In The News

06.24.20

Montana businesses have received more than $2 billion in federal aid

Montana businesses have received more than $1.75 billion in mostly no-payback federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to figures released this week. The U.S. Small Business Administration reported Monday that 22,583 loans had been issued to Montana businesses. The program is by far the largest source of small business assistance offered by the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By comparison, the state government received $1.25 billion to cover COVID-… Continue Reading


06.24.20

MT Water Rights Protection Act touted as 'permanent solution' to Flathead water dispute

MISSOULA - We're still short of final action. However, that proposal for a nearly $2 billion plan to settle tribal water rights in the Flathead Basin took a major step forward on Wednesday. Trump Administration officials tell the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee the proposal could avoid decades of litigation and save taxpayers billions of dollars. It was just over a year ago Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Montana Water Rights Protection Act, a sweeping bill that aims to resolve d… Continue Reading


06.24.20

Daines bill would undo 9th Circuit ruling on thinning

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines will introduce legislation today to remove a potential roadblock to forest management projects on federal land. Daines' bill would remove a requirement - imposed as a result of a lawsuit five years ago - that the Forest Service consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service on land management plans when "new information" emerges about potential effects on endangered species. In practice, the requirement means the Forest Service must reconsult with the Fish and … Continue Reading


06.24.20

CSKT Water Rights Bill Gets First Hearing In Congress

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The legislation would settle long-disputed water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The bill would prevent costly litigation over thousands of water rights claims filed by the tribes, and would fund the rehabilitation of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project. Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines spent much of his time during the hearing asking U.S. D… Continue Reading


06.24.20

Montana Senators make case for CSKT Water Compact in Washington, DC

U.S. SENATE - At a U.S. Senate Hearing today, the Trump administration expressed support for U.S. Senator Steve Daines' bipartisan bill, the "Montana Water Rights Protection Act," which permanently settles the century-long Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) water dispute. At the hearing, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Tim Petty discussed the benefits of the bill which will create more than 6,000 jobs, modernize critical NW Montana infrastructure, avoid costly litigati… Continue Reading


06.24.20

'We want people to come back.' Assistant Interior Secretary says national parks are safe

If this were a normal year, Montana's national parks and recreation areas would already be filled nearly to capacity. The visitors center at Logan Pass would be crowded with motorists pausing midway through their journey across Going-to-the-Sun Road. The ring of cash registers would echo throughout cafes and souvenir shops in West Yellowstone, and the docks at Ok-A-Beh Marina would be filled with boaters preparing to explore Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. However, the summer of 2020 … Continue Reading


06.23.20

Montana receiving health care training funds

Montana's U.S. senators announced Monday that Montana universities are receiving nearly $1 million in federal funding for health care workforce training. Releases from the offices of Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., said University of Montana in Missoula will receive $438,278 and Montana State University in Bozeman will receive $344,880. The release from Tester's office said UM's funding will be for a program that trains medical residents in rural and underserved areas, an… Continue Reading


06.20.20

Daines to introduce bill raising fine for landing aircraft in wilderness areas

Montana's Republican Sen. Steve Daines announced Friday a plan to introduce a bill increasing the penalties for landing aircraft in designated wilderness areas. Landing a helicopter in a wilderness area is considered a federal misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine, six months in prison or both. Daines' bill will propose raising that fine to $20,000. "Montanans value wilderness for the solitude it provides and the adventure that is involved to travel to so many beautiful loca… Continue Reading


06.19.20

Letter to the editor: Passage of Great American Outdoors Act is a win

The Great American Outdoors Act passed the Senate on Wednesday, which is a huge win for our national parks and public lands. While our country is obviously going through a very difficult time, this represents a bipartisan effort to preserve our nation's natural beauty. This legislation addresses the $12 billion National Parks Service deferred maintenance backlog and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Montana, our national parks are my weekend getaway. Being outside h… Continue Reading


06.19.20

Daines signs on to JUSTICE Act as Congress explores police reforms

Sen. Steve Daines this week signed on to bill aimed at reforming law enforcement policies, saying it will help increase accountability and transparency and provide incentives to limit controversial tactics. The JUSTICE Act was introduced by Senate Republicans on Wednesday and included the leadership of Sen. Tim Scott, the chamber's only African American Republican. Daines is a cosponsor of the bill. "The men and women who serve our communities in law enforcement put their lives on the line ev… Continue Reading


