Steve Bullock Emails

Taylor Amarel filed this request with the Office of the Governor of Montana.


From: Taylor Amarel

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Montana Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All emails sent to, from, or copied to Steve Bullock from January 1, 2019 to June 1, 2019 containing any of the following non-case-sensitive key-strings: "EB-5", "USCIS", " AOC ", "Whistleblower", "Clinton", or "POTUS"

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days.


Taylor Amarel

From: Office of the Governor

Dear :

Today I issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency to exist within the state of Montana related to the communicable disease COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. The emergency order puts the state on highest alert. There are still no confirmed cases in the state.

Now is the time to plan, not to panic. Our state has been preparing for coronavirus to come to Montana and we will be prepared to respond all along the way. Just like we do when any challenging situation hits our communities, we stick together to make sure that we mitigate the impact, that we have an appropriate response, and that we slow the spread.

The emergency order allows me to strengthen the state's coordinated response when an outbreak of Coronavirus occurs. This includes mobilizing all available state resources, such as emergency funds or personnel from the National Guard. It also allows me to take additional steps as warranted.

There are no confirmed cases in the state of Montana to date. However, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, local health departments, health and medical departments and local jurisdictions have activated response plans and protocols to prepare for the arrival of the virus in Montana.

On March 3, I activated the Governor's Coronavirus Task Force, a multi-agency executive task force, to prepare Montana and ensure that the state, local public health, and the federal government are working together to keep Montanans informed with accurate and up-to-date information. The Task Force is spearheaded by Adjutant General Matthew Quinn, who oversees the Disaster and Emergency Services division which is well versed in multi-agency coordination and all-hazard response planning.

If you have any questions or concerns, the Task Force has launched an informational phone line at 1-888-333-0461 and Montanans can also email questions to State public health officials will be responding to inquiries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

You can also contact your local county or tribal health departments by finding their contact information through the online map HERE<>.

A website has also been set up to keep Montanans apprised of Task Force actions at<>. You can also visit the DPHHS website at<> for the most up to date and timely health information related to the coronavirus.

If you have any symptoms, pick up the phone and call your doctor or local public health provider for consultation, instead of driving to the doctor's office or emergency room.

Here are other simple steps you can take:

* Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve

* Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds

* Avoid touching your face

* Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Now is the time to plan, not to panic. As always, my office, the Task Force, and DPHHS will continue to provide up-to-date information to Montanans as it becomes available.

We, as Montanans, plan ahead, look out for our neighbors, and do not buckle in the face of challenge. And with COVID-19, we will do the same.

Thank you,


From: Office of the Governor

This week, I announced a set of directives and guidance to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable Montanans, including closing our public K-12 schools, adhering to social distancing, and limiting visitation at nursing home facilities.

I have directed Montana's public K-12 schools to close starting March 16 until March 27. During this time, schools will engage in planning to provide arrangements to provide free meals to students who need them, pursuant to a waiver obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture, and to provide for all other matters and services that students need in the event of future or ongoing closure.

I recognize that our schools often serve as a lifeline for families and that this decision is going to have disruption on Montanans over the coming weeks. I'm committed to working with schools, communities and public health to minimize the impact. I encourage businesses to do everything they can to support families as well.

I am strongly recommending that the public limits all gatherings, especially no more than 50 people, in every community across the state. I am also recommending that individuals over the age of 60 or who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions do not participate in gatherings of more than 20 people. I also recommend that parents should avoid, if possible, placing children for childcare with grandparents or individuals over the age of 60 or immunocompromised persons.

I have suspended visitation in Montana's nursing homes except for certain compassionate care situations. People who meet the exception for visitation will undergo a screening to determine whether they have traveled in the last two weeks, are residing where community spread is occurring, or if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

As governor, it is my top priority to protect the health and safety of Montanans, particularly our most vulnerable, at a time when we face the potential for extraordinary health risks from coronavirus in our state. Social distancing is one of the most important primary protective measures to flatten the curve of this virus. I cannot underscore the seriousness of following these measures to help our neighbors, friends, and families.

If you have any symptoms, pick up the phone and call your doctor or local public health provider for consultation, instead of driving to the doctor's office or emergency room.

You can contact your local county or tribal health departments by finding their contact information through the online map HERE<>.

The coronavirus Task Force has launched an informational phone line at 1-888-333-0461 and Montanans can also email questions to<>.

A website has also been set up to keep Montanans apprised of Task Force actions at<>. You can also visit the DPHHS website at<> for the most up to date and timely health information related to the coronavirus.

Remember the simple steps you can take:

* Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve

* Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds

* Avoid touching your face

* Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Thank you for making the tough, but correct decisions each and everyday. It's going to take all of us working together to overcome these challenges and dynamic times. But as Montanans, I have no doubt that's what we'll do.



From: Office of the Governor

I want to update you on the actions I am taking to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Montanans. During this time challenging time, I appreciate your patience and your concerns as we act to ensure Montanans’ needs are met.

Both young and older Montanans, in urban and rural communities, have tested positive for coronavirus, making it even more clear that this virus impacts us all and these actions are imperative to protecting our friends and neighbors.

We face extraordinary health risks – and with it even further risks to our economic and social well-being – if we do not act now. I do not take these decisions lightly and they were done so in consultation with public health professionals. Montanans, too, need to take this seriously. It’s up to all of us to stop the spread of this virus.

I want to let you know the actions I have taken to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and the resources available to you and your family:

TRAVEL ADIVSORY: This week I issued a travel advisory for Montanans who have traveled internationally to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to Montana. If you have traveled internationally, please self-quarantine for 14 days and contact your local health department HERE<>.

STATEWIDE CLOSURE OF HIGH-RISK BUSINESSES: On Friday, I announced measures to close dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses and other activities that pose enhanced health risks, effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020. This Directive expires at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2020, the same day that school closures are set to expire, though the date will likely be extended.

Under the Directive, the following places are closed to use and occupancy by members of the public:

* Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar establishments offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption.
* Alcoholic beverage service businesses, including bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
* Cigar bars.
* Health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers, pools and hot springs, indoor facilities at ski areas, climbing gyms, fitness studios, and indoor recreational facilities.
* Movie and performance theaters, nightclubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls.
* Casinos.

TESTING ASSISTANCE: I have announced the State of Montana will pay for COVID-19 tests and treatment for all uninsured Montanans. State funds and potentially federal funds will be used to pay for testing and treatment beginning on March 23. Access to telemedicine services are also expanded to ensure Medicaid patients receive quality health care in their homes to prevent unnecessary gatherings at health care facilities and slow the spread of COVID-19. To access this emergency assistance Montanans can call 406-444-7605 or email

UNEMPLOYMENT: This week, I announced emergency rules to make unemployment benefits accessible to workers laid off due to COVID-19 and waive the one week waiting period before receiving benefits. The rules will ensure that workers impacted by COVID-19, whether it’s because they’ve been laid off, are quarantined, or need to take care of a family member, can do so without worrying about how they will make ends meet during these difficult times.

Claimants are responsible for staying in contact with their employer and return to work when they have the opportunity. People who are eligible for these benefits can apply online at:<> or contact the Unemployment Insurance Division over the phone at: (406) 444-2545.

MONTANA TAX FILING EXTENTION TO JULY 15TH: On Friday, I extended the payment and filing deadlines for 2019 individual income taxpayers to July 15 in accordance with the new federal filing deadline. The deadline for those making estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2020 has also been extended to July 15. The due date for the second quarter remains July 15 at this time. Tax resources are available at:

SOCIAL DISTANCING: We face the potential for extraordinary health risks from coronavirus in our state. Social distancing is one of the most important primary protective measures to flatten the curve of this virus. I cannot underscore the seriousness of following these measures to help our neighbors, friends, and families.

If you have any symptoms, stay home. Call your doctor or local public health provider for consultation. Do not drive the doctor’s office or emergency room.

You can contact your local county or tribal health departments by finding their contact information through the online map HERE<>.

The Coronavirus Task Force has an informational phone line at 1-888-333-0461 and Montanans can also email questions to

You can also find information on the Task Force actions at<>. You can also visit the DPHHS website at<> for the most up to date and timely health information related to the coronavirus.

Thank you again for your sacrifices and commitment to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Montana.

It is helpful to hear from Montanans like you when I am making decisions about the future of our state. I understand these are challenging times and Montanans are facing many hardships. But, I have no doubt as Montanans, we can work together and overcome this challenge.



From: Office of the Governor

TodayI issued a directive to extend closures of public schools and dine-in foodservice and alcoholic beverage businesses through April 10 th. I alsomandated social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Montanaand took actions to give our front-line healthcare workers the resources andsupport they need to do their incredibly difficult jobs.

Yesterday,we saw a 25% increase of our COVID-positive population. And, while I wish itwere otherwise, I certainly expect those numbers to increase, as some communityspread occurs and as further testing is done.

Thatis reason for real concern. It is the actions we are taking today – and actionsbusinesses, individuals and each of us take today and in the immediate futurethat will lessen the spread in Montana.

Forthe most up to date information regarding COVID-19 in Montana, please visit: (
SCHOOLS: School closureshave been extended through April 10 th. School districtswere instructed last week to create plans, in the event of futureclosures, for providing (1) education through remote learning, wherepossible, (2) school meal services, where possible, (3) services for studentswith disabilities, and (4) other services customarily provided to children inschool. Please reach out to your school district superintendent for anyquestions you have about your district and its plans.

School district contactinformation, as well as online learning resources, are available through theCOVID19 website maintained by the Office of Public Instruction: (
SOCIALDISTANCING: Effectiveimmediately, non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individualsoutside of a home or place of residence greater than peopleare prohibited, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannotbe maintained. This measure is consistent with actions taken in other states toslow the spread of COVID-19. ten

Retailbusinesses are also required to establish, implement, and enforce socialdistancing policies to ensure a minimum of betweencustomers, six feet effective March 28, 2020. This requirement does not apply to grocery,health care, medical, or pharmacy services, although they are encouraged tocomply with social distancing protocols and worker safety measures if possible.
Ialso announced measures to give local governments the flexibility they need toadhere to social distancing guidelines and do their part in preventing thespread of COVID-19.

MyDirective suspends certain office hours requirements in state law to allow forlimited closures where local governments cannot safely operate within socialdistancing guidelines. The Directive does not allow suspension of hours foroffices that are required to maintain public health and safety.

I’mpleased that local governments know they can play a key role in slowing thevirus and are taking social distancing measures seriously. Today’s action willkeep the public and local government employees safe while maintaining the localservices Montanans rely on.
HOSPITALSAND HEALTHCARE WORKERS: Montana is also preparing for a potential surge ofpatients needing hospital care.

From: Office of the Governor

TodayI today issued a Directiverequiring Montanans to stay home and temporarily closes all nonessentialbusinesses and operations to stop the spread of COVID-19. ( Theorder goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on March 28 and will buy us timefor health care workers on the frontlines to limit long term impacts to thestate’s economy. Inconsultation with public health experts, health care providers, and emergencymanagement professionals, I have determined that to protect public health andhuman safety, it is essential, to the maximum extent possible, individuals stayat home or at their place of residence. There’s no doubtthat COVID-19 is causing a lot of hardship. It’s also causing incrediblehardships for our doctors, nurses and other hospital staff across the country. Weneed to give them a fighting chance to get ahead of this virus. TheDirective will be in effect through Friday, April 10 and requires allbusinesses and operations in Montana, except for essential businesses andoperations as defined in the Directive,to stop all activities within the state. ( Businesseswith questions can contact a dedicated state line at 1-800-755-6672 and leavemessages 24-hours a day and will receive a prompt response. TheDirective also prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number ofpeople occurring outside a household or place of residence. Essentialservices and businesses will remain operational and open. Businesses deemedessential are required to comply with social distancing guidelines whenpossible including maintaining six feet of distance, having sanitizing productsavailable, and designating hours of operation specifically for vulnerablepopulations. Underthe Directive, Montanans may leave their homes for essential activities,including: For health and safety. To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), such as seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional. For necessary supplies and services . To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences For outdoor activity . To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing, such as walking, hiking, running, or biking. Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, including public lands in Montana provided they remain open to recreation. Montanans are discouraged from outdoor recreation activities that pose enhanced risks of injury or could otherwise stress the ability of local first responders to address the COVID-19 emergency ( e.g., backcountry skiing in a manner inconsistent with avalanche recommendations or in closed terrain). For certain types of work . To perform work providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Directive, including Minimum Basic Operations. To take care of others . To care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household, and to transport family members, friends, or pets as allowed by this Directive. Youcan read my full Directive HERE. (

My Directivefollows federal guidance to determine the businesses and operations deemedessential, which are summarized in the Directive and can also be found here: (

Forthe most up to date information on COVID-19 please go to: (

AsMontanans, we have an obligation to slow the spread of this virus. Our fellowMontanans are counting on all of us to follow these stay at home measures andsave lives.

Thankyou again for your comments to my office and for sharing this information withothers in your community. We must take COVID-19 seriously, and we must take themeasures now to flatten the curve and give our front-line healthcare workersthe ability to fight this disease.

Workingtogether, we can save the lives of our fellow Montanans and our economy from long-termimpacts.



From: Office of the Governor

Today I directed that all travelers coming into Montana fromanother state or country for non-work-related purposes must undergo a 14-dayself-quarantine.

The Directive follows my previous travel advisory for thosetraveling internationally, and also advises vacation listings and rental sitesto notify any out-of-state renters about the quarantine requirement.

Health care workers traveling to assist Montanans are excludedfrom the Directive.

My Directive applies both to Montana residents and non-residentsentering the state for non-work-related purposes. It requires a self-quarantinefor 14 days, or the duration of the traveler’s non-work trip to Montana.

Further, the Directive authorizes the Montana National Guard toconduct temperature checks at Montana airports and rail stations and screen forpotential exposure history for travelers arriving in Montana from another stateor country.

You can read my full Directive HERE (
While we love our visitors, we would ask them not to come visitwhile Montanans are watching out for one another by staying at home. This isimportant not only to protect our health care system, but also to protectagainst the spread of COVID-19.

As of today, travel from another state or country is the mostcommon known source of COVID-19 infections in Montana. I am asking anyone whois in Montana and has recently traveled from another state or country to do theright thing and self-quarantine for 14 day.

Thank you again for your comments to my office and your continuedwork to share important information with our Montana communities. Pleasecontinue to practice social distancing guidelines and stay at home unless it isessential.

Mytop priority is to protect the health and safety of all Montanans. I willcontinue to closely monitor the situation of cross-state travel as more informationbecomes available, and I will take any further action needed to stop the spreadof COVID-19 in our communities.



From: Office of the Governor

One of my toppriorities is continuing to find ways to ease the financial hardships onMontanans from COVID-19.

Thatis why I have announced consumer protection measures to lessen the economicimpacts on Montanans during the COVID-19 statewide emergency by stoppingevictions, foreclosures and the cancellation of utility services includingwater, heating and internet service.
Forthe duration of the Directive, landlords are prohibited from terminating alease or refusing to renew or extend the terms of a current lease agreement, onat least a month-to-month basis.

Italso prohibits late fees or other penalties due to late or nonpayment ofrent and prohibits rent increases except for those previously agreedupon. It also prohibits landlords from seeking damages in court due tononpayment of rent.

TheDirective also stops involuntary sales of homes, foreclosures, liens placed onresidential properties or late fees charged due to inability to pay mortgagepayments on time for the duration of the Directive.
ThisDirective does not relieve tenants from paying rent or borrowers from payingmortgages or other financial obligations related to homeownership.
Additionally,the Directive prohibits suspension of utilities during the emergency ,including electricity, gas, sewage disposal, water, telephone, or internetservices, and prohibits late fees for bills due during the Directive.

Finally,the Directive also requires public housing authorities to extend deadlines forhousing assistance recipients.

Thefederal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) passed byCongress on Friday includes additional funding for the Low-Income EnergyAssistance Program (LIEAP), which helps low-income households with heatinghomes, weatherization, and energy-related low-cost home repairs orreplacements. LIEAP in Montana is administered by DPHHS. To apply for LIEAP,contact your local LIEAP (Human Resource Development Council) offices, call1-833-317-1080 or visit the state’s LIHEAP website at (

You can review my full Directiveonline HERE (

So long as this virus forcesMontanans to stay home to save lives, Montanans need a home to stay in and theessential utilities to live. This order ensures that a loss of income won’tlead to Montanans losing their homes or having the heat or water turned off ifthey can’t pay the rent or make their monthly utility bill.

Thank you again foryour comments to my office and your continued work to share importantinformation with our Montana communities. It is helpful to hear from Montanans like you when I ammaking decisions about the future of our state.
Please continue topractice social distancing and stay at home unless it is for essential travel. Plan ahead for your essential trips in order to limit your contactwith others. No gatherings. Stay 6 feet apart from others when you can. Thesesteps will slow the spread of the virus. These steps will save lives.
I know these are challenging times andMontanans are facing many hardships. But, I have no doubt that as Montanans, wecan work together and overcome this challenge.



From: Office of the Governor

Thank you for your strength and compassionfor our fellow Montanans during this time.

Right now, working together to fight thisvirus actually means staying separate.

Staying at home and taking even oneMontanan out of the chain of transmission could be a life-saving act. For yourneighbors, for your grandparents, for your friends. For our healthcareproviders, our first responders, and our law enforcement.

We also know that approximately 10% ofthose who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Montana work in a healthcaresetting. Staying at home means keeping our heroes on the frontline as healthyas possible. It means protecting those who are more at risk.

In addition to staying at home, always,always wash your hands.

These actions are absolutely critical inpreventing the spread of the virus.

I recognize staying at home presents newchallenges for our uniquely independent, uniquely Montana way of life. Butwe’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit – and it continues to thrive, evenin these times.

We’ve seen manufacturing businesses andteachers with 3D printers making masks, and distilleries making hand sanitizer.

Montanans are also connecting with eachother and with friends across the country over video and social media, hostingvirtual game nights or taproom trivia and checking in frequently with lovedones.

We are making sure our craft breweryindustry can still succeed by making use of curbside delivery. We aresupporting our local restaurants with take out.

And we are getting that breath of freshair that is much needed at this time. I encourage all Montanans to responsiblyenjoy our public lands. That means following social distancing requirements bykeeping at least six feet away from those outside your household when hiking,biking, running, or walking. Avoid crowded trailheads. And recreate near thecommunities you live.

We are lucky to live in a state with anabundance of spectacular, unspoiled nature right outside our backdoors.

We are also lucky to live in a place whereour sense of community is strong. And I know have no doubt that it is strongerthan ever before – because although we can’t actually join arms during thiscrisis, we recognize that the sacrifices made apart right now will ensure thatour state remains together in the future.

I can’t stress enough that every stepMontanans take now and in the following weeks will make all the difference inmanaging us through this crisis. Thanks so much for everything you are doing toplay your part in slowing down the spread of this virus.

You can view all my Directives online at: (



From: Office of the Governor

Today I extended my Directives through April 24 toprotect Montanans from COVID-19 by slowing the spread of the virus in Montana.

These extensions includemy stay at home order, school closures, on-premises dining and beverageoperations, eviction and foreclosure suspensions and service disconnections andthe mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for travelers coming into Montana.

We don’t have to becomelike New York, Louisiana or Idaho. We know that staying home will help toflatten the curve. For every person we take out of the chain of transmission ofthis virus, the more likely our health care facilities can handle the capacityto respond, and the more likely we can beat back this virus sooner rather thanlater.

We stay at home to ensurethat our health care workers and first responders have adequate time to receivethe supplies to keep them, their patients, and their families safe. We stayhome to protect Montanans in our rural communities and our rural health careworkers who face long distances to access care.
Stay home. Avoid gatherings or hangingout with people outside of your household. Only go out if you are an essentialworker, or to take a trip to the grocery store, or to enjoy some fresh air.
, consistent with CDC guidelines, in public settings whereother social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as at grocerystores or pharmacies. Please use cloth face coverings and not surgical masks orN95 masks which are desperately needed by our health care workers and firstresponders. It’s also important to know that while cloth masks do help protectthose around you, they should not be used as a replacement to social distancingor other protective measures such as washing your hands.
I would also encourage you to wear a cloth maskor face covering

We stay at home for the Montanans in our rural communitiesand for our rural health care workers.

We are a state where there can be long distancesto access care. It’s easy to look at the map of COVID-19 cases and see thatmany Central and Eastern Montana counties don’t yet have a positive case.

While this seems like a bright spot, an outbreakin a rural community could overrun a local healthcare facility. The distancesbetween critical care access hospitals in Montana are far between. It isalready difficult for our fellow rural Montanans to access care, and we oughtnot make those challenges more cumbersome.

And we stay at home so that we can more quicklyrebuild our thriving economy. It is not a choice between a healthy populationand a healthy economy. The two go hand in hand.

Managing this public health crisis now will helpto prevent long-term consequences that could upend our economy for a longer durationand with a worse outcome.

I know this is an extremely challenging time forsmall businesses and workers alike. We continue to strive to do everything wecan to help support those businesses and workers during this time.

