In The News


Judge orders IHS to release report on doctor's sexual assaults

A federal magistrate judge has ordered the Indian Health Service to release the report it commissioned on how the agency failed to protect Indigenous children from Stanley Patrick Weber, the doctor who sexually abused boys on the reservations in Montana and South Dakota for decades. The report includes interviews with South Dakotans and might identify the people and practices responsible for the Pine Ridge IHS failing to properly respond to reports of Weber's behavior. The Journal and other me… Continue Reading


Daines: Second round of Paycheck Protection Program funds now available

U.S. SENATE - U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced that beginning this week, Montana small businesses heavily impacted by the pandemic are able to apply for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. "This PPP funding is critical for Montana small businesses who have been hit hard due to the pandemic," Daines said."This funding will help keep Montana small businesses open and their workers employed. I'm glad I was able to helpsecure it." Beginning today, some of Montana's ha… Continue Reading


Daines: 2nd Round of PPP Funds Now Available

Many Montana businesses are still struggling from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 shutdowns from last Spring, and many are still suffering under restrictions that remain in place. Now that another COVID-19 relief package was signed into law by President Trump, another round of Paycheck Protection Program funds are now available. DAINES: This PPP funding is critical for Montana small businesses who have been hit hard due to the pandemic. This funding will help keep Montana small business… Continue Reading


$250,000 grant to continue addressing grizzly-human conflicts

MONTANA - U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service renewed a $250,000 grant to help reduce grizzly bear and human conflicts in Montana. "This funding is critical to help reduce grizzly-human conflicts in Montana as we continue working to delist the grizzly bear and return management to the state," Daines said. The USFWS grant to the Montana Wildlife Services will include: Additional support through the Wildlife Services contract to address bear and human conflict.… Continue Reading


UM starts on-campus COVID-19 vaccinations

Dr. Kenneth Chatriad took a break from his work to wipe down the 12 smooth, light blue plastic chairs spaced out in a Curry Health Center hallway. Chatriad, the center's pharmacy manager, walked through his newly constructed immunization center. Though it was hard to tell under his mask and face shield, he was probably smiling. "It is an exciting day today, finally," Chatriad said as he brought his attention back to new faces coming down the corridor. They were frontline healthcare workers, inc… Continue Reading


Fish and Wildlife Service proposes ESA rule changes meant to speed timber projects

Federal officials on Monday proposed revisions to consultation rules under the Endangered Species Act that could streamline the process for approving timber projects on critical habitat. If enacted, the revisions would allow the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to circumvent consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials over land management plans when new species are listed as threatened. Land management plans are broad documents that guide agency decisions on pub… Continue Reading


Montana to receive $71M+ for COVID testing, vaccine distribution

U.S. SENATE - U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines announced that Montana will receive more than $71 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to combat COVID-19 through large-scale testing and vaccination efforts. The year-end bipartisan COVID-19 relief and stimulus package allocates $61,517,133 for COVID-19 testing and provides $9,657,321 for vaccine distribution. Tester said, "With the news this week that Montana has passed the grim milestone of more than 1,000 COVI… Continue Reading


Lost Trail easement near Marion finalized

Another large swath of timberland in Northwest Montana will remain open to the public in perpetuity after groups finalized the purchase of the Lost Trail Conservation Easement. The 7,256-acre parcel near Marion will complement an existing network of public lands stretching across Flathead, Lake, Lincoln and Sanders counties. Situated within the recently proposed 100,000-acre U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Lost Trail Conservation Area, the prized single block of land also shares nearly 7 miles… Continue Reading


Health Officials Urge Patience about Covid-19 Vaccinations

Ravalli County and Missoula County Public Health Departments have been overwhelmed with phone calls about COVID-19 vaccination schedules. And both departments are asking the public to quit calling. Instead, Ravalli County Public Health Director Tiffany Webber said that in Ravalli County, the staff has started an online appointment and waiting list for those who are requesting appointments. The Ravalli County vaccinations have started for the healthcare workers and first responders, but there is… Continue Reading


CARES Act funding depleted; state and local governments awaiting guidance on new federal COVID funds

HELENA - The COVID-19 pandemic response has been a costly endeavor at all levels of government. Lewis and Clark Public Health (LCPH) alone has already spent more than $1 million responding to the public health crisis. To put that into perspective, LCPH spent a total of $781,689 during their entire 2019 fiscal year. "That's primarily because we've had to hire so many extra people to help do this work," Lewis and Clark County Health Officer Drenda Niemann. "We've had to hire 70 contact tracers f… Continue Reading


