Latest 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…

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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.

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Transgender Montanans and allies slam DPHHS birth certificate rule

Dozens of Montanans testified Thursday in opposition to the state health department’s new rule that effectively bars transgender people from updating the sex on their birth certificate. The meeting was the first opportunity for the public to weigh in on the temporary rule, which DPHHS wants to make permanent.

Legislative Services director retires after 33-year career

In a Q-and-A with Montana Free Press, recently retired Legislative Services Executive Director Susan Byorth Fox reflects on nonpartisanship, what it takes to make a complex Legislature run smoothly, and how Montana politics have changed since she “caught the bug” in 1989.

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