswold.
Stromswold resigned earlier this month, citing her mental health and an at times hostile Republican caucus. Her resignation left an open seat in House District 50, setting into motion the complicated vacancy process laid out in statute.
The Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee advanced three candidates to the county commissioners last week: Hastings, former county commissioner Denis Pitman, and attorney Anthony Nicastro. As Stromswold was a Republican, so too were all the candidates to replace her.
Hastings, the eventual pick, is a transplant from Washington state who owns a doughnut shop in Billings and founded a talent acquisition company. Her LinkedIn page notes that she’s also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu athlete.
“We’re glad to have a full family,” House Speaker Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, told reporters Tuesday morning in introducing Hastings.
Aside from Stromswold, the Legislature has been riddled with vacancies over the last few weeks. Sen. Terry Gauthier, R-Helena, resigned to go on a globe-trotting motorcycle trip — his seat was filled by now-Sen. Becky Beard, R-Elliston. Beard’s departure from the House to take Gauthier’s place left her House seat open — that seat was filled by Rep. Zack Wirth, R-Wolf Creek. Meanwhile, Rep. Douglas Flament, R-Lewistown, himself a vacancy filler, resigned due to health problems. He was replaced by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred.
Gianforte announces leadership change at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Dustin Temple, who’s been serving as the agency’s acting director, will take Worsech’s place overseeing the department. Worsech, who’d been on medical leave since February, is retiring from FWP for a second time. Prior to taking the director post, Worsech served as the agency’s license bureau chief.
As Medicaid purge begins, ‘staggering numbers’ of Americans lose coverage
The overwhelming majority of people who have lost coverage in most states were dropped because of technicalities, not because state officials determined they no longer meet Medicaid income limits. Four out of every five people dropped so far either never returned the paperwork or omitted required documents, according to a KFF Health News analysis of data from 11 states that provided details on recent cancellations.
More states OK postpartum Medicaid coverage beyond two months
Montana Lawmakers in the recently ended legislative session voted for a state budget that contains $6.2 million in state and federal funds over the next two years to extend continuous postpartum eligibility from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy.