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Articles written by Eric Dietrich

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 By Eric Dietrich    News    November 2, 2022

Gianforte pushes trades education, additional construction as fixes for Montana housing crunch

Standing in front of a luxury apartment complex under construction in Bozeman Thursday, Gov. Greg Gianforte touted his efforts to address Montana's housing affordability crunch by promoting new residential development. Flanked by construction...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    October 26, 2022

Housing Task Force presents recs to Governor

A task force charged with identifying solutions for Montana's housing crunch formally passed recommendations for legislative action to Gov. Greg Gianforte Wednesday, teeing up debates over state... Full story

 By Eric Dietrich    News    October 19, 2022

Housing task force details regulatory reforms, other proposals aimed at affordability crunch

A draft report released last week by Gov. Greg Gianforte's housing task force details a slew of ideas to boost housing supply in an effort to tackle Montana's affordability crunch, previewing legislation that could be advanced by the governor and... Full story

 By Eric Dietrich    News    July 27, 2022

Governor focuses housing task force on regulatory relief

As Gov. Greg Gianforte described the job facing his newly convened housing task force Wednesday, he made a point of asking the group's 26 members to think outside the box as they spend the next... Full story

 By Eric Dietrich    News    July 6, 2022

Tax-cap measure CI-121 and other initiatives will miss the fall ballot

A proposed property tax cap and three other ballot initiatives supporters had hoped to put before Montana voters in November's general election are dead in the water after failing to meet... Full story

 By Eric Dietrich    News    February 9, 2022

¾ of Montana's return-to-work bonus funds went unclaimed

Gov. Greg Gianforte's Return to Work bonus program, announced last year as he scaled back expanded pandemic unemployment benefits, ultimately paid about one-fourth as many bonuses as the state initial... Full story


Research study shows rising housing costs driven by Montana home shortage

The root cause of Montana's increasingly stifling housing market? Too few homes to go around, a researcher told a legislative committee studying the state's economic condition Monday.  "There is by any metric an enormous housing shortage in this... Full story


How Montana got its new congressional map

HELENA - With a final vote Friday, Montana's Districting and Apportionment Commission made it official: The state has a new congressional map, political lines drawn to define how Montanans are... Full story


Fire season 2021: Early to start, late to finish, and smoky in the middle

The state's first major winter storm dropped snow on parts of southern Montana early this week, signaling the final act of an active fire season that had prompted Gov. Greg Gianforte to issue a...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    October 20, 2021

Nine ways to divide Montana

An effort to divide Montana into two districts for U.S. House elections over the next decade now has a set of nine finalist maps — and an unmistakable partisan divide. The maps were advanced this week by the Montana Districting and Apportionment...


Districting commission takes an initial look at public-proposed U.S. House district maps

HELENA - The commission tasked with dividing Montana into two U.S. House districts for the first time since the 1980s asked the public for input last month. Montanans responded with an earful, submitt... Full story


Stimulus infrastructure funds headed to water and sewer projects

An initial round of funding drawn from Montana’s share of the March federal coronavirus relief bill is heading toward 86 water and sewer projects around the state.  The awards, totalling nearly $127 million, were formally announced Thursday by...


Gianforte budget director to step down after nine months

HELENA - State Budget Director Kurt Alme, Gov. Greg Gianforte's top fiscal adviser, will leave his position Oct. 1, less than a year after being named to one of the highest-profile roles in state...


Commission seeks suggestions for new U.S. House district maps

HELENA - The commission tasked with dividing Montana into two U.S. House districts for the first time since the 1980s has a Nov. 14 deadline to submit a final district map to Montana's secretary of st...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    August 18, 2021

U.S. Census releases detailed 2020 counts -- with an asterisk

The U.S. Census Bureau released detailed statistics Thursday on the 2020 populations and racial compositions of Montana counties, cities, towns and neighborhoods, providing a once-in-a-decade look at demographic change across the state, and also... Full story

 By Eric Dietrich    News    August 11, 2021

'Economic transformation' commission adopts priorities, seeks public input

HELENA — Officials serving on a commission tasked with helping Gov. Greg Gianforte spend $150 million of the state’s COVID-19 relief money to bolster Montana’s post-pandemic economy agreed Wednesday to consider proposals sorted into four...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    July 28, 2021

Political district-drawing commission finalizes its sideboards

HELENA — Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission voted Tuesday to finalize the criteria it will use to draw Montana’s new U.S. House and state legislative districts using data from the 2020 census. The commission previously approved...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    July 14, 2021

Federal spending drives Montana budget

HELENA - Montana lawmakers approved about $16 billion in spending during the 2021 legislative session, more than $17,400 per Montana resident. That's money for everything from plowing highways to...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    May 5, 2021

Montana grows into a second U.S. House seat

Montana will gain a second representative in the U.S. House as seats are reapportioned according to population counts from the 2020 census, the U.S. Census Bureau said last week. The news means that, starting with the 2022 election, Montana will...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    April 7, 2021

Multibillion stimulus bill aims to spur Montana into post-COVID prosperity

HELENA — Racing to beat a procedural deadline, Montana lawmakers have advanced a first-draft plan for spending billions of dollars in federal stimulus money through an initial vote in the state House less than three weeks after President Joe Biden...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    March 17, 2021

New round of federal COVID-19 aid means billions for state of Montana

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, passed by U.S. Congress Wednesday and heading to the desk of President Joe Biden, will bring billions of stimulus dollars into Montana under the auspices of a wide-ranging effort to pull the...


Montana Legislature : How will the GOP spend its mandate?

On November 3, Montana voters gave the GOP unified control of state government, electing a Republican to the governor's office for the first time in 16 years, Republican candidates to all statewide offices, and expanding GOP majorities in the state...


When local news isn't local

A late July article from Big Sky Times looks at first glance like a piece of old-fashioned investigative journalism, published on what appears to be a modern news website. "Montana media, GOP failed to investigate Bullock's conduct," reads its...


High court avoids 'impermissible bias' question in solar utility ruling

HELENA - The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a ruling from last year in which a state District Court judge criticized the Montana Public Service Commission's handling of a rate contract dispute between a solar power developer and NorthWestern...

 By Eric Dietrich    News    August 19, 2020

Analysts say state budget looks OK for next year

HELENA - State government is facing a $300 million-plus revenue cliff in the coming year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislative analysts told lawmakers last week. Regardless, it's looking...


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