2017 MT Legislature

A bill intended to save counties hundreds of thousands of dollars in the upcoming special election for Montana's vacant U.S. House seat brought heated testimony and debate Thursday in the Capitol.

Senate Bill 305 would allow counties the option of running the May 25 election entirely through mail-in-ballots. Great Falls Republican Senator Steve Fitzpatrick introduced his bill to the House Judiciary Committee:

Bill Would Provide Option For Montanans To Comply With Federal Real ID Act

Mar 29, 2017

Montana is facing a deadline at the end of this year to comply with a 2005 federal mandate called the 'Real ID Act,' which requires states to meet minimum security standards for identification cards used to access federal facilities or get through airport security.

A Montana legislative panel has rejected a bill that called for a statewide vote on whether to bar transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that don't match their gender at birth.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 against the bill today. It is likely dead, though it could be revived if enough votes flip in the committee or if a majority of representatives blast it to the House floor.

Montana State University

Lawmakers gave preliminary approval to two bills that issue bonds to pay for numerous public works and building projects. Changes to House Bill 645 now make the proposal closer to the Senate’s bonding bill.


A proposal to increase tobacco taxes, which would also impose Montana's first ever tax on vapor and e-cigarettes got its first debate in the Senate Monday morning. The bill introduced by Helena Democrat Mary Caferro calls for a $1.50 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, and at least that much on standard cans of chew. It also proposes 24 percent tax increase on the wholesale price of all tobacco products, including cigarettes and snuff.

Jackie Yamanaka

This week on Capitol Connections YPR's Jackie Yamanaka is joined in conversation by two state Representatives, Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings, and Kim Abbott, D-Helena.

Governor Steve Bullock's office warned lawmakers Tuesday that they’re risking a special legislative session and budget cuts if they rely too much on new, more optimistic state revenue projections to fund the state budget.

Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Bill 331, like Montana’s existing resort tax, would have allowed larger municipalities to ask their voters whether to impose a sales tax on so-called luxury goods and services purchased by tourists and visitors.  This bill had a twist in that it would sunset after the identified infrastructure project was completed.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill to continue to allow tribal members to hunt buffalo near Yellowstone National Park in accordance with the traditional ceremonies of each tribe.

There had been a sunset on the original legislation that granted 2 free state issued buffalo hunting permits per year to tribes. House Bill 108 seeks to continue the practice.


Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Republicans are moving quickly on an infrastructure bill. The Senate Finance and Claims committee on a 15-3 vote Friday afternoon approved a nearly $99 million dollar bonding bill. The action sends Senate Bill 367 to the floor for debate.

The Bullock Administration supported the Senate bill but spoke against the House Republican’s infrastructure package this morning.

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