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  • Threats to murder U.S. Sen. Jon Tester send Billings man to prison for 30 months

    Updated May 8, 2024

    U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana BILLINGS - A Billings man who admitted to threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in voicemail messages was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The defendant, Anthony James Cross, 30, pleaded guilty in January to threats to injure and murder a United States Senator. U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court...

  • Organic walnuts linked to E. coli outbreak

    Updated May 2, 2024

    Centers for Disease Control and prevention issued a warning Tuesday that natural food and cooperatives stores including some in Montana may have Gibson Farms Inc. organic walnut halves or pieces that are linked to an E. coli outbreak. "E. COLI OUTBREAK: If you buy organic walnut halves or pieces from bulk containers at natural food and co-op stores in AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, LA, MT, NE, NM, NV, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, or WY, check to see if your store had recalled...

  • Public Service Commission extends comment deadline for climate petition

    Updated May 1, 2024

    Amanda Eggert Montana Free Press The Montana Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to reopen comment on a petition that seeks to integrate climate impacts into the commission’s regulatory work. Following the commission’s 4-1 vote, the public will have until July 1 to weigh in on the petition, which asks regulators to adopt a framework for considering climate impacts in its oversight of monopoly power companies. At the recommendation of agency staff, commissioners will also take a closer look at the mechanics of implementing...

  • Montana Rep. Rosendale drops US House reelection bid, citing rumors and death threat

    Updated Mar 8, 2024

    AMY BETH HANSON and MATTHEW BROWN The Associated Press HELENA - Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana abruptly dropped his reelection bid today, the second time in the past month that the hardline conservative lawmaker has entered and then quickly dropped out of a congressional race. Rosendale cited defamatory rumors and a death threat against him that prompted the lawmaker to call law enforcement to check on his children as reasons for retiring at the end of his...

  • Rosendale running for reelection

    Updated Feb 29, 2024

    AMY BETH HANSON and MATTHEW BROWN The Associated Press HELENA - Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale announced Wednesday that he will seek reelection to his U.S. House seat representing eastern Montana, after he abandoned a short-lived Senate campaign under pressure from party leaders. Rosendale, a hardline conservative, bucked Republican Senate leaders earlier this month by briefly seeking the GOP nomination to run for the Senate seat held by three-term incumbent Democrat Jon...

  • Red Cross disaster volunteers respond to 25 home fires in January

    Updated Feb 21, 2024

    Press release MISSOULA — Red Cross volunteers responded to 25 home fires across Montana in January, helping 90 people with their most immediate needs like food, shelter, clothing and emotional support. Those responses included a multi-unit apartment fire in Missoula and home fires in Great Falls, Libby, Kalispell, Vaughn, Cut Bank, Helena, Livingston, Glendive, Lame Deer, Billings and Whitefish. So far in 2024, Red Cross has responded to 36 fires across the state and helped 102 people. The Red Cross of Montana often sees a...

  • Montana nuclear base lockdown lifted after suspicious person prompts active shooter report

    Updated Feb 16, 2024

    MATTHEW BROWN and AMY BETH HANSON The Associated Press BILLINGS — An Air Force nuclear missile base in central Montana was locked down by authorities for about two hours Thursday after an active shooter report sowed confusion and prompted officials to issue a shelter-in-place advisory for nearby schools. No shots were fired and nobody was injured at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, the base said as it lifted the lockdown in a statement posted to social media. A suspicious person on the base had been reported as an a...

  • Montana nuclear base lockdown lifted after suspicious person prompts active shooter report

    Updated Feb 16, 2024

    MATTHEW BROWN and AMY BETH HANSON The Associated Press BILLINGS — An Air Force nuclear missile base in central Montana was locked down by authorities for about two hours Thursday after an active shooter report sowed confusion and prompted officials to issue a shelter-in-place advisory for nearby schools. No shots were fired and nobody was injured at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, the base said as it lifted the lockdown in a statement posted to social media. A suspicious person on the base had been reported as an a...

  • Montana Rep. Rosendale drops US Senate bid after 6 days, citing Trump endorsement of opponent

    Updated Feb 16, 2024

    MATTHEW BROWN and AMY BETH HANSON The Associated Press BILLINGS - Montana Republican Congressman Matt Rosendale dropped his U.S. Senate bid Thursday, less than a week after he got into the race only to see former President Donald Trump quickly endorse his opponent. Rosendale, a hard-line conservative, said in a statement that with Trump's backing of fellow Republican Tim Sheehy and a lack of resources, "the hill was just too steep." Trump's endorsement came just hours after...