I can’t stress enough that every step Montananstake now and in the following weeks will make all the difference in stoppingthe spread of COVID-19 and getting our economy back up and running. Thanks somuch for everything you are doing to slow the spread of this virus and care forthe members of your community.

You can view all my Directives that have beenextended online at: (



From: Office of the Governor

When COVID-19 first came to Montana, we took quick and aggressive measures to slow the spread and keep Montanans home during this critical period.

We’ve bought time for our health care workers and first responders on the frontlines and kept hospitals, especially in our rural areas, from becoming overwhelmed. We’ve worked to protect our vulnerable populations and remove as many people from the chain of transmission as possible to reduce infections and save lives.
We have flattened the curve and we have saved lives.
Because we acted early with input from public health and emergency response experts, Montana has a significantly lower rate of infection per capita than many of states that did not act as aggressively.

Yesterday, President Trump convened a call with the nation’s governors and laid out guidelines on reopening the economy. On that call, the President told us that we governors will call the shots in our own states.

First, I want to say thank you, Mr. President, for recognizing that every state is different. Here in Montana, we’ve been able to keep our relatively cases low, because we know what is best for our state and because we care about our neighbors.

Over this past month, Montanans have demonstrated their individual independence and strong sense of community once again. Montanans have protected their family and friends by communicating virtually. They have stayed home while finding ways to support local restaurants and other businesses providing take out or delivery services. Many business owners and entrepreneurs have shifted their efforts to producing 3D masks or producing hand sanitizer to help fight this virus.
These efforts have not been for nothing. Together, we are not only saving lives, but also making it so that we will be able to reopen our state and get our economy thriving again, long before many other states will be able to.
I know Montanans are hurting financially. We all want to get Montanans working again.

So we are taking steps to get there. For over a week, I have been working with public health experts and business leaders to determine how we can open our state up, while keeping people safe and avoiding a new outbreak or becoming the next hotspot in our region.

This week, I announced the creation of the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force to help sustain Montanans through the pandemic and to put the state on a path to economic recovery.

Montana will receive $1.25 billion dollars to respond to this crisis and support Montanans who need it most — small businesses, workers, tribal communities, non-profits, and state and local governments.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Task Force will examine sectors of the economy to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on Montanans, consider the unique needs of each region of the state, and provide guidance on how to best utilize these funds to address the immediate needs of Montanans and with an eye towards an immediate and long-term path to economic recovery.

More than just how to spend money from the federal government, we have been working on how Montanans can be earning and spending their own money. Montana’s Adjutant General Quinn is leading a process based on military strategic planning principles to look at when and how Montana can safely take steps to reopen. The process includes the expertise of public health, emergency response, local providers, and business and industry leaders.
But let me be clear: Montana’s stay at home directive is in effect through April 24 and will stay in effect through April 24. After April 24, we will move forward with a phased reopening.
We all need to understand this will be a gradual process. Because once we begin to reopen, we want to be able to stay open.
Our new normal is going to look different. This virus isn’t going away and we are going to have to continue to adapt with how we live with it for the next while.

By next week, we will have a deliberate plan for reopening, but that will also include thoughtful planning in the event we face any setbacks. This will be a phased reopening.

Like the President said yesterday, this is going to be a process. There are several factors that we are taking into consideration. Some of these metrics President Trump laid out himself yesterday and some of them are unique to Montana.
First, there must be a sustained reduction of new cases for at least 14 days. This is important because 14 days is the incubation period of the virus. We have been tracking our cases closely in Montana. Last week we saw a decline in new positives, and I am hopeful and confident we will see a decline this week as well.
Second, we need to make sure our hospitals are able to safely treat all patients — both COVID-19 and with other conditions — especially in our rural areas.
Third, we need to make sure we have the capacity to test all people with COVID-19 symptoms and the capacity for our state and local public health officials to conduct active monitoring of newly confirmed cases and their contacts.

While our state lab has been able to sufficiently perform testing, we will need to ramp up our testing capacity further. We still, at times, have shortages with swabs and reagents, which impacts our capacity to test on the ground.

We are working on it, but as every governor will tell you, we need the federal government to work with us, not compete with us.

Yesterday, governors across the country — both Democrat and Republican — voiced concern about testing to the President and his administration. I brought up a specific need we have here in Montana as we wait on the test kits to actually be able to perform testing using the fast-testing Abbott machines we have in stock. The President assured me that he would get us the test kits that we need.

I hope that he delivers, and I will be working my hardest to make sure of that. But let’s be honest: we’ve heard a lot of promises from Washington that haven’t always completely materialized.

Finally, we want to reopen in a way that works for our businesses, our public health community, and main streets. We want to do it in the way, so they have sufficient time to be plan for what reopening looks like and that they are prepared.

Again, I want to open things up as much as any Montanan. That’s why we have already begun a process to do so. But we will do it responsibly and in phases in order to ensure we keep the curve flattened, so that we can mitigate the risk knowing the risk is still there.

We will do it in a way that will protect Montanans’ lives and the recovery of our economy. And we will continue to do this the Montana way — based on the data and science on the ground here, not based on politics.

I know this crisis is hurting Montanans — but I also know that if we get this wrong, it will hurt us even more.
In times of crisis, Montanans have always pulled together. That’s how we’ve slowed the spread, protected our nurses and doctors, and saved lives.
Thank you for your comments to my office and for sharing your thoughts on how we can begin to reopen our economy while continuing to protect the health of all Montanans.
We need to keep working together, keep taking care of our neighbors, and keep doing what’s best for Montana.


From: Office of the Governor

Over the last several weeks, Montanans have faced unprecedented challenges. Our way of life has changed rapidly. Like every corner of our country, our once thriving economy is ailing.

We have lost family members and friends.

I’ve said it before and you will hear me say it again: In times of crisis, Montanans have always pulled together. And this time has been no different.

Back in March, we knew that if we did not act, there would be dire consequences. That is why on Thursday, March 12, we declared a state of emergency before there were any confirmed cases of COVID-19 here in Montana.

Just a few days later, after the first confirmed cases of the virus in the state, we made the decision to temporarily close our schools and allow for remote learning.

On March 20th, we announced the closure of higher-risk businesses, such as bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters.

And on March 27, Montana entered into the stay at home order before over half of the states in the country did so.

We have been aggressively managing the virus. As a result of the actions we have taken, we have among the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in the nation, and indeed of all the states, the lowest percentage of positive cases per capita when compared to our population. Montana also has the lowest number of hospitalizations, per capita, in the nation.

In short, we have flattened the curve and saved lives.

That is why today I announced the collective actions and sacrifices of Montanans have allowed us to get to where we are today – to begin a phased reopening of the state.

While there is reason for optimism this is not a time for celebration. I am asking Montanans to continue to go to great lengths to protect one another.
Because once we begin to reopen, we want to be able to stay open.
Our personal responsibility to protect those around us – particularly those most vulnerable – remains as important now as any time during this pandemic.

Montana’s plan to reopen and my Directive are posted online HERE ( and all COVID-19 related information can be found at: ( . My plan includes the steps we’ll be taking starting on Sunday to reopen and includes specific guidance for businesses and others to follow to keep Montanans safe and healthy.

Montana will enter the first phase of the plan beginning Sunday. Schools will have the option to reopen beginning May 7. Mainstreet and retail businesses can open on or after April 27. Places of worship can become operational on or after April 26 th . Gyms, pools, and hot tubs remain closed as do other places of assembly including movie theaters, concert halls and bowling alleys.

Additionally, we are instructing all vulnerable Montanans to continue to follow the stay at home directive.

I strongly encourage business owners to read the guidance posted on the website to make sure they can comply with new requirements lowering capacity and requiring social distancing.

We are relying on Montanans to continue vigilance in handwashing and sanitizing, staying home if sick, calling a provider to get tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and minimizing non-essential travel.

Additionally, visits to Montana’s nursing homes will continue to be suspended except for certain compassionate care situations.

Our senior and assisted living facilities are among the most vulnerable places for cluster outbreaks, and while I can only imagine how hard it is for our legacy Montanans to be isolated as they have been, know that these steps are to keep them safe.

Even as we begin a phased approach to reopening, with the first steps in Phase 1 beginning this Sunday, we are not out of the woods yet with this virus.

Our new normal is going to look different. This virus isn’t gone from Montana. So, as we turn to support our main street businesses and get more families back to work during this time – as we should – we must also be sure to continue looking out for those around us and protecting everyone around us.

We will be monitoring cases closely and carefully. We need to see how this first phase works for Montana in line with our continued efforts to slow the spread of this virus.

Again this phased reopening plan and guidance for impacted businesses can be reviewed online HERE (

Thank you for your comments to my office about how we can continue to protect the health of all Montanans as we start to get Montanans back to work and reengaged in our economy.
We need to keep working together, keep taking care of our neighbors, and keep doing what’s best for Montana.


From: Office of the Governor

Today, I outlined ourframework to ramp up testing capacity in Montana over the next several months.Our goal is to eventually conduct 60,000 tests per month and prioritize testingfor vulnerable Montanans in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, tribalcommunities, and those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Our state public health lab’squick turnaround time has made it possible to isolate positive cases andconduct follow-up work with local public health to quarantine individuals incontact with positive cases, this is known as “contact tracing.”

Thiscommitment to public health and the ability to closely follow and mitigate thespread of the virus has led us to where we are today. This week so far, Montanahas only added 5 new cases.

AsMontana enters phase one of a gradual reopening, our work is not done.

Today,I outlined my testing framework to ramp up testing in Montana.

Firstand foremost, I am establishing a long-term testing target of 60,000 tests permonth.

Thefederal government has committed to the states that it will supply 12.7 millionswabs every month beginning in May. These testing supplies will be securedthrough public and private partnerships among the federal government, states,and private labs.

Lastweek, we secured 5,000 swabs from FEMA. This week, thus far we have secured10,000 swabs from FEMA with another 7,000 expected to arrive today.Additionally, we received 3,000 swabs from the private side.

Myteam and I will continue working every day toward a consistent supply chain ofswabs and other testing materials. Our ability to reach long-term testingtargets over the coming months relies on the availability of these testingsupplies.

Whilewe work to ramp up testing to reach our long-term testing target, there areadditional steps we will be taking.
First, we are continuing to askproviders to test anyone with one or more symptoms of COVID-19.
Second, we will be testingresidents and employees in nursing homes and assisted living facilities withinthe next month.
Third, beginning in May, we willconduct testing of small samples of symptomatic and asymptomatic populations inMontana’s tribal communities. And finally, as testing becomesmore widely available, we will be partnering with Community Health Centers totest frontline workers and further conduct general population testing. Aswe engage in greater testing among vulnerable populations, we have establishedfive strike teams to help in the event we have positive tests.

Eachteam is made up of a certified nurse and five National Guard members who can bedeployed across Montana. Beginning in May, the teams will be available toprovide assistance to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and tribalcommunities in the event of a COVID-9 positive test.

Furthermore,using available CARES Act dollars, I will be establishing a $5 million grantprogram for local public health offices.

Thesedollars can be used by local public health offices to help establish enhancedCOVID-19 contact tracing programs.

Thedollars can also be used by public health officials working with localbusinesses to develop plans to reopen that follow necessary physical distancingprotocols.

Whilewe work to ramp up testing capacity, recognize that this virus is and willcontinue to be in Montana for the foreseeable future.

Aswe continue to do our part at the state and in working with the federalgovernment, Montanans must continue to do their part, too.

AsMontanans begin to make their way back to socially distanced church services,as businesses begin to reopen their doors and as Montanans enjoy a locallybrewed beer in the backyard with a friend or neighbor, we must continue totreat this virus with the same vigilance as before.

Inaddition to washing hands, maintaining social distance and sanitizing, Istrongly encourage Montanans to wear a non-medical face covering when in public ,especially in grocery stores or other places where social distancing isn’tpractical. It is with these simple precautions during phase one that we canprotect our neighbors.

Aswe create and begin to navigate this new normal together, we must remainflexible, vigilant and patient, because life will still be much different thanit was before this virus.

Iwant to thank you for your continued vigilance and commitment to keepingMontana healthy and safe during this challenging time.

Ialso thank our hard-working frontline health care workers – our nurses,doctors, and hospital staff, our experts at the state lab, our stateepidemiologists and local public health experts – for their efforts to keepMontanans safe and healthy. Thankyou for your comments to my office. It is important for me to hear from you andthe needs of your community while we continue to work together to keepMontanans safe while reopening our economy.



From: Office of the Governor

Today, I announced that families, small businesses,non-profits, health services centers and individuals across Montana who arehardest-hit by the impacts of COVID-19 will be eligible for grants through ninenew programs created in response to the emergency.

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented challenges andMontanans have gone to great lengths to meet those challenges. By taking thisvirus seriously, we all have made it possible to gradually reopen the state andwork toward our new normal. Main street and retail businesses have reopenedunder new guidelines to keep workers and customers safe, and this weekrestaurants, bars, and other establishments are beginning to reopen as well.

I’m pleased that businesses are being thoughtfuland creative to carefully reopen, but I understand that it will take some timeto adjust. A significant portion of Montana’s workers, businesses, and economicsectors have been impacted by this emergency and need assistance now.

That’s why guided by more than 1,400 publiccomments and my Coronavirus Relief Fund Advisory Council, I am making$123,550,000 available for the first round of emergency grants funded throughthe federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.Beginning Thursday, May 7, Montanans out of work,families with limited resources, small businesses, non-profits and others canapply for financial relief for things like rental and mortgage assistance,business and non-profit grants, grants to serve seniors and those living with adisability, food banks and local food producers.

The following new programs join the state’s suiteof existing support services and direct federal programs:
The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide workingcapital for Montana-owned small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that havesustained a loss of revenue due to COVID 19. Current funding available is $50million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.
The Montana Innovation Grantprogram is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or driveexpanded distribution of products or services developed in response toCOVID-19. Non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees withprimary operations in Montana that have created an innovative product orservice intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency can apply forgrants of up to $25,000. Current funding available is $5 million.
Montana Food and AgricultureAdaptability Program grantsare available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase communityresilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Examplesof eligible projects include those focused on accessing new markets, projectswhich strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptationsthat decrease food and agricultural waste. Current funding available is$500,000, with a maximum grant award of $10,000.
Emergency Housing AssistanceProgram willprovide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insuranceassistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial incomeloss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments mayinclude up to three months assistance where the eligible household candemonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make theirJune payment. Montana Housing will pay thedifference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthlyincome and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 amonth. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based onfamily size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are noteligible. Total funding available is $50 million.
Public Health Grants are available to local andtribal health departments and urban tribal clinics to help in the response toCOVID-19 and to meet the needs of their communities. Each organization iseligible to apply for funding. Current funding available is $5 million.
Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 perapplicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors.Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities,nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fundtechnologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of socialinteraction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency.Current funding available is $400,000.
Food Bank and Food PantryAssistance ofup to $50,000 per applicant are available to increase food security forMontanans hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants includecommunity organizations providing food assistance to Montanans with limitedresources, food banks, food pantries, community cupboards, and entities withinfrastructures already in place to begin new food distribution programs.Current funding available is $2 million.
Social Services NonprofitGrants of up to $10,000 perapplicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, ororganizational viability for provision of future services and operations.Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofitsthat were operating prior to February 15, 2020. Current funding available is$10 million.
Telework Assistance Grants ofup to $1,000 per individual will go towards purchasing equipment to assistMontanans with disabilities access telework equipment. DPHHS will partner witha local non-profit organization to assess and support assistive technologyneeds of individuals with disabilities during COVID-19. This assistancewill help ensure people with disabilities have the equipment needed to adapt tothe change in working environment due to COVID-19. Current fundingavailable is $650,000.
A comprehensive information resource andapplication portal is available at ( The application portion of the website will go live at 8:00am on Thursday,May 7. To prepare for the application, businesses and non-profits shouldhave their tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of howthe grant will be spent, and a brief description of how COVID-19 has impactedtheir operations. Homeowners and renters should have bank account informationavailable and verification of job or income loss.

