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Recent Headline News

AG Tim Fox petitions EPA to reconsider carbon rule

Attorney Time Fox Monday filed a petition asking the EPA to reconsider its final carbon emission rule adopted in August. Governor Steve Bullock agrees. He says the EPA moved the goalposts and left Montana with one of the most stringent standards in the nation. (more)

http://www.ktvq.com/story/30805882/montana-and-wyoming-petition-against-epa-clean-power-rule

Names of donors to Mt. Growth Network revealed

14 donors gave the Montana Growth Network $878,000 to spend by 2012, violating state campaign laws. So says Commissioner of Political Practices’ Jonathan Motl. Names and amounts were released Monday. (more) http://mtstandard.com/politics/montana/names-of-donors-to-montana-growth-network-revealed/article_f6c4dd29-dd5a-5d6c-b8a7-9499a9ea5b02.html

Department of Revenue reminds property owners of new rules

The Montana Department Of Revenue wants to let property owners know about a change in state property tax assistance programs. Property owners who already benefit from the Property Tax Assistance Program or Montana Disabled Veteran Program do not have to reapply. New applicants only have to apply once and the state will notify them each year whether they still qualify.

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Even Christmas drone presents need registration

Firefighters documented 25 incidents this year where private drones interfered with wildfire activity, and the National Park Service has banned drone flights on its public lands. Any drone weighing more than half a pound must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, including any received as a Christmas present.

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Oil rig count and employee count down in Bakken

In Montana, the number of oil rigs in the Bakken slid from eight to one by the beginning of 2015, and a year later Montana’s rig count is still one. In Montana, there were a thousand fewer jobs in the region through the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2014. There are as many Montana jobs in the Bakken today, as there were in 2012.

Tester to vote no on $1.1 trillion budget bill for 2016

Senator Jon Tester said Thursday he will vote against the budget deal that will bankroll the government in 2016. Tester says it would burden future generations with nearly $680 billion in debt. Tester said it did not include campaign finance reform and it had way too many corporate giveaways and credit card debt.

Blue Cross Blue Shield + state sign Medicaid pact

Montana health officials and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana have signed a two year contract worth more than $16 million to administer the new state Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act. State officials estimate as many as 70,000 people are eligible for Medicaid coverage under the program.

Talen’s Colstrip property value -87% in last 2 years

According to the Montana Department of Revenue, the market value of PPL Montana’s spin off company, Talen’s energy stake, in Montana’s Colstrip Steam Electric Station, has been slashed by 87%, over the past two years. Analysts say that reflects how exposed some utilities have become to the coal industry’s woes. Competition from natural gas has emerged as the main force behind sweeping changes within the electricity industry.

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Rev. Dept. won’t give tax breaks for religious schools

The Montana Department Of Revenue has officially adopted a proposed rule, that would cut schools with religious affiliations, out of a new tax credit program. Notice of adoption, posted on it’s website, is dated Dec. 14th. It does allow tax credits, for donations of up to $150 a year, for scholarships to private schools, or to innovative educational programs           in public schools.    more

Yellen’s rate hike to affect Montana consumers

With the Federal Reserve’s decision Wednesday, to raise it’s short term interest rate, Montana consumers should expect to pay a little more, to use a credit card, finance a car, or take out a loan, for a home improvement project. Nevertheless, economists and finance experts say it’s a good thing, because it shows that the nation’s central bank is confident enough in the recovery to take action and the Fed plans to do so again.


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