Bullock vetoes 2 GOP-sponsored gun bills

Governor names new Commerce Department director

New state budget estimate shows rising revenue as economy improves

Flathead tribes announce support for court nominee Gorsuch

Secretary of State joins GOP chair in opposing mail-in ballot

Daines stumps for Gorsuch, jousts with protesters at state Capitol

Legislator pushes 8 cents gas tax hike to fund road projects 

Father kills mountain lion that takes swipe at boy playing in back yard

Law enforcement officials seek fix to Marsy's Law

Republicans seek $5.5 million to expand healthcare program

GOP leader says mail-in elections hurt the party

Legislators move towards urging Congress to curb air ambulance costs

Tester introduces bill to let states regulate air ambulance costs

Green groups sue to stop 5,000-acre logging project near Lincoln

Tester seeks expansion of Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

Former Republican House leader arraigned on meth charges

Owner of Colstrip seeks tax break to keep older plants open

Lake Co wants state to pick up $2M tab for prosecuting tribal members

Republicans defend their public health, human services budget

Legislator wants state to end contract with 660-bed prison at Shelby

Daines reschedules Capitol address as protesters gather

Protesters rally at Kalispell against proposed water-bottling plant

Legislation takes aim at small-scale renewable energy program

Bozeman legislator seeks higher taxes on the wealthy

Plains man among 4 being tried in 2nd Oregon standoff trial

Legislator wants study of impact of wasting disease on fish

Plan to put state parks under Commerce agency gets cool reception

Fort Peck tribes ask for change in route of Keystone pipeline


Telling number: Sales price on empty lot in heart of Bozeman: $345K

Legislation would allow distilleries to stay open longer

Helena firm aims to make world's best drift boats

Bill calls for Montana boycott of firms that boycott Israel

Mountain Water Co. must pay developers $22M from Missoula proceeds

Glacier Park gets exemption from freeze to hire seasonal workers

Developer 'still optimistic' about plans for One Big Sky Center in Billings


Missoula firm builds binding-free boards for surfing on snow

Cats hope for sellout, and end to Grizzlies 13-game win streak

Radio DJ sparks flap with comment over separate Native tourneys

Great Falls Central player gets thrill of his life as he scores 3 pointer

Grizzlies trip Portland State, 85-82

Bobcats notch 3rd straight win, beating Sac State

Lady Griz fall to Portland State 68-45

Lady Cats race past Sac State 104-82



Karla Gray showed what women can achieve in the legal system

Gun bills before Legislature aren't well thought out

State should focus on maintaining, not developing, our state parks

Some very bad gun bills at Legislature should be shot down

Lawmakers shouldn't deep six the political practices office

Local option taxes would bring many benefits

State should use mail-in ballots for special House election



At least 18 American presidents have visited MT while in office

Ronan man strives to preserve Montana's brewing history

Montana filmmakers hooked on the movie business

Book by Miles City native to be made into movie

Blackfeet riders commemorate Bear River Massacre of 1870

History of African Americans in Montana in the spotlight

Butte to honor 100th anniversary of nation's worst mining disaster



Rocker Elton John to perform March shows in Bozeman, Missoula

Rock group Journey to play at MSU March 21

Dierks Bentley to perform in Billings April 22

Faith Hill, Tim McGraw to play at MSU May 19

Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla to perform at MSU on May 31

Florida Georgia Line, Nelly coming to Missoula, Bozeman in September

Send tips to editor@montanabuzz.com

Sen. Steve Daines called for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice at a press conference at the Montana Capitol on Wednesday that drew a number of protesters. (Helena IR)


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A daily digest of Montana news

Feb. 24, 2017




FIFTEEN YEARS ago, Helena banned smoking in its workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos. In the ban's first six months, the city's rate of heart attacks plunged by almost 60 percent. Then, when a judge lifted the ban, the rate of heart attacks climbed back to where it had been.

Three anti-smoking advocates -- Helena physicians Richard Sargent and Robert Shepard as well as UC-San Francisco researcher Stanton Glantz -- produced a study that declared the 60 percent drop in heart attacks showed that a smoking ban "not only makes life more pleasant; it immediately starts saving lives."

The study was widely reported by the media -- usually with lack of any skepticism -- and hailed by health officials and others. Soon, governments everywhere, even overseas, were enacting smoking bans, often citing the Helena study as a prime reason.

But the funny thing is, as Jacob Grier reports in a fascinating article in Slate magazine, all those smoking bans created the opportunity for much broader -- and more accurate studies -- of the impact of secondhand smoke on heart health. And they've basically found there are little if any.

"And now that the evidence has had time to accumulate, it’s ... become clear that the extravagant promises made by anti-smoking groups—that implementing bans would bring about extraordinary improvements in cardiac health—never materialized," Grier says. ''Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed in Helena. The updated science debunks the alarmist fantasies that were used to sell smoking bans to the public, allowing for a more sober analysis suggesting that current restrictions on smoking are extreme from a risk-reduction standpoint."

Grier says recent studies also suggest that there's no clear link between passive smoking and lung cancer. He acknowledges secondhand smoke can be a real annoyance, but that shouldn't spur society to make laws that are based on bad science.

HELENA CAPITAL High School graduate Wesley Edens is a whole lot wealthier with the sale of the Fortress Investment Group to Japan-based SoftBank. His stake in the bank is reportedly worth $511 million.

The New York Times reports that the deal will allow Edens to focus on his  strength -- working as a fund manager -- without having to deal with the headaches of running a publicly traded company.

Edens, who co-chairs Fortress and who purchased the Milwaukee Bucks with Marc Lasry three years ago, graduated from Capital High in 1979.

A few years ago, Cassandra Liska, who oversees a scholarship program that Edens set up at Capital High School, described him as is "a self-made man who came from a ranch and built an empire."

SO DID Tom Brady take his family to Disney World, as Super Bowl MVPs usually do? Nope. Brady's celebrating his fifth Super Bowl victory with a ski vacation at Big Sky.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King tipped off the world to Brady's whereabouts with a recent interview in which the quarterback dissected the big game. King didn't actually spell out exactly where he interviewed Brady -- the piece carried the ambiguous dateline "SOMEWHERE IN MONTANA" -- but previous stories have noted that Brady owns a home at the Yellowstone Club at Big Sky. And King talked about flying into Bozeman for the interview.

King starts his piece this way: "This was the most amazing thing about the two hours I spent with 39-year-old Tom Brady on Sunday afternoon in a cabin (well, it’s called a cabin, but the getaway area for the Brady clan is pretty darned well-appointed) in the shadow of one of the most beautiful mountains in the world:

“I have zero pain,” Brady said, almost one week to the hour after he took the field for Super Bowl 51. “I feel great. I feel 100 percent.”

In part 2 of King's interview, Brady explains how he keeps in such great shape at age 39. He also explains that he tries not to "give my power away" by getting upset with the criticism that comes his way. Montana helps maintain his balance by giving him a place when he can just be himself.

THE MOST dangerous job in Montana? Maybe it is pizza delivery driver.

Consider the Kalispell pizza person who recently ran off the road and got stuck in a snowbank. In order to get help, the driver walked to a nearby home. Big mistake. 

The driver reported he was bitten by three dogs at the residence. The Flathead County sheriff's office is investigating.​​

THE HEADLINE on the Dec. 21 letter to the editor of the Helena IR said: "Trump's pick for EPA a puppet for polluters." The writer, Caitlin McWilliams, said in her last sentence: "Our country deserves a champion for public health, not a puppet for polluters."

The same day the Missoulian ran a letter that had this headline "EPA nominee a puppet for polluters." And it was worded almost the same, including the same last sentence. So did McWilliams send her letter to the Missoulian? No, authors of the Missoulian letter were Todd and Andrea Onken.

So how did that happen? Did the Onkens copy McWilliams' letter, or vice versa? 

No, what most likely happened is that McWilliams and the Onkens are members of an environmental group that asked members to submit the letter to their local papers. The letter has shown up in at least one other paper across the country.