Montanans have made it clear it’s imperative thatwe do everything possible to ensure small businesses can responsibly reopen,non-profits continue to serve our vibrant communities, homeowners can stay intheir homes, and Montanans most in-need have access to services. We’re all inthis together and I know Montana will emerge from this challenge even strongerthan before.

As we look to deploy these dollars as quickly aspossible to support Montanans and businesses alike during these times, we’realso continuing to protect the health and safety of Montanans.

The stay-at-home order bought us time to ramp upour testing capacity and make sure that we can secure additional testingsupplies. It allowed us to find adequate PPE supply chains on the private sideand in partnership with the federal government. We will continue to bolster ourtesting capacity, secure additional supplies, and ensure we are prepared.

As Montana continues on what is now a month-longdecline in cases, I will again reiterate this is not the time to let ourguard down. What we did to suppress the virus in Montana during thestay-at-home order worked, and as we gradually begin to reopen, we need to actmuch as we did under the stay-at-home order. We all must remain vigilant, keepup social distancing, diligent hand-washing, and wearing non-medical facecoverings when in public, especially in grocery stores or other places wheresocial distancing isn’t practical.

With our careful actions, we can continue to moveforward in containing this virus, rather than having to take steps backwards.

Thank you for your continued commitment to keepingMontana healthy and safe during this challenging time.



From: Office of the Governor

August 4, 2020

Dear Taylor:

Attached are email communications responsive to your records request concerning all emails sent to, from, or copied to Steve Bullock from January 1, 2019, to June 1, 2019, containing any of the following keywords: "EB-5," "USCIS," "AOC," "Whistleblower," "Clinton," or "POTUS." Fees are waived.

Thank you.

Guylaine Gelinas
Administrative Specialist
Chief Legal Counsel's Office
Office of the Governor
State of Montana
(406) 444-5553<>

This email message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s)
and may contain confidential information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution
is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by email reply
and destroy all copies of the original message including any attachments.

From: Office of the Governor


I wanted to write to you today to give anupdate on our state budget and how we are using our Coronavirus Relief Fund to providemuch needed aid to support our local businesses and communities.
Despite the many unprecedented challengesamidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Montana has remained financially resilient,providing us with the resources we need to face this year’s fire season as wecontinue to respond to the spread of the coronavirus in Montana.
Thanks to their responsible stewardship oftaxpayer dollars, state agencies under my leadership finished the fiscal yearunder budget, allowing for an estimated $46.7 million transfer from the generalfund to the fire fund. This puts the fire fund at its statutory maximum of$101.5 million, or 4% of fiscal year 2021 appropriations, for the first time inhistory, enough to cover nearly five average years of state wildfiresuppression costs.

Additionally, the Budget StabilizationReserve remains at its statutory maximum, which is $114.2 million or 4.5% offiscal year appropriations. This represents the second year in a row that theBudget Stabilization Reserve has been funded to its statutory cap and it isavailable to sustain the budget should revenue collections or expenditures varyfrom projections.

The balances of the general fund, the firefund, and the Budget Stabilization Reserve total $620 million as the 2021fiscal year begins. While we all know a lot can change before the year is out,these are optimistic signs that we can continue to navigate these challengingtimes without needing to make painful cuts to the essential services Montanansrely on.

Separate from the state’s budget, wereceived funding from the federal government to help spearhead our economic recovery.To date, we have allocated nearly 80% of the CARES Actdollars, with over $270 million of that awarded, to help Montanans, smallbusinesses, schools, nonprofits, farmers and ranchers, and local governmentsand more toward economic recovery. We continue to get dollars out the door tosupport the small businesses and workers across the state as we work to safelyreopen.
In addition, we recently doubled the fundsavailable through our Business Stabilization Program, allowing us to distributemore money directly to the nearly 8,000 small Montana businesses who arealready participating in the program and increasing the amount available to newapplicants.
For additional information on currentgrant funding, eligibility requirements or to apply, visit ( . A transparency dashboard is available to provide information on whichbusinesses CARES Act funding is going to, in every community of the state, at: (

Thank youfor everything you have done over the last five months to keep your familiesand communities safe. I continue to be amazed by the determination andresiliency of the people of this state.



From: Office of the Governor

Dear Friends:

Montana’skids are remarkable. These past few months, we have learned they are resilient,adaptable, and enthusiastic about overcoming challenges for the activities theylove. I know these first days of school are much different than they were lastyear, but together we will get our students the education they need in a safeand healthy environment.

Lisaand I are grateful to our educators for their dedication to our children andstudents during this pandemic. We owe so much to everyone who has striven toprovide for students’ emotional, nutritional, and educational needs throughoutthis situation. Cafeteria staff, para-educators, custodians, and other staffhave stepped up to the plate for our kids. On behalf of all Montanans, I thankyou.

Whileno one could have predicted COVID-19 or its path, we have spent the lastseveral years preparing our communities to be adaptable to the changingeducational landscape. Our efforts to fund and bring technology into theclassroom over the past years mean that students have access to the learningoption that is best for them during this time – whether that’s mixed instructionor full online learning.

For kids, schoolis more than academics. It is where they learn social and emotional skills, andwhere they can access mental health support. For many families, school is wherekids get healthy meals, access to the internet, and other vital services.Whether a student lives on a ranch, in a tribal community, or in an urban area,education is and will continue to be our great equalizer. Even though schoollooks a bit different this year, I know that will continue to be the case.