The campaign rhetoric, struggles for political power and results of the 2022 election converge in the 68th meeting of the Montana Legislature.

Join us Monday mornings for The Session — a breakdown of the latest action we’re watching in the statehouse, produced by Montana Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and Montana Free Press.


The Session: Time is running out

There are only a few days left in the 2023 legislative session. The recent decision to ban Missoula Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr from the House floor derailed legislative business. Host Mara Silvers and reporters Shaylee Ragar, Eric Dietrich and Amanda Eggert discuss what to expect in the final days of the session and the last minute deals on the budget and housing policy.


The Session: Tensions are running high

As the 2023 legislative session sprints to the finish line, tensions are running high over bills targeting transgender Montanans and environmental regulation. Host Corin Cates-Carney and reporters Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Ellis Juhlin, and Mara Silvers discuss what to expect in the final days of the legislature as lawmakers scramble to reach sine die.


The Session: Housing policy, school choice, and a historic number of bills

Host Nadya Faulx and reporters Shaylee Ragar, Eric Dietrich, and Alex Sakariassen discuss lawmakers finding agreement to advance housing zoning policy,  unclear future on housing subsidies, dueling visions of what school choice policy should look like in Montana and legislative staff working thousands of hours of overtime to keep up with all the bills.


The Session: Last-minute bills, LGBTQ rights and a jungle primary

Last week was another major deadline for lawmakers to pass bills out of one house and send them to the other. We saw hundreds of bills move through both chambers and saw a push from lawmakers to introduce new legislation in time to meet that deadline. 


The Session: Constitutional amendments, affordable housing, and climate

It’s legislative day 66. We’re in the home stretch of the 2023 legislative session. It’s time to debate changes to Montana’s Constitution. Lawmakers look at ways to address the state’s affordable housing crisis and make rules about what local governments should and shouldn’t be able to do to address climate change.


The Session: GOP controls the budget and lawmakers collaborate on elk management

A 14 billion dollar budget passed out of the Montana House with support from the Republican supermajority. Democrats don’t have the power to change it, but they still tried. Host Nadya Faulx and reporters Eric Dietrich, Ellis Juhlin, and Arren Kimbel-Sannit discuss the debate over how the state should spend tax dollars. The spending plan calls for a deal to send state inmates to an out-of-state private prison. And a package of legislation could change how and where people can hunt elk.


The Session: Health care funding, childcare initiatives, and vaccine bills

We’re on day 55 of the 90 day session. This week we’re talking about health care funding, childcare initiatives and vaccine bills.


The Session:  Past halfway point, lawmakers buckle down on the budget

Hundreds of bills were left on the cutting room floor at the legislative session’s midway point. Now, as lawmakers head into the second half, they’re turning more of their attention to finalizing the state’s next two-year budget. Host Corin Cates-Carney and reporters Ellis Juhlin and Eric Dietrich discuss what they’re watching now that the Legislature has rounded the critical transmittal break.


The Session Live: The first 45 days

The 2023 Montana legislative session has just passed its halfway mark, so the hosts and reporters of The Session podcast came together with a live audience to discuss everything that’s transpired under the Capitol dome thus far. Watch and listen as reporters and editors from Montana Free Press, Montana Public Radio and Yellowstone Public Radio examine the major developments from the Montana Legislature’s first 45 days and answer listener questions.


Deadline rush includes abortion access debate

Reporters Mara Silvers and Shaylee Ragar discuss this week’s deadline for lawmakers to pass general bills out of their original chamber. There’s a lot of policy to consider, including rules about access to abortion.


Health department spending and colliding world views

This week, lawmakers are starting to piece together the biggest part of the state budget, and worldviews about LGBTQ rights are colliding over rules for public schools.


The Session:  The judiciary, tax rebates and the budget surplus

Today is legislative day 26 out of 90. And this week, we’re talking about changes to the judicial branch, the budget surplus and tax proposals.


A speech, a crowded hearing room and the cost of defending laws

Governor Greg Gianforte delivers a State of the State address that focuses on economic growth but lawmakers are turning their attention to social issues. Host Nadya Faulx and reporters Shaylee Ragar, Mara Silvers, and Austin Amestoy discuss the governor’s speech, debate over transgender rights and abortion, and why the state is asking for more money to defend laws in court.


Relationships in the Capitol

The life cycle of legislation is just getting started. The mechanics of public power are sorting and sifting policy, and much of that work starts with the building of relationships. Montana Public Radio’s Corin Cates-Carney speaks with Eric Dietrich of Montana Free Press and MTPR’s Ellis Juhlin.


Taxes, missing persons and child welfare

Bills to reform Montana tax policy, support missing persons search efforts and overhaul Child Protective Services move through the Legislature. Host Mara Silvers and reporters Ellis Juhlin and Shaylee Ragar discuss the legislation they’re watching this week — along with the schisms between and within the parties that are starting to form.


‘The House is ready for business’ 

Montana lawmakers take their oaths of office and begin their work in the state Capitol. Host Nadya Faulx and reporters Shaylee Ragar, Ellis Juhlin, and Arren Kimbel-Sannit discuss a rules debate that’s dividing the GOP, how moderate Republicans are working with Democrats, a new Montana Freedom Caucus, and the beginnings of the state budget.

season 2 preview

‘Everybody smile, we’re running the place’ 

With the 2022 election over, Montana Republicans hold power not seen in the state capitol in nearly a century. Lawmakers arrive in Helena on Jan. 2 to begin a new session. Before then, here’s a recap of what’s happened and a look forward at what to expect.