Montana Free Press

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Montana StatePosted by
Montana Free Press

Montana health care laws are getting a cleanup crew

HELENA — As the 67th Montana Legislature got underway this winter, Montana Nurses Association Executive Director Vicky Byrd set to the task of soliciting input from health care professionals about desired changes to state law. One theme that emerged from those conversations was the denial by some health care facilities and insurance companies of medical form signatures from advanced practice registered nurses — denials that flew in the face of a law passed in 2019 granting Montana APRNs signature authority parity with physicians.
Kalispell, MTPosted by
Montana Free Press

Back to the bargaining table

Two weeks after hundreds of hospital nurses walked off the job in Kalispell for three days over what they say are unfair labor practices, inadequate staffing and sub-par pay, union representatives and management at Logan Health met again on Tuesday in an effort to sort out their differences. Members of...
PoliticsPosted by
Montana Free Press

How Austin Knudsen is flipping the script of attorney general

Lawyers, like members of other professions, tend to have overarching standards, both codified and unspoken, about how to do their jobs. Pursue truth. Protect your client. Be overly prepared for questions. Inherently, attorneys argue their cases within an established legal framework that they’re sworn to uphold. As the Montana State...
POTUSPosted by
Montana Free Press

Building better backup

By the time Kiki Radermacher, a mental health therapist, arrived at a Missoula home on an emergency 911 call in late May, the man who had called for help was backed into a corner and yelling at police officers. The home, which he was renting, was about to be sold....
CelebritiesPosted by
Montana Free Press

The Crazy Mountains’ next act

An island range patterned with checkerboard land ownership, the Crazy Mountains are the backdrop to one of the most “vexing” land-use debates in the state. Crow Indians, the Northern Pacific Railroad, the U.S. Forest Service, ranchers, recreationists and politicians have all claimed ownership in parts of the Crazy Mountains at various times, seeding more than a century of access and land-use disputes that continue today. Between an active lawsuit, two land-swap proposals winding through Forest Service administrative channels, and pending development of some of the largest private properties in the foothills of the Crazies, the future of one of the state’s most iconic and disputed landscapes is playing out now. Today we publish Part III of a three-part series exploring the past, present and future of Montana’s Crazy Mountains.
Energy IndustryPosted by
Montana Free Press

TC Energy scraps Keystone XL pipeline

The 13-year saga of the Keystone XL pipeline came to a close yesterday when TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, announced that it is terminating the project. Though the pipeline project has experienced multiple turns of fortune intersecting all three branches of the federal government and multiple state regulators since it was first proposed in 2008, President Joe Biden’s January reversal of the cross-border permit that had been issued by his predecessor is widely regarded as having sealed the project’s fate. If completed, the pipeline would have moved 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Alberta tar sands to the Gulf Coast.
Helena, MTPosted by
Montana Free Press

OPI asks feds to approve COVID relief spending

HELENA — The Montana Office of Public Instruction submitted a plan to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday outlining how it intends to spend $382 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. The plan reflects more than a month of legislative debate this spring over the allocation of money from the...
Montana StatePosted by
Montana Free Press

Hecla forging ahead with northwest Montana mines

Officials with an Idaho-based mining company developing two large copper and silver mines in Northwest Montana said they are undeterred by a recent ruling that could let the state label its CEO a “bad actor” because of a failed mine clean-up more than two decades ago in a different part of the state.
PoliticsPosted by
Montana Free Press

PSC rebuked after audit suggests waste of state resources

The Legislative Audit Committee delivered a blistering critique of the Public Service Commission during its review of a routine agency audit, which highlighted concerns about the competence of individual commissioners and staffers and outlined expenditures that point to a potential waste of state resources. During a Monday afternoon hearing, the...
Billings, MTPosted by
Montana Free Press

Medical school clash revives for-profit vs. nonprofit flap

Two universities are eyeing the chance to be the first to build a medical school in one of the few states without one. The jockeying of the two schools — one a nonprofit, the other for-profit — to open campuses in Montana highlights the rapid spread of for-profit medical learning centers despite their once-blemished reputation.
Montana StatePosted by
Montana Free Press

Think tank policy and the 67th Montana Legislature

HELENA — Over the past six months, lawmakers across the country have transformed their respective legislative chambers into battlegrounds over emergency management and emergency powers — a charged response to the restrictions numerous governors put in place in bids to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Just last week the Texas Legislature...
Kalispell, MTPosted by
Montana Free Press

Out of house and home

KALISPELL — On a sunny Saturday morning before Memorial Day, when many residents of the Flathead Valley were headed for the lake or hitting the trails, Amber Hogan was packing. Hogan is originally from the Midwest and first came to the Flathead Valley in 2018. Like so many others who...