The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Articles written by Michael Siebert

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Montana legislative session comes to a close

HELENA -- The Montana Legislature adjourned Friday after a short and chaotic day of failed attempts to pass a package of bills that would have used bonding to fund infrastructure projects. Debate in t...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 26, 2017

As the 65th Montana Legislature winds down, a look a the big issues

HELENA -- After nearly five months of rigorous debate, Montana's 65th Legislative session is coming to a close. While lawmakers are only constitutionally required to draft and pass a two-year budget...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 19, 2017

How Montana lawmakers want to reshape health care

HELENA -- With the future of health care on the federal level still unclear, Republican lawmakers in Helena are pushing legislation that could reshape how Montanans access and pay for medical...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 19, 2017

Oil and gas leases, raw milk debated as legislature nears end

HELENA -- A legislative committee has tabled a lawmaker’s attempt to clarify how private land is leased to oil companies. Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, is the sponsor of House Bill 384, which would have revised language used... Full story

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 12, 2017

How the legislature might affect your taxes

HELENA -- When it comes to balancing the state budget, there are two schools of thought - raise taxes and generate revenue, or cut spending and save money. With the state facing a budget shortfall,...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 5, 2017

Bill would regulate telemedicine practices

With long distances between cities and frequent weather-related travel difficulties, it can often be hard to access medical services in Montana. Because of this, more patients are meeting with...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    April 5, 2017

Workers who care for Montanans with disabilities may see first major wage increase in nearly 20 years

HELENA -- With so much talk of money during Montana’s 65th Legislative Session, it can be difficult to comprehend how all that money affects everyday Montanans. This session, one group has become the de facto human face of the budget — direct...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 29, 2017

No easy solutions to Montana's drug epidemic

Liz Schwartz's brother overdosed in their parents' garage after sucking prescription opioids out of a used fentanyl patch. His mother found him on the floor and immediately called an ambulance. He...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 22, 2017

Budget dominates 2017 Legislative Session

The Montana Legislature is responsible for accomplishing a great deal during the 90 days it meets every two years. But lawmakers are actually only constitutionally required to do one thing - create...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 22, 2017

Lawmakers debate bills on infrastructure, abortion

HELENA -- As Republicans and Democrats grapple with how to fund statewide infrastructure projects at the Montana Legislature, one bill in the House aims to put that decision in the hands of local voters. House Bill 577, introduced by Rep. Dave Fern,...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 15, 2017

Legislature back to business after special election nominations

After uncertainty about how the upcoming special congressional election would change the makeup of the Montana Legislature, the nomination of Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte means it'...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 15, 2017

Special education struggles to find funding in the legislature

The main state budget bill at the Montana Legislature passed first reading last week with some surprises, like the restoration of $11.5 million to higher education funding, and some expected cuts. But one area has consistently struggled to find...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 1, 2017

Legislature hits halfway mark, budget still looms

The 65th Montana Legislative Session has reached its halfway point, and the state budget still weighs heavy. Both Republicans and Democrats are working to reach a compromise on how to fund state programs, with battles over other policy happening...

 
 By Michael Siebert    News    March 1, 2017

Daines speech, infrastructure bill, pipelines mark legislature's halfway mark

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines addressed the Montana House of Representatives last week, touching on his role in Washington, his support for the Keystone XL Pipeline and support for the appointment of Judge...

 

Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices one step closer to elimination

The Montana House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would shutter the Office of the Commissioner of Political Practices, which some critics say could put the integrity of Montana...

 

School choice, legislators with guns, veterans home spark debate at Montana Legislature

Montana lawmakers heard broad support last week for the construction of a new veterans home in Butte. During the final hearing on House Bill 14, which would fund a wide variety of infrastructure...

 

Education, budget, energy and infrastructure dominate Gov. Bullock's State of the State address

Gov. Steve Bullock outlined his goals for the 2017 Legislature Tuesday during his third State of the State address, including a responsible state budget, infrastructure, business growth and...

 

Legislators find common ground in overhauling state sexual assault laws

Though the 2017 Montana Legislative session has seen more than its fair share of partisan disputes, one issue has united lawmakers — reforming state law on rape and sexual assault. The Montana Senate advanced a package of bills last week that deal...

 

Montana lawmakers weigh privacy in the digital age

Section 10 of Montana’s Constitution states that “the right of individual privacy is essential to the well-being of a free society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state interest.” But as technology rapidly advance...

 

Budget defines first week of Montana Legislature

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...

 

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