Regional Politics

Failed Legislation Means Uncertainty For Colstrip's Future

May 4, 2017

When Montana's 2017 Legislature adjourned on April 28, Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, ended almost right where he began.

At the session's beginning, he helped draw up several bills that would help his community, which is facing the impending closure of two out of four units at its massive coal-fired electrical plant. By the time lawmakers left the Capitol, many of the bills – aimed at easing impacts on jobs, tax revenues and real estate – were dead.

Three Montana cities have passed school bonds for construction, including a $125 million bond in Bozeman to build a new high school and remodel the current one.

With less than a month left until Montana’s special election to replace former Representative Ryan Zinke, some voters are casting their ballots early.

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist is hoping voters will shy away from Republican Greg Gianforte because of his investments in Russian business stocks.

In Saturday night’s debate sponsored by MTN News Quist said, "Mr. Gianforte has a quarter-of-a-million dollars in stocks in Russian companies that the US has on the sanction list."

Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat, got statewide exposure in the race’s only televised debate Friday, produced and broadcast by MTN News.

"We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over, and we get the same result: People back in Washington that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re beholden to special interests, they’re taking lobbyist money. I’m not beholden to any of that." Wicks said during the debate.

Montana Television Network

Absentee ballots will be put in the mail beginning today to start the special election to fill Montana’s vacant U.S. House Seat.

The three candidates seeking the state’s lone seat are all outsiders, having never served before in elective office.

They faced off Saturday night in a “live” televised debate sponsored by the Montana Television Network.  It's the only debate preceding the forthcoming May 25th special election.


Rob Quist has been rallying college students in Bozeman and Missoula this week.

The Democratic candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat was in Bozeman Sunday and Wednesday, and Missoula Thursday. The spring semester at MSU ends May 5, and at UM, May 12, that’s well before in-person voting day in the special election which is May 25.

Affordable and easily accessible childcare is just as elusive in Montana as it is everywhere else in America. At a luncheon Tuesday, a Missoula County group called Healthy Start Missoula that’s supported by a federal grant laid out the challenges and offered one potential private-sector solution.

Healthy Start Coordinator, Anna Semple, says parents now have precious few infant childcare options:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order today directing his Interior secretary to review the designation of dozens of national monuments on federal lands. Trump called the protection efforts "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

A tax on medical marijuana is now on it’s way to the governor's desk after passing out of the House Tuesday morning.

A signature from Governor Steve Bullock is now all that stands in the way of a tax on medical marijuana providers becoming law.

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