2017 MT Legislature

Jackie Yamanaka

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


Jackie Yamanaka

Possible budget cuts to the Department of Justice could force investigators to cancel proactive investigations into allegations of human trafficking in Montana. It was just one of the impacts brought to lawmaker’s attention if a 5% budget reduction is adopted.

The 2017 Legislature is faced with a dwindling savings account and slower revenue growth as they work to balance the state’s budget for the coming biennium. Joint House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are delving now into the agency’s budgets.


Jackie Yamanaka

GOP lawmakers lined up behind their leaders to challenge the Bullock Administration’s budget proposals

Republican legislators blame Democratic Governor Steve Bullock for Montana’s budget woes, saying they’ll fix the state’s ailing finances.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Montana Department of Justice reports there’s been a 100% increase in human trafficking cases between 2015 and 2016.  Attorney General Tim Fox says the number of rescues of both adult and juvenile victims was also up during this timeframe.


Budget Defines First Week of Montana Legislature

Jan 9, 2017
Jackie Yamanaka

 By Michael Siebert

Community News Service

University of Montana School of Journalism

HELENA -- Montana’s 2017 Legislature has begun to tackle a wide swath of issues, from public safety to infrastructure, from education to agriculture. But as the first of many bills were read in committee rooms around the Capitol last week, it became clear that everything this time around would focus on the budget.

Jackie Yamanaka

State agencies are offering up about $5.5 million from their current budgets to help lawmakers shore up the state’s checkbook.

Republican legislative leaders made the request in hopes the agencies would help them with the hard decision of further reducing budgets.


Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and legislative leaders say Montana’s state budget will get more intense focus during the 65th Legislature than in recent years. Officials are coming to this session facing declining revenues from natural resource extraction and lower tax collections that aren’t sufficient to pay for existing government services.


Legislative Fiscal Division

Montana’s cash cushion has grown smaller since the 2015 Legislative session largely because of declining revenue from natural resource extraction and lower tax collections.

That’s why lawmakers are summoning state agencies to see if they would make spending cuts in their current budgets to help Montana’s ailing “checkbook.”


Jackie Yamanaka

Governor Steve Bullock and the other statewide elected officials took their oaths of office and were sworn in during a ceremony that had to be moved inside to the Capitol Rotunda because of bitter cold temperatures.


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