06.18.20

U.S. Senate passes major public lands bill

The U.S. Senate passed a landmark conservation bill on Wednesday. The Great American Outdoors Act provides $9.5 billion to address deferred maintenance on public lands and puts $900 million annually from oil and gas royalties into the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Montana Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester, both bill sponsors, celebrated its success on Wednesday. "Today, this is about protecting our Montanan outdoor way of life for future generations and it increases public access t… Continue Reading


06.18.20

Sen. Daines signs on to police reform legislation in Senate

Senator Steve Daines cosponsored the JUSTICE Act, a major police reform bill in the Senate, which aims to help improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. "The men and women who serve our communities in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to protect our families, and a few bad actors have reflected poorly upon the values of their service," Daines said. "We must work to restore confidence between our communities and law enforcement, and this… Continue Reading


06.18.20

Daines backs police reform bill that includes more body cameras and accountability

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, is backing a police reform bill that would among other things promote body camera use by Montana law enforcement and require the footage be made available to the public. The bill, requiring more police accountability for use of force, calls for spending $100 million a year on police body cameras and body camera training. Police departments that accept the money would face future funding reductions for both turning body cameras off and for not releasing footage… Continue Reading


06.18.20

Steve Daines Receives Bipartisan Praise For Public Lands Victory

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) received bipartisan praise for his leadership in helping pass the Great American Outdoors Act through the Senate, a bill to preserve America's forests and national parks. The Senate overwhelmingly passed on Wednesday the Great American Outdoors Act, 73-25, which serves as a strong victory for "conservative conservationist" Daines. The legislation would permanently provide $900 million in oil and gas revenues for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which secures… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Montana senators celebrating the passage of Great Outdoors Act

MISSOULA - There was cause for celebration on Wednesday, but also a little bit of surprise because of our political divisions, as the Senate passes the Great American Outdoors Act. It's a sweeping piece of legislation designed to provide permanent funding to the 55-year old Land and Water Conservation Act (LWCF). Montana's senators had been expressing confidence the Great American Outdoors Act would finally succeed where other efforts had failed, permanently allocating dollars for the LWCF, th… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Senate passes major conservation package

The Senate passed the most significant conservation legislation in decades on Wednesday, clearing a package to secure steady funding for public lands that came together only after the popular bipartisan measure got a lift from election year politics. The core ideas in the bill - fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and providing billions to address maintenance backlogs on the nation's public lands - have drawn significant support from both parties for year… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Groups make last-minute push for lands package votes

The Senate will take the decisive vote around noon today on legislation that would authorize millions of dollars for maintaining public lands around the country. There is very little suspense about whether S. 3422 will pass. The "Great American Outdoors Act" would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address a multibillion-dollar backlog of deferred maintenance projects across national parks and federally owned land. It is being touted as the most consequential c… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Senate passage of $2.8B conservation plan praised in Montana

The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday sparked praise statewide, with Montana's two U.S. senators saying it was an example of Washington at its bipartisan best. The bill would spend about $900 million a year - double current spending - on the Land and, Water, Conservation Fund (LWCF), and make it a permanent fund. It would also spend another $1.9 billion per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and rangelands, the Associated P… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Montana delegation lauds passage of major conservation bill

Montana's congressional delegation and conservation groups applauded Thursday's passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by the U.S. Senate. The Senate voted 73-25 to pass the bill that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and removes it from the annual appropriation process. The bill also generates roughly $9.5 billion to finance backlogged maintenance on federal lands, including more than $6 billion toward the more than $12 billion backlog at nationa… Continue Reading


06.17.20

Daines Celebrates Senate Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

Montana Senator Steve Daines met with the media on Wednesday morning to celebrate the Senate's passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act. "This has been a great day in the U.S. Senate," said Daines. "We made history today in the United States Senate by passing the Great American Outdoors Act. We had a strong bipartisan vote or 73 to 25 because this is a bipartisan bill that protects a critical conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Program." Daines described just one… Continue Reading

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