In The News


Montana gets $126M to expand rural broadband service

Six internet providers are expected to extend broadband service to nearly 46,000 homes and businesses in rural Montana with nearly $126 million from the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC announced Monday it will grant $9.2 billion to internet providers from its Rural Development Opportunity Fund over the next 10 years, following an auction that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called "the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide." Big winners in the auction include Elon Musk's… Continue Reading


FCC Funds Montana Broadband Expansion

The Federal Communications Commission completed an auction that selected companies who will increase high-speed internet access to Montana and the rest of rural America. The companies include cable operators, electric cooperatives, telephone companies, satellite companies and fixed wireless providers. The work is expected to be mostly completed within six years of a 10-year contract. In Montana, Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines welcomed the news, which provides $125 Million to bring high-sp… Continue Reading


Minor League Baseball continues in Montana after new agreement

Minor league baseball in Montana will continue on, after a recent agreement between Major League Baseball and the Pioneer League became official. U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines both fought for the Pioneer League, which includes three teams in Montana, to stay affiliated in some way with the MLB. "Big Sky Country is professional baseball country, which is why I am pleased to announce that I successfully worked with MLB and our minor league teams to keep America's favorite pastime in Mon… Continue Reading


Montana Telecoms In Limbo Over National Policy To Replace Chinese Equipment

Rural internet providers across the country are waiting on the federal government to finish giving directions on what to do with recently banned Chinese equipment. The delay is adding uncertainty and costs to efforts to narrow Montana's digital divide. Craig Gates is the CEO of Triangle Telephone Cooperative, a small telecom company based in Havre, MT that provides service to about 20,000 customers in rural Central Montana. It's expensive to provide internet and cell coverage in areas where cus… Continue Reading


Post-Savanna's Act pilot program launched to improve law enforcement response to missing and murdered Indigenous people

Note: Information for this report came from the offices of U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana A push to get more resources, information and investigation for murdered and missing Indigenous persons years in the making took a major step forward this week with the launching of a pilot program on the Flathead Indian Reservation. At a council meeting of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation - CSKT - the … Continue Reading


90 Montana providers registered to dispense COVID-19 vaccine

BILLINGS - As Montana gets ready for its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials are also busy making sure disbursement is set up and ready to go across the state. Gov. Steve Bullock announced this week that Montana will get over 9,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Officials at both Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare say they are ready to take them. Bullock says Montana's first allotment will focus on vaccinating the more than 40,000 health care workers in the st… Continue Reading


Daines outlines ingredients of second COVID stimulus package as Congress continues negotiations

BILLINGS- Funding for small businesses, unemployment, schools and local governments is about to run out nationwide as Congress continues to negotiate terms for a second round of COVID-19 stimulus relief funds. However, Montana Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines believes lawmakers are close to reaching an agreement if they can get past bipartisan disagreements for how money should be allocated. Daines spoke with MTN News Thursday afternoon from his Washington, D.C., office on a Zoom call. He dis… Continue Reading


Daines applauds deal making Montana minor league teams part of new MLB Partner League

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), who worked to save Montana's Minor League Baseball teams when Major League Baseball (MLB) announced it would cut ties with 42 minor league teams across the country, on Monday applauded an agreement by MLB and Montana's minor league teams that retains professional baseball in the state. "Professional baseball in Montana helps bring our communities together and drive our local economies," Sen. Daines said. "I'm very glad that after months of negotiations, MLB and Mo… Continue Reading


U.S. Senate passes Sen. Daines’ ALS bill

According to ALS News Today, about 14,000 people in the U.S. are suffering from ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, slowly crippling the patient. There is currently no known cause or cure and Social Security Disability Insurance requires a five-month waiting period for treatment. The U.S. Senate this week passed a bipartisan bill presented by Montana Sen. Steve Daines that "will allow Montanans with ALS to receive both Medicare … Continue Reading


Montana to receive 2nd round of COVID-19 antibody treatments

HELENA - The state of Montana is getting a second round delivery of Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 antibody treatments. Regeneron's antibody therapeutic, casirivimab and imdevimab, is used to treat non-hospitalized or mildly to moderately symptomatic people over the age of 12-years in danger of advancing to hospitalization or severe symptoms. According to a release from the Office of Sen. Daines, Montana is receiving 150 vials of the Regeneron casirivimab and imdevimab coc… Continue Reading


