Montana Focus

An in-depth news and public affairs series hosted by Gene Brodeur which tackles issues across the state relating to politics and government, natural resources, business development, and social changes. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for MontanaPBS.

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The Top Job

Homeless Schooling

The Tea Party: Taxed Enough Already?


Update: Utilties / School Funding
 (No. 109)
Since our last report, in February, there have been big developments in the Breakaway Utilities story. Here we focus on various entities' efforts to buy the transmission assets of bankrupt Northwestern Energy Corp. and what changes a successful purchase might mean. Also, in the school funding case we reported on in April, Columbia School District et al. v. the State of Montana, Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Montana Focus looks at Governor Martz's decision to appeal that ruling to the state Supreme Court and the Legislative Finance Committee's struggles to come up with a budget for public education. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman. (First Aired Thursday, June 24, 2004)

EPISODE DETAILS -†1st Segment: Public Service Commissioners Jergeson, Raney, Mood, and Molnar talk about the fact that deregulation is here to stay, but can be modified to provide customers with more choices.† One being, a PSC approval for NorthWestern Energy to proceed with a 20 year contract to buy wind powered energy from a 150 megawatt wind turbine farm near Judith Gap.† In the legislature, Great Falls Rep. George Golie loses a bid to allow the electric city to create its own utility district.† Rep. Alan Olson tried to advance a bill that would have allowed for companies like NorthWestern to generate as well as deliver electrical power to their customers.

2nd Segment: Chuck Johnson, Lee Newspaper Capitol Bureau Chief, looks at the wind farm proposal and the school funding issue facing the 2005 legislature.

3rd Segment: Governor Schweitzer wants to lure Hollywood producers to the Big Sky, but the jury is still out on incentives to keep them from heading across the border to Canada, where itís cheaper to make movies about Montana.

4th Segment: And, film student Lacy Wittman visits a Jane Fonda workshop aimed at building confidence in young girls.

Related Links

Northwestern Energy

PPL Montana

Montana Public Service Commission

2005 Montana Legislature

On this edition of Montana Focus, Governor Martz announces that the state will appeal District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock's April 15th ruling that Montana's current school funding formula is in violation of the 1972 Constitution. We'll visit with Senator Keith Bales ( R ), vice chairman of the Legislative Finance Committee and Senator Jon Tester ( D ), also on the committee, about the difficulties of coming up with a budget for public education in Montana, while the case is still in court.

Montana Supreme Court Information

We'll update recent Montana Focus stories about the bio-safety level 4 lab at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton. The lab recently received the go ahead for construction of the controversial facility. The BSL-4 lab will involve research on diseases for which there is no known cure as well as research on less threatening pathogens.

Rocky Mountain Laboratories Web Site

Bozeman Daily CHronicle reporter Scott Mc Million recounts a recent vote in the House of Representatives that narrowly beat back an attempt to ban snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park Web Site

And, producer Mike Jetty visits with Fort Peck tribal member Joe McGeshick about the ousting of tribal leader John Morales.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium Web Site

RezNET Web Site


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