Corin Cates-Carney

Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.

Corin has worked for NPR, and is a UM Journalism School Graduate.

Montana’s retirement system is in good shape compared to the rest of the country. That’s what national pension researchers told state lawmakers today.

Keith Brainard, the Research Director for the National Association of State Retirement Administrators told a legislative committee that since the Great Recession, the big question for state pension plans is, "are they sustainable?"

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today said his agency should be a partner with oil and gas companies that seek to drill on public land. He said that long regulatory reviews with an uncertain outcome are "un-American."

Speaking to a major energy-industry conference today, Zinke described the Trump administration's efforts to increase offshore drilling, reduce regulations, and streamline inspections of oil and gas operators.

Access to mental health services and addiction treatment, something that has never been great in Montana, could see a significant funding reduction next month as the state health department reduces its substance disorder services.

"If I wouldn’t have had that I probably wouldn’t be alive today. They saved my life," Jennifer Munger says.

State lawmakers will receive the legislative audit report Wednesday morning. It says that two public retirement plans are not actuarially sound, meaning the plans will take longer than the 30 years required by law to have enough money to cover the cost of anticipated future retirements.

A group of disability rights advocates are calling on Governor Steve Bullock to immediately backfill some of the more than $49 million in cuts to the state health department made during the special legislative session last year. But, the governor’s office says it doesn’t have the power to do that.

Two healthcare groups plan to ask Montana voters to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion in November, and to fund it with a higher tax on tobacco .

The Montana Hospital Association and the American Heart Association filed ballot language today.

Montana ranks among the top three states in the nation per capita for traumatic brain injuries, according to industry workers and advocacy groups. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, include strokes, brain infections, or a hit to the head that causes brain damage. 

Students in Helena are joining the March For Our Lives movement spurred by the  slaying of 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida last week. They met Wednesday night.

Now that Montana is a few months removed from a special legislative session called by Governor Bullock to balance the state budget, Montana Public Radio is checking in with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to get their thoughts on what’s happened since they left Helena.

Party leaders on both sides of the aisle have blamed each other for some of the results of cuts in state spending made amid the more than $200 million budget shortfall. The greatest public outcry is coming over the more than $49 million cut from the state's health department.

Last week we aired a conversation about the budget with Representative Nancy Ballance, a Hamilton Republican and legislative finance leader. Today, we’re hearing from Representative Jenny Eck, a Helena Democrat.

The primary race that will select political challengers for U.S. Democratic Senator Jon Tester and Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte is less than four months away. Between now and then Montana Public Radio is talking with voters about political issues that are important to them.

On Valentine's Day last week, I drove around Great Falls to the bars where the town’s billiards league was racking up their weekly matches so I could find out what Great Falls voters were thinking about.

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