Governor Gianforte signed the TEACH Act, aimed at increasing the starting pay for teachers in Montana, into law on Friday,

March 5.

Photo Credit:

Office of

the Governo

Gianforte signs TEACH Act
to increase starting teacher pay

Press Release

Office of the Governor


On Friday, March 5, Governor Greg Gianforte signed the TEACH Act into law at Sacajawea Elementary School in Great Falls.

The TEACH Act, or Tomorrow’s Educators Are Coming Home Act, provides $2.5 million in incentives to improve starting teacher pay in the state. Currently, Montana has the lowest average starting teacher pay in the country.

“This new law will help increase starting teacher pay and make it easier for tomorrow’s educators to stay in Montana or come back home,” Governor Gianforte said. “Democrats and Republicans in the legislature delivered on this bill to strengthen our classrooms and communities. This new law is a promising step forward as we lead the Montana comeback. I thank Superintendent Arntzen for her support and Representative Jones for sponsoring the TEACH Act.”

Sponsored by Rep. Llew Jones (R-Conrad), the bipartisan TEACH Act is a signature element of the
governor’s Roadmap to the Montana Comback budget. Governor Gianforte campaigned on increasing starting teacher pay and emphasized its importance in his State of the State address in January.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and Representative Jones joined Governor Gianforte for the bill signing.

“I celebrate today’s signing of the TEACH Act into law. Recruitment and retention of quality classroom teachers has been and remains my priority. As a 23 year public school teacher, I applaud Governor Gianforte’s innovative efforts to fulfill the promise to Montana students,” Arntzen said.

“Beginning teacher pay in Montana is dead last in the nation. The goal of the TEACH Act is to incentivize local schools to pay beginning teachers more so we can keep new educators in the state. I appreciate
Governor Gianforte signing this overwhelmingly
bipartisan measure into law,” Rep. Jones said.

The TEACH Act passed the Montana Senate 50-0 and the Montana House of Representatives 95-2.


Montana Historical Society seeks nominees
for 2021 Heritage Keeper Awards

The Montana Historical Society is seeking nominations for people and organizations whose exemplary commitment to identifying and preserving our historical and cultural heritage makes them eligible for the Heritage Keeper Awards.

Up to three people or organizations will be honored by the MHS Board of Trustees for the Heritage Keeper Awards. An additional award, The Montana Heritage Guardian Award, given out only on special merit, will recognize the accomplishments of one of the Heritage Keeper Award nominees with a record of outstanding accomplishments.

To qualify, the individual must be alive, and organizations must be currently active. The nominee must have demonstrated a commitment to a significant Montana history project or have identified and preserved objects or property of significance to Montana’s history and culture.

Organizations also must have a record of preserving Montana’s historical and cultural heritage.

All nominators must show that their nominee demonstrates a commitment to Montana’s historical and cultural preservation beyond the requirements of professional employment, or an organization’s specific goals and objectives. Evaluations will focus on the significance and impact of the overall work in enhancing, promoting, and stimulating the general publics’ interest in a specific aspect of Montana history and culture.

“Areas of interest can include historic building and landscape preservation; sustained historical and cultural research and publication; fine art history and preservation; and efforts to promote and educate future generations on the historical and cultural legacy of all Montanans,” said MHS Director Molly Kruckenberg. “We look forward to hearing from you.”

The nomination deadline is April 1, 2021. The nomination form and additional information can be found online at under the “About MHS” tab, then follow the Trustee link. Nominations may be resubmitted on an annual basis if the person or organization didn’t previously receive a Heritage Keeper award.

Nominations or questions can be emailed to Jodel Fohn at, or mailed to
Heritage Keeper Awards Chair, Montana Historical Society, P.O. Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201. The forms also can be dropped off at the MHS at 225 North Roberts in Helena.

Awards will be presented by the MHS Board of Trustees at its annual Montana History Conference in Butte this September.

For more information, contact Eve Byron, MHS public information officer, at 406/444-6843 or

DEQ Announces Spring & Summer Open Burning Season 

Submitted by
Montana DEQ


The Montana spring and summer open burning season began March 1. While burning is allowed year-round, there are different restrictions and requirements throughout the seasons.

The Department of Environmental Quality reminds people to comply with air quality rules and use good judgment to prevent wildfires.

To burn March 1 through Aug. 31, please follow the below steps:

– Obtain a permit from your local fire control authority. 

– Check with your local air quality program for restrictions in Missoula, Cascade, Yellowstone, Lincoln and Flathead counties. 

– On the day of your burn, activate your county permit. 

– Be aware of local conditions and burn smart.  

– Check back on Sept. 1 for fall burning restrictions. 


To obtain a permit, go to:

If your county is not listed on the website, call your local fire control authority to obtain one.

While DEQ air quality approval is not required during this burn season, contact local fire control authorities prior to burning to get permission and information on local fire safety-related requirements.

DEQ also recommends contacting county health departments to determine whether any county level air quality requirements exist and to follow local regulations.

Only clean, untreated wood and plant material can be burned. Do not burn: food wastes, plastics, wood that has been coated, painted, stained, or treated, dead animals or animal droppings, rubber materials, chemicals, asphalt shingles, tar paper, hazardous wastes or structures containing these materials.

A full list of prohibited materials can be found on the DEQ open burning website at:

The spring and summer open burning season will end on Aug. 31. For more information on air quality related open burning rules, prohibited materials, frequently asked questions and state permit requirements, please visit DEQ’s open burning webpage at or call 406-444-3490.


The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is charged with protecting a clean and healthy environment as guaranteed by Montana’s State Constitution. Our goal is to protect public health and maintain Montana’s high quality of life for current and future generations. For more information about DEQ programs, please visit: