Latest Helena News

Montana bill would limit rulemaking by local health boards

Jan. 16, 2021 1:11 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House is considering a bill that would make decisions by local health boards in response to crises subject to approval by elected officials. Under existing Montana law, the boards, which are appointed by elected officials, have the authority to issue rules to address...

Montana lawmakers haggle over mask rules in staff offices

Jan. 14, 2021 8:44 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican leaders in Montana’s Legislature rejected an effort Thursday to make stronger an agreement that lawmakers will wear masks while meeting with legislative staffers in their offices to discuss bill drafts, amendments or other issues, saying it wasn't needed. The...

GOP lawmakers reject effort to require masks around staff

Jan. 14, 2021 2:48 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Republican leaders in Montana’s Legislature refused Thursday to require lawmakers to wear masks while meeting with legislative staffers in their offices to discuss bill drafts, amendments or other issues. The Legislature’s COVID-19 response panel met for a second time to...

Suspects plead guilty in 2019 Helena-area stabbing death

Jan. 13, 2021 2:32 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two people charged in the 2019 beating and stabbing death of a Helena man have reached plea agreements with Lewis and Clark County prosecutors just weeks ahead of their trials. Dewayne William Johnson pleaded guilty but mentally ill to mitigated deliberate homicide in the death of...

The House State Administration Committee hears testimony on HB 122, a bill seeking to revise the state's disaster and emergency services and executive power, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, at the State Capitol in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

Montana bill seeks to limit governor's power in disasters

Jan. 12, 2021 6:56 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana House committee on Tuesday debated a bill to limit the governor's power to issue orders during declared disasters lasting longer than two months and shift that authority to state lawmakers during emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic. The measure comes in response to...

Bill would allow domestic violence recordings as evidence

Jan. 12, 2021 3:20 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow victims of domestic violence to secretly record phone calls or interactions with the perpetrator and use the recordings as evidence in court. Under Montana law, it is illegal to record a conversation without the knowledge of all...

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2020, file photo, state Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, speaks during a meeting of the Joint Rules Committee on the House floor of the Montana State Capitol, in Helena, Mont. A new bill under consideration in the Montana House would relax restrictions on guns in the state by allowing concealed carrying of firearms on college campuses. The latest measure would make the state safer by doing away with “gun free zones,

Montana gun bill would allow concealed carry at universities

Jan. 11, 2021 4:22 PM EST

HELENA, Mont (AP) — A new bill under consideration in the Montana House would relax restrictions on guns in the state by allowing concealed carrying of firearms on college campuses. Republicans, who hold majorities in the state House and Senate, have prioritized the measure amid renewed hope it will be...

CLARIFICATION: XGR-Committee-Video Testimony story

Jan. 6, 2021 7:40 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana lawmaker's decision to block residents from testifying before a Senate committee via videoconferencing didn't last very long Tuesday before the chairs of all Senate committees decided to allow such testimony during the coronavirus pandemic. State Sen. Keith Regier, a...

Demonstrators gather on the south side of the Montana State Capitol urging people to wear masks in Helena, Mont. on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. The 67th session of the Montana Legislature began amid dueling protests outside the Capitol over state directives to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many Republicans chose not to wear masks during their swearing-in ceremonies. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

Montana legislature begins session amid dueling protests

Jan. 4, 2021 8:24 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The 67th session of the Montana Legislature began Monday with dueling protests outside the Capitol over pandemic directives, as Republican leaders hinted they will ease restrictions put in place by the former Democratic governor to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Legislature adopted...

Legislators from the House of Representatives are sworn in to office at the State Capitol on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

Statehouses could prove to be hothouses for virus infection

Jan. 4, 2021 5:48 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — As lawmakers around the U.S. convene this winter to deal with the crisis created by the pandemic, statehouses themselves could prove to be hothouses for infection. Many legislatures will start the year meeting remotely, but some Republican-controlled statehouses, from Montana to...