MonDak senators unite to push legislation to help craft breweries

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, as well as North Dakota Republican senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven have written to Senate Leadership to urge them to pass the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act before the end of the year, which would make permanent existing federal excise tax rates for beverage and alcohol producers. Montana and North Dakota both are among states that have seen a surge in the craft beer industry. It's not only creating new jobs an… Continue Reading


Daines, Tester urge support for extending tax break for craft brewers and distillers

Montana U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester are among a bipartisan group of senators calling for the permanent renewal of a federal excise tax break for craft brewers and distilleries, a growing industry in Montana. In a Tuesday letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 57 senators urged passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform before it expires at the end of 2020. The measure aims to extend the tax breaks for small brewers and dis… Continue Reading


Group of AGs pushes for CARES Act deadline extension

MISSOULA, Mont. - Time is running out to use the $1.25 billion Montana received in CARES Act money. Now, the majority of the country's attorneys general signed on to a letter pushing for an extension. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox signed on to the letter, along with 42 other attorneys general, urging Congress to extend the deadline to use the funds until the end of next year. "We now know that, you know, things may not be back to normal until some time next year," Fox said. "We felt like th… Continue Reading


Pioneer League to operate as independent Partner League of Major League Baseball in 2021

BILLINGS - The Pioneer League will usher in a new era in 2021, ending months of speculation and uncertainty regarding its future in professional baseball. The league, which was founded in 1939, has officially lost its longstanding professional development licenses with Major League Baseball parent clubs and will now shift to independent status as a Partner League of MLB. Major League Baseball announced the agreement on Monday, giving clarity to the Pioneer League's direction since news broke l… Continue Reading


Play ball! Great Falls Voyagers rescued from the chopping block

It'll be peanuts and Cracker Jack in 2021 for Great Falls Voyagers fans as Major League Baseball and the Pioneer League announced in a Monday news release that the Pioneer League is safe. Starting in 2021, the Pioneer League will transition from affiliated status to an independent professional MLB Partner League that will continue to provide baseball to Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. Morgan Sword, MLB's Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said, "Over the past yea… Continue Reading


Montana to receive shipments of antibody cocktails for treatment of some COVID-19 cases

HELENA- Montana is going to receive 264 vials of Regeneron casirivimab/imdevimab cocktail and 370 vials of bamlanivimab. The first shipments of Regeneron's antibody therapeutic, casirivimab and imdevimab are going to start to be received according to a release from Senator Steve Daines. The release says Regeneron's antibody cocktail is authorized for the treatment of non-hospitalized mild to moderate COVID-19 cases in adults and children 12 years and older who are at high risk for progressing … Continue Reading


Montana officials discuss statewide vaccine plan with panel

HELENA - State officials said they are looking at a three-phased approach to provide vaccinations in Montana that includes getting the much-expected COVID-19 vaccines to frontline health care and other health care workers, high-risk populations and eventually to members of the general public who want it. The Department of Public Health and Human Services on Tuesday had the first meeting of a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Coordination Team comprised of more than 60 people from key groups statewide. … Continue Reading


Montana vaccination plan calls for phased rollout, some details still in the works

MISSOULA, Mont. - Operation Warp Speed means progress on COVID-19 vaccinations is moving fast, and state officials this week unveiled a draft plan of how initial vaccination distribution might look in Montana -- but there is still a lot up in the air. The state's vaccination plan is a draft based on a CDC playbook released in October. Part of it includes education and messaging to encourage folks to get the vaccine, which is something the country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fau… Continue Reading


Vaccine news promising, but stay vigilant

A great hope was announced to the world this week when we learned that a potential vaccine for COVID-19 is on the immediate horizon. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said its vaccine is 95% effective against the virus that has infected some 11 million U.S. residents and killed more than 250,000 since February. The company is asking federal regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine, meaning shots could be available on a limited scale as early as next month. Globally, Pfizer has estimated it co… Continue Reading


Montana Senator tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies after participating in Pfizer vaccine trial

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., discuses his experience in the trial, calls recent vaccine news 'very promising.'… Continue Reading

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