Latest Headlines

Governor Gianforte Prohibits Vaccine Passports In Montana

Governor Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order. It prohibits so-called vaccine passports in Montana and also prohibits businesses from requiring customers to show they’ve been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to receive services or enter a business.

Since summer 2019 even during the pandemic the community of Lewistown has contributed a half million dollars to purchase mammograms and Karen Kuhlman the Chair of the Central Montana Medical Center couldn’t be happier. She talked about it Tuesday during Voices of Montana’s Tow Rope Tour highlighting the central Montana town and its residents.

Johnson and Johnson Vaccine Paused In Montana

Montana health officials have temporarily halted administering the single dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until an investigation into whether the vaccine is linked to an exceptionally rare type of blood clotting is complete. Montana has utilized far more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in immunizing residents than the Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

A new poll finds Montanans do not support a bill in the legislature allowing NorthWestern Energy to buy more coal-fired power from the Colstrip Power Plant raising concerns it would increase ratepayer’s bills and sidestep regulation. Richard Liebert a ranch owner in Great Falls believes the state should move on to solar and wind.

Biden Infrastructure Report Details Improvements For Montana

According to a new infrastructure report card from the Biden White House, Montana has 377 bridges and more than 1,485 miles of highway in poor condition and one in four of the state’s public transit vehicles is ready for the scrapyard. The report card gives Montana’s overall infrastructure health a C grade and highlights how the package would address various needs.

AARP Montana’s Director of Government Affairs Mike Batista was on Voices of Montana Monday. He mentioned a bill on telehealth his organization is watching after another one on telehealth awaits the governor’s signature.

Transgender Athletics Bill Moves Through House Of Representatives

The House of Representatives voted Monday to keep a bill that would limit transgender women’s rights alive by sending it to a committee to rectify differences between the House and Senate versions. James Bradley from the University of Montana Legislative News Service reports that House Bill 112 would bar transgender women from competing on women’s sports teams. It narrowly passed the Senate on a 29 to 21 vote with an amendment that would nullify the act if the federal government condemns it. Whitefish Republican Representative John Fuller the bill’s sponsor asked the House to not pass the Senate’s amended version. He said rather than immediately nullifying the act if the federal government strikes it down the state should wait for a lengthy appeals process.

Billings City Council Discusses Ordinance For Illegal Massage Parlors

Legislation that would have required the state health department to check a significantly broader network of data when qualifying people for public assistance programs was voted down Monday evening. Senate Bill 100 would have also ended continuous eligibility for Medicaid expansion in the state. A fiscal note for the most recent version of the bill estimated 277 children would lose coverage, as well as 252 adults on standard Medicaid and 1,308 on Medicaid expansion.

Also Monday evening the Billings City Council cracked down on illegal massage parlors in the Magic City. Mayor Bill Cole.

Local Montana Wineries See Potential For Growth Across The State

A new study by security.org shows Montana has the 15th highest rate of homelessness in America.  Using data released in March from the Department of Housing and Urban Development the study on the State of Homelessness in 2021 released today saw a substantial 13% annual increase in its homeless population in Montana the fourth largest increase in the nation. Montana’s homeless rate of 143 per 100,000 residents is below the national average of 74.

On Voices of Montana Monday, the President of the Winery Association of Montana and owner of Flathead Lake Winery Larry Robertson talked about his impression of the legislature’s appreciation of the wine industry.