In The News


Senators request telehealth access expansion be made permanent

Montana's U.S. senators issued press releases Monday announcing they are joining a bipartisan group of senators calling for the expansion of telehealth services included in response to the COVID-19 pandemic be made permanent. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., both joined in sending a letter to Senate leadership calling for making the expansion permanent. The releases said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security - CARES - Act contained provisions to expand telehea… Continue Reading


Daines-sponsored $2.8B national parks bill gives Senate a chance to unite

At a time of national crises, the Senate has been able to come together on a topic both parties celebrate: the great outdoors. While the country copes with the coronavirus, an economic downturn and a reckoning over racism, lawmakers have reached bipartisan agreement on an election-year deal to double spending on a popular conservation program and devote nearly $2 billion a year to improve and maintain national parks. If approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, the Great Ameri… Continue Reading


Trump official visits Missoula, directs Forest Service to expedite environmental reviews

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, came to Missoula on Friday to issue a wide-ranging memorandum that directs the Forest Service to "expedite environmental reviews to support active management" and "increase the productivity of national forests and grasslands." Perdue was joined by Montana Republican gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte and a host of other officials and representatives from various agencies and industries, including the Montana Stockgrowers Assoc… Continue Reading


Senate to Vote on Historic Conservation Measure

As national parks begin reopening their gates amid public health concerns, many visitors seeking a respite from the urgency of a global pandemic may find their parks beset with crumbling roads or deteriorating buildings - problems that the U.S. Senate is poised to address this week. Americans emerging from lockdown are eager to explore their public lands, and a bipartisan coalition of senators has announced a conservation initiative that dedicates more than $9.5 billion to conserving and mainta… Continue Reading


U.S. Senate moves close to passage of landmark conservation bill

The U.S. Senate is moving toward passage of a major conservation bill. This week, federal lawmakers are considering the Great American Outdoors Act, which would provide $900 million annually from oil and gas royalties to conservation projects and would allocate $9.5 billion over five years to deferred maintenance on public lands. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation soon. Montana Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester, both bill sponsors, have spoken in favor of its passage. On Tuesd… Continue Reading


Montana senators push for LWCF, national parks' funding bill

Montana's two U.S. Senators were among lawmakers who took to the floor of the U.S. Capitol Tuesday to urge passage of a bill to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and to partially fund maintenance backlogs at national parks and other federal lands. On Monday the Senate voted 80-17 to proceed with consideration of the Great American Outdoors Act. The bill, which has 59 co-sponsors, would fund LWCF at $900 million annually and remove it from the annual appropriation… Continue Reading


Daines working to protect Montana’s public lands

If there's one thing that unites Montanans, it's our two iconic national parks, countless public lands, recreational sites and historical landmarks. It's our duty to protect our state's natural beauty. In Montana and all over the country, our national parks have fallen into disrepair. The National Parks Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of almost $12 billion, and in Montana specifically, has a backlog of more than $325 million. When our parks suffer, our environment does too. As of… Continue Reading


Parks, LWCF package on the move

PUBLIC LANDS PACKAGE ON THE MOVE: The Senate can formally begin debate over a massive public lands package, H.R. 1957 (116), after the measure cleared a key procedural hurdle Monday evening, 80-17. The bill, championed by Sens. Cory Gardner, Steve Daines and Joe Manchin, would permanently provide hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and billions for the nation to repair its crumbling public lands. Amendment suspense: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell h… Continue Reading


Justice Department looks at competition in beef industry

The U.S. Department of Justice wants information about cattle market competition from the four largest meat packers in the country. Last month President Trump, U.S. Senators, State Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked for an investigation. The Justice Department issued subpoenas to the four largest meat packers concerning allegations of price fixing livestock markets, according to the office of Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. Four companies control more than 80 percent of… Continue Reading


Small business loan program extended

The Paycheck Protection Program has been given new life just ahead of the "use it, or pay it back" deadline for the small business loans. Part of the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program offered businesses no-payback loans to cover eight weeks of payroll and other select expenses. Provided 75% of the money went to payroll and the other 25% to things like rent and utilities, business owners didn't have to pay the money back. Money spent outside those… Continue Reading


Lands package reaches Senate floor. Now comes the hard part

Conservation advocates have been working for months to build a coalition capable of pushing a multimillion-dollar public lands package over the finish line. They anticipate seeing the culmination of these efforts in the coming days. Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to officially schedule S. 3422, the "Great American Outdoors Act," for floor consideration next week (E&E Daily, June 1). The bill would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation… Continue Reading


Bill for greater PPP flexibility to support Montana small businesses heads to President’s desk

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today secured Senate passage of his bipartisan bill giving greater flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support and provide more relief for Montana's small businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The bipartisan bill now heads to President Trump's desk to be signed into law. "I'm glad to have secured passage of my bipartisan bill to increase flexibility in the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure Montana small businesses have th… Continue Reading


'It's been a long road': Billings widow finally holds her husband's lost remains

A Billings woman can finally get closure and plan her late husband's military memorial after his remains were finally returned back home after they were lost in the mail for two months. On Monday morning, a carrier with the United States postal service dropped off a cardboard box with the remains of Donald Tyler at the Billings residence of his wife, Christine Tyler. Tyler had been waiting since March to get the remains in her possession to plan a memorial service for Don, who served in the Ai… Continue Reading


Daines listens to anxious West Glacier business community

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines visited West Glacier on Friday morning to meet with local business leaders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Glacier National Park. About a dozen members of the West Glacier business community joined Montana's Republican senator at Glacier Outdoor Center for the roundtable. All expressed concerns and frustrations over the way COVID-19 has impacted the local economy and their businesses. Jeff Baldelli, co-owner of Glacier Raft Company and the Glacier Ou… Continue Reading


Billings veteran's cremains are found and 'coming back home' after getting lost in the U.S. mail

BILLINGS - A Billings veteran, who died of COVID-19 in March and whose cremains got lost in the mail has been found and will be coming back home to Montana. On Thursday, MTN news spoke with Christine Tyler who lost her husband, Don to the virus while traveling abroad this March in Spain. She opted to have Don cremated and flown home with military tradition because he served in Vietnam. But on the way back to the United States, his body became lost at a United States Post office facility in Chi… Continue Reading


Senators: Trump reverses on Guard COVID active duty

Montana's U.S. senators have said the Trump administration has reversed course on plans to limit the length of service for National Guard members during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving them access to additional federal benefits. To assist local and state governments in their response to the national health emergency, troops from the Army and Air National Guards across 54 states and territories, including Montana, have been put on state active duty or mobilized under Title 32 orders. Title 32 orde… Continue Reading


West Glacier businesses meet with Daines to discuss GNP opening date

A handful of West Glacier businesses met with Montana Sen. Steve Daines on Friday to express frustration and concern over an opening date for Glacier National Park. MTN spoke with Gary Hamilton who is the CEO of Hamilton Group Limited, a souvenir manufacturing company that relies on Glacier Park tourism. "With respect to the park we're in a very difficult situation," he said. "The park is not open and they're hopeful for some time of reopening in June. A lot of the customers we deal with in an… Continue Reading


'It's kind of a scary time': Glacier-area businesses await reopening

WEST GLACIER - Normally, Montana House is the only business in Glacier National Park's Apgar Village that is open year-round. But these are not normal times. "This would be, for the early season, a very busy weekend," said Monica Jungster, owner of the craft shop. Friday brought temperatures in the 70s, plenty of sunshine and just a wisp of breeze to Glacier National Park's western gateway. But with Glacier still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only ones there to enjoy it were a handf… Continue Reading


Daines, Tester say U.S. Postal Service must be preserved

HELENA - Montana's two U.S. senators say Congress must act to salvage the Postal Service, which is bleeding cash and says it needs a $75 billion infusion. "Montanans rely on the U.S. Postal Service for everything from prescription-drug delivery to absentee voting," Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said Friday. "To say it is a crucial lifeline, especially for folks living in rural communities, would be an understatement." Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines also called the USPS "vital for a rural … Continue Reading


Helena brewery tells Daines he'd like longer PPP terms in future aid

About $82,000 from the federal Paycheck Protection Program allowed Helena brewery owner Max Pigman to keep all 13 of his production employees at work through the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Pigman told U.S. Sen. Steve Daines during a tour of Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. that he'd like to see another round of funding on an extended timetable as the state moves toward what's expected to be a slow economic recovery. "The worst thing that you fear as a business owner, as you grow a te… Continue Reading

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