Montana music venues, theaters see 'glimmer of light' in relief bill

The COVID relief bill passed by Congress in late December includes $15 billion that could aid eligible independent music venues and movie theaters in Montana that have been shuttered since March. The passage was like "finally getting a sigh of relief," said Sean Lynch, the owner of the Pub Station concert venue in Billings. He helped the push for the Save Our Stages Act through the National Independent Venue Association, a group formed at the beginning of the pandemic. Its members estimated th… Continue Reading


Sen. Daines announces grant for grizzly bear management

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) renewed a $250,000 grant to help reduce grizzly bear and human conflicts in Montana. "This funding is critical to help reduce grizzly-human conflicts in Montana as we continue working to delist the grizzly bear and return management to the state," Daines said. The USFWS grant to the Montana Wildlife Services will include: • Additional support through the Wildlife Services contract to address bear and h… Continue Reading


Daines measure ending tribal water dispute becomes law

A bipartisan bill offered by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) that permanently settles a century-long tribal water dispute in his home state recently became law as part of the roughly $1.4 trillion omnibus appropriations package signed by the president. "I'm very glad I could play a direct role in getting this done, and I thank President Trump for signing our bill into law," said Sen. Daines on Dec. 27. The Montana Water Rights Protection Act, S. 3019, which Sen. Daines sponsored in December 2019… Continue Reading


Congress Repeals Anti-Trust Exemptions Over AHIP Objections

Both houses of Congress have voted to repeal an anti-trust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 which protects payers from federal competition laws. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2020 amended the McCarran-Ferguson Act to include the following statement: "Nothing contained in this Act shall modify, impair, or supersede the operation of any of the antitrust laws with respect to the business of health insurance (including the business of dental insurance and limited-sco… Continue Reading


Tonix Plans Vaccine Development Plant In Hamilton

A New Jersey biopharmaceutical company, Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp., has purchased 44 acres on the northeast edge of Hamilton and plans to build a vaccine development and commercial manufacturing facility. According to a news release on its website, the company will use the Montana plant and a new facility in Massachusetts to help develop and produce vaccines. The Tonix statement said their vaccine candidates are "led by modified horsepox vaccines, TNX-1800, a potential COVID-19 vaccine… Continue Reading


Historic Water Rights act becomes law

PABLO - Time crawls by until it's passed - then it has flown by. Such is the case of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Federal Reserved Water Rights Compact (FRWRC), officially known as the Montana Water Rights Protection Act (MWRPA). After decades of discussions and official negotiations with the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission (MRWRCC), the CSKT's FRWRC was signed into law by the president of the United States Monday. All that was needed to ratify the MWRPA was the… Continue Reading


Daines bill provides relief for breweries, distilleries

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was just signed into law, providing permanent tax relief and supporting jobs across Montana to small, locally-owned breweries and distilleries. The bill was created by Montana Sen. Steve Daines. "In Montana, we're home to some of the best craft breweries in the country," Daines said in a press release. "Now, with my bipartisan bill being signed into law, these small businesses will have permanent tax relief which will create jobs across Montana… Continue Reading


Montana breweries, distilleries get tax relief from spending package

(KPAX) HELENA - Now that President Donald Trump has signed a $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding package, Montana breweries and distilleries will receive some much-needed tax relief. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was incorporated into the year-end legislative package. It makes a reduced tax rate on small brewers and distillers permanent, after it was initially approved for two years, then extended for one more. U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines both … Continue Reading


Save Our Stages relief bill finally gives entertainment venues crucial help

BILLINGS - The last time we checked in with the Pub Station was back in May. They had already been shut down for two months because of the pandemic, and figured that financial help was on the way any time. It's been seven months since then, and they still don't have any money in their accounts - but they will soon. "What we accomplished nationally - what I read at least in the New York Times - I believe it was the biggest public investment in art in history," said Pub Station co-owner Sean Lyn… Continue Reading


Guest view: Montana dentists applaud Daines, health-insurance bill

During the 2020 election, U.S. Senator Daines was hammered by detractors as beholden to insurance companies. Nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by a landmark insurance reform bill that passed last week, with Senator Daines as its foremost champion. While all eyes were watching the pandemic stimulus bill vote in the U.S. Senate on Monday, there was another significant bill that passed with little fanfare. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (CHIRA) will remove antitrus… Continue Reading

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