Special Session (No. 306)Governor Schweitzer called lawmakers back to Helena in December to "finish the job" on funding K-12 education. Montana Focus looks at the tension between Republicans and Democrats over coming up with a court ordered formula for funding public education that led up to the session. Veteran capitol reporter Mike Dennison, who covered the school funding issue, joins Gene Brodeur in the Opinion segment for an analysis of the accomplishments and shortcomings of the Special Session. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU Bozeman.
Montana Focus' Gene Brodeur examines the impact of the nearly 40 billion dollar congressional deficit reduction plan on Montana's social welfare programs. Also, Lee Newspapers' Capitol Reporter Mike Dennison joins us in our Opinion segment. Finally, Karl Birkeland of the National Avalanche Center, looks at the increase of snowmobiling in avalanche terrain and the accompanying risks. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU Bozeman.
Cutting The Deficit (No. 307)
Over the past 2 years some 160 human cases of avian flu have been reported. Montana Focus examines state preparations to deal with the threat of a global flu pandemic. We?ll update the Medicare drug coverage plan, which got off to a shaky start in Montana. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman, 994-3437.
Pandemic Preparedness (No. 308)
The Bush administration wants to sell off public land parcels to make up for an $800 million dollar shortfall in rural education funding. Montana Focus looks at what?s up for grabs in our state, who?s for it, and who is opposed. Bozeman Daily Chronicle editor Bob Gibson weighs in on the public lands sale debate and the faith-based group Family Promise lends a helping hand to homeless families. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-MontanaPBS, MSU Bozeman.
For Sale: Public Lands (No. 309)
Host Gene Brodeur looks at the fine print in the National Uniformity for Food Act. Grocery chains support it, consumer groups are wary, and state governments fear it will override their food safety standards. In the opinion segment, Gene visits with Billings Gazette editor Steve Prosinski, and finally Mike Jetty considers the role of tribal singing as an important element of Indian Education for All. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU Bozeman.
It's All in the Labeling (No. 310)
There's a lot going on with Montana's energy picture. An Australian company would like to buy NorthWestern Energy and the PSC wants to undo deregulation in our state. In addition PSC Commissioner Bob Raney is threatening to play the "eminent domain" card to regain control of hydro electric generating plants currently owned by PPL Montana. Montana Standard editor Gerry O'Brien weighs in on the NWE proposed sale in our Opinion segment. And, we go to Judith Gap for a look at the emerging popularity of wind power as an alternative source of energy. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman, (406) 994-3437.
Power Play (No. 311)
One out of every five Montanans has no health insurance. Montana Focus' Gene Brodeur looks at the steady climb in health insurance premiums against a backdrop of a growing number of residents who can't afford basic health care. Lee Newspaper's Capitol Bureau Chief, Chuck Johnson, assesses the key races leading up to the November election and war veterans and their families talk about sacrifice and homecoming. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM/MontanaPBS, MSU Bozeman.
Rx for Health Care (No. 312)
The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Conrad Burns (R) and challenger Jon Tester (D) is one of the hottest political contests in the November election. Montana Focus spends a day on the campaign trail with these two candidates to find out which issues are of concern to Montana voters, and to examine the candidates' interaction with their constituents. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM-MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman, (406) 994-3437.
Ramping Up: Montana's U.S. Senate Race (No. 401)