Tuesday, July 27, 2021


The latest on the PRO Act, which could bring major changes to labor law, especially in "right-to-work" states; and COVID spikes result in new mandates.


Travel restrictions are extended as Delta variant surges; some public-sector employers will mandate vaccines; President Biden says long-haul COVID could be considered a disability; and western wildfires rage.

Report Grades MT Lawmakers on Conservation, Energy Votes


Wednesday, May 19, 2021   

HELENA, Mont. - Conservation and clean-energy advocates found themselves playing defense on many occasions during Montana's 2021 legislative session. Now, a scorecard from Montana Conservation Voters rates how lawmakers did on these issues.

The report identifies a major victory this session in House Bill 701, which secured public-lands funding laid out in the recreational cannabis initiative passed by voters. But state Rep. Marilyn Marler, D-Missoula, who made the scorecard's honor roll, noted that victory had its own hurdles.

"If a bill is written and put on the ballot, and then the majority of people vote for it, then the Legislature's job at that point is to enact it," she said, "and it was really a fight just to get that basic amount done, but I'm glad that we were able to get that done."

Lawmakers who presented competing bills contended that the initiative's allocation of funds specifically for public lands was unconstitutional. State Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, was featured on the report's "dishonor roll" for introducing one of the competing bills to HB 701. In response to a request for a statement, Tschida said it was a "poor use of time" to comment.

One measure that sparked public outcry and protests across Montana was Senate Bill 379, which would have helped NorthWestern Energy prop up Colstrip at the expense of ratepayers. State Rep. Denise Hayman, D-Bozeman, who also made the Montana Conservation Voters' honor roll, said her office received thousands of comments in opposition to the bill.

"It's very different if you're trying to pass a very controversial bill, which this was," she said, "and you know that people are paying attention."

Bill sponsor Sen. Steven Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, did not respond to a request for comment.

Conservation groups also opposed bills that hurt efforts to bring more renewable energy to the state, such as a repeal of the Renewable Portfolio Standard. However, that bill was signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte last week.

get more stories like this via email
Smoke from the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon is blowing across Idaho and as far east as New York. (National Interagency Fire Center/Flickr)


BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …

Social Issues

DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …

Electrifying heat pumps are key to lowering the carbon cost of buildings. (SkyLine/Adobe Stock)


BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…

Social Issues

MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …

Studies show Medicaid expansion could reduce costs for Missouri's health-care system as a whole, by getting more patients preventive care, which is less expensive than emergency care. (torwaiphoto/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …

Social Issues

AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …


CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021