YPRnews

Jackie Yamanaka

Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the state to accept $30 million from CoreCivic, the company that runs the private prison that houses some of the state's inmates. The company has offered to give the state that money in exchange for another 10 year contract to run the Shelby facility. The bill's sponsor says if Governor Steve Bullock accepts that offer then $15 m of that money would go into the wildfire fund and the rest could be used to soften cuts to state agency budgets.  Senate Bill 9 is part of the Republican majority's plan during the special legislative session to address the projected $227 m budget shortfall.

U.S. Senate Committee On Energy And Natural Resources

During a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, the head of Puerto Rico’s electric power authority, or PREPA, justified signing a controversial, $300 million contract with a small energy company in Montana. 

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The special session of the Montana Legislature got underway with lawmakers still at odds with the Bullock Administration on how to deal with the projected $227 million budget shortfall. One sticking point remains over a proposal to accept $30 million in exchange for extending the contract for a private prison in Shelby another 10 years should be part of the mix. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Montana Legislators are considering a temporary increase in lodging and car rental taxes to preserve some government services slated to be cut to address Montana’s projected $227 million budget shortfall. It's part of a 3-prong approach sought by Governor Steve Bullock that also includes budget cuts and fund transfers during the special Legislative Session that officially convenes Tuesday.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article misstated how much funding could be cut for Montana's schools and universities. It was $4.5 million, not $45 million.

As the Montana legislature faces down a $227 million dollar budget shortfall, the state’s university system could see some steep budget cuts.

In a deal that coincides with President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing this week, China’s largest online retailer says it will buy $200 million dollars worth of Montana beef over the next three years. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Former state Senator Lynda Moss of Billings says last winter’s Women’s March was one of the “tipping points” behind her announcement to enter the race for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. 

The Democrat says that event combined with a photograph she saw of President Donald Trump surrounded by other men deciding the future of health care for women helped seal her decision to run for Congress.


Bureau of Land Management

In the next month or so, the Trump administration will announce its plan to shrink or modify large national monuments across the country. Some people are heralding the decision, saying these designations are federal land grabs that strangle local economies and kill jobs. 

Others say national monuments help local economies by boosting tourism. But an economist from Utah told a crowd in Bozeman on Thursday they might both be wrong.

The Trump administration has issued the latest blow in a trade war between the United States and Canada. The fight is over lumber and while it could save timber jobs in Montana, it's also creating a lot of uncertainty in Canada.

State of Montana

Public memorials are scheduled Friday in Helena and Saturday in Butte for former Montana Governor Judy Martz, the state's first and only female governor and lieutenant governor to date.

Martz will be lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

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