  • Gianforte says statewide sales tax off the table

    Updated Feb 15, 2024

    Eric Dietrich Montana Free Press Addressing his property tax task force at the group’s first formal meeting Wednesday, Gov. Greg Gianforte had two big messages: Figure out how to bring some permanent tax relief to Montana homeowners — and don’t do it by recommending a statewide sales tax. “As we and all Montanans know too well, property taxes are too high. That’s why we’re here — Montana homeowners need relief,” Gianforte said, detailing a list of goals that includes slowing how fast property taxes are growing and mak...

  • Record-low snowpacks endure despite midwinter storms

    Updated Feb 14, 2024

    Amanda Eggert Montana Free Press This story is excerpted from the MT Lowdown, a weekly newsletter digest containing original reporting and analysis published every Friday. Mid-January and early February storms brought some much-needed snow to the region, but a third of Montana’s basins continued to post record-low snowpacks as of Feb. 7, a situation likely to produce low summer streamflows and uncomfortably dry forests heading into fire season. The deficit is most pronounced east of the Continental Divide, according to d...

  • Judge blocks two pro-construction housing laws

    Updated Jan 4, 2024

    Eric Dietrich Montana Free Press A Gallatin County District Court judge has blocked two laws passed by the 2023 Montana Legislature that aimed to promote housing affordability by forcing cities to permit denser development in existing neighborhoods. The Dec. 29 order, by Judge Mike Salvagni, prevented the two laws from taking effect as scheduled on Jan. 1 while litigation of a legal challenge filed by a Bozeman-based homeowners group last month proceeds. The order doesn’t change the status of two other laws that are also c...

  • Counties say they'll buck governor on collecting full school property tax

    Updated Sep 29, 2023

    Eric Dietrich Montana Free Press A dispute over whether a Montana statute intended to cap property tax growth applies to a state-level school property tax escalated this week as several county governments said they plan to buck the Montana Department of Revenue’s direction to collect a full 95 mills for a tax that supports state school equalization funding. County commissioners from Beaverhead, Missoula, Richland and Fergus counties told Montana Free Press in interviews Thursday afternoon that they plan to bring motions b...

  • Montana students invited to 2023 Constitution Contest

    Updated Sep 19, 2023

    Press release HELENA — Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen announced the 2023 U.S. Constitution Contest Monday during a Constitution Day celebration in the rotunda of the State Capitol. Constitution Day is celebrated each Sept. 17 in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution Sept. 17, 1787. This year marked the 236th anniversary of the signing of the significant document. This year’s Constitution Contest — “What Promises of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution Mean the Most to Me and Why?” — is now open and su...

  • Company gets $2.6 million to relinquish oil lease on Montana land that's sacred to Native Americans

    Updated Sep 7, 2023

    MATTHEW BROWN The Associated Press BILLINGS — A Louisiana company will receive $2.6 million to relinquish the last remaining oil and gas lease on U.S. forest land near Montana’s Glacier National Park that’s sacred to Native Americans, government officials and attorneys involved in the deal said Friday. The deal would resolve a decades-long dispute over the 10-square-mile oil and gas lease in the mountainous Badger-Two Medicine area of northwestern Montana. The lease was issued in 1982 but has not been developed. It’s on the...

  • FWP Region 6 Citizen Advisory Council meeting set for Aug. 29

    Updated Aug 23, 2023

    Press release Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 6 Citizen Advisory Council — CAC — will meet near Saco from 10 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, at the Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs meeting room. The public is welcome to attend. FWP will give updates on wildlife season setting for 2024-25, fisheries plans and regulations, access projects, and more. Following a working lunch for CAC members and FWP staff, there will be a short tour of local FWP sites. Each of FWP’s seven administrative regions has a volunte...

  • FWP seeking public comment on several environmental assessments

    Updated Aug 23, 2023

    Press release HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on several environmental assessments, or EAs. For more information, including how to submit comments, people can visit https://fwp.mt.gov/public-notices or go tot the specific EA. Stoney Brook Village private fish pond license EA This project consists of a private pond constructed in Jefferson County with the intent to stock fish for angling. Comments due Aug. 30. https://fwp.mt.gov/public-notices/news/2023/aug/0809-stoney-br...

