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. 


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…

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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State Library Commission votes down proposed prism logo

Commissioners for the Montana State Library voted Tuesday to reject a redesigned logo for the agency, weeks after some commissioners raised concerns that the logo’s color scheme resembled an LGBTQ Pride flag.

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.


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