Montana Senate passes public record request bill
What constitutes a “timely” response to public records requests could become quite a bit clearer if Senate Bill 232 passed the Montana Legislature. The proposal by Sen. Janet Ellis, D-Helena, unanimously passed the Senate on March 2.
Latest Government Reporting
Department of Justice seeks funding boost
The Montana Department of Justice is asking for a funding boost to hire more attorneys and pay legal expenses, citing, among other cost drivers, an increased “volume of constitutional challenges to state laws,” agency officials told a budget subcommittee last week.
Gallus named Montana’s new political practices commissioner
In accepting Gianforte’s appointment as commissioner of political practices, attorney Chris Gallus acknowledged his past work defending candidates in COPP disputes and said he fully intends to uphold Montana’s constitution and campaign practice laws.
Tschida to join PSC as executive director
Former Missoula lawmaker Brad Tschida will be joining the staff of the Public Service Commission as its second executive director, the agency announced.
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MORE GOVERNMENT REPORTING
The OPI shuffle
Last month, state Superintendent Elsie Arntzen announced a bit of agency shuffling at a privately owned office building on the corner of 11th and Montana avenues in Helena, just a few blocks north of the Capitol complex. As part of Arntzen’s ongoing effort to shrink her agency’s physical footprint, the Office of Public Instruction vacated…
Gianforte budget proposal puts state surplus toward tax cuts, infrastructure and Montana State Hospital
Gov. Greg Gianforte said Thursday the budget proposal he’ll submit to next year’s Montana Legislature will include more than $1 billion in income and property tax cuts while also using the state’s budget surplus to create a child tax credit, spur housing development and invest in health care and correctional facilities.
Lawmakers set to debate child welfare reforms
After six months of study, state lawmakers are set to debate a draft bill this week that could bring significant reforms to Montana’s child welfare system — changes some lawmakers and legal observers say are long overdue.
Gianforte wields ‘executive privilege’ argument against sensitive records requests
In two lawsuits, one brought by an environment and public lands activist and the other brought by the Montana Environmental Information Center, the Gianforte administration has argued the governor’s “deliberative process” should be exempt from the state’s open records law. Plaintiffs counter that they believe the Montana Constitution’s right to know provision guarantees them access…
Superintendent Arntzen pitches a revenue redirect
Over the past month, Superintendent Elsie Arntzen has floated a request to redirect revenue for teacher licensing fees from the Board of Public Education to OPI — a move designed to cover the ongoing expenses of her agency’s new licensing system.
Dems want $1 billion of Montana’s budget surplus spent on housing, childcare and mental health
A Democratic proposal outlined Wednesday signals the minority party’s budget priorities heading into the 2023 Montana Legislature. Barring an upset in this fall’s elections, though, it’ll be Republicans in the fiscal driver’s seat.
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