  • Registration open for Montana Historical Society Conference

    Updated Aug 17, 2023

    Press release State history enthusiasts are invited to gather Sept. 28-30 for the 50th annual Montana History Conference at the Delta Colonial Hotel in Helena — the same location they convened for the first time in 1974. Then, as now, the conference endeavors to explore underrepresented facets of regional history and to recognize that the past is a continuum and its people, events, successes, and failures perpetually impact the present and future. With this year’s “Building on the Past” theme, organizations will continu...

  • Scholarships program available to Montana tribal members in film production

    Updated Aug 17, 2023

    Press release HELENA — The Montana Department of Commerce, in partnership with Accelerate MT and The Media Training Center, has announced an opportunity for enrolled members of Montana’s tribal nations, a new scholarship program for a certified film production assistant — PA — course. The program’s goal is to increase the PA pool as well as employment opportunities among Montana’s Indigenous communities. This training will be offered in-person or on-line throughout Montana’s Indian Country. The Media Training Center, in co...

  • Carcinogens found at Montana nuclear missile sites as reports of hundreds of cancers surface

    Updated Aug 8, 2023

    TARA COPP The Associated Press WASHINGTON - The Air Force has detected unsafe levels of a likely carcinogen at underground launch control centers at a Montana nuclear missile base where a striking number of men and women have reported cancer diagnoses. A new cleanup effort has been ordered. The discovery "is the first from an extensive sampling of active U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile bases to address specific cancer concerns raised by missile community members," Air...

  • Governor vetoed bipartisan fix to Medicaid waiting list

    Updated Jul 18, 2023

    Mike Dennison KFF Health News Montana state Sen. Becky Beard thought she’d found a fix for a shortage of assisted living care options for Montanans who can’t afford to pay for it themselves — a shortage she became aware of while searching for a suitable place for her mother to live. Beard, a Republican from the rural town of Elliston, ushered a bill through the GOP-controlled Legislature this spring. The proposal would have moved more than 200 people off waiting lists for government-supported care and saved the state money...

  • Montana Pride derailed by anti-drag bill, lawsuit says

    Updated Jul 18, 2023

    Mara Silvers Montana Free Press LGBTQ+ advocates, nonprofits and businesses are suing the city of Helena for allegedly withholding permits for upcoming Pride events in light of the 2023 state law banning drag performances and story hours in public places. The new accusations from the Helena-based Montana Pride organizers are part of a lawsuit originally filed in early July in federal court. The plaintiffs in that case, including a transgender author, a public school teacher, local arts organizations, nonprofits, a brewery...

  • Montana water supply outlook good so far

    Updated Apr 12, 2023

    Press release BOZEMAN — As the state enters spring and the typical snowpack peak season, the water supply outlook is currently good across most of Montana. That can be attributed to consistent and mostly above normal precipitation this water year. “March precipitation continued the trend of exceptional moisture received this year on the east side of the Continental Divide,” said Eric Larson, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service water supply specialist. East of the divide, March precipitation ranged from about 100%...

  • Republicans vote down long- term property tax relief bill

    Updated Feb 16, 2023

    Eric Dietrich Montana Free Press House Republicans voted down a Democrat-backed bill Wednesday that would have used income tax credits to ease the squeeze placed on lower-income homeowners and renters by rising property taxes. House Bill 280, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Karlen, D-Missoula, aimed to offer a state income tax credit to homeowners making up to $130,000 a year to reimburse them for a portion of their property tax bill. It would also have let renters claim a credit for a portion of their rental bill assumed to be...

  • Lawmakers debate free speech, respect for transgender students

    Updated Feb 16, 2023

    Alex Sakariassen Montana Free Press Lawmakers in the Montana House engaged in pointed debate Wednesday about respect, faith and the ability of transgender, nonbinary and two-spirit students to feel safe in public schools. The discussion centered on House Bill 361, a measure brought by Rep. Brandon Ler, R-Savage, to establish that referring to a fellow student by a gender they do not claim or a birth name they no longer use — known as misgendering and dead-naming, respectively — is not legally discriminatory behavior. In his o...

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