Shouting “courage, not cuts,” a group of demonstrators gathered in downtown Missoula on Thursday night to urge state legislators to reconsider proposed cuts to the budget – cuts that could have far-reaching impacts on seniors and students.
The House of Representatives passed 17 bills on Tuesday, including one bill that would create a statewide public lands day. The bill, House Bill 491, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Court, D-Billings, passed on a narrow vote of 52-48.
Former lawmaker and now lobbyist Bob Gilbert of Sidney says after the transmittal break, he expects to concentrate on money: “Taxation bills, appropriations bills, anything that raises revenue. Or costs revenue,” he said.
Week 8 is in the books for the Montana Legislature, and reporter Michael Siebert has a detailed look back at the people, protests and major issues that dominated the agenda as lawmakers near the transmittal deadline and a brief break in the 65th session.
The 65th Montana Legislative Session has reached its halfway point, and the state budget still weighs heavy. Both Republicans and Democrats are working to reach a compromise on how to fund state programs, with battles over other policy happening simultaneously.
The Montana Senate convened Friday for a special floor session that started at 8 a.m., in an effort to get through bills and bank days for a possible special session the Legislature may have to call to deal with changes in the state budget that could come from a possible repeal of Obamacare and other federal programs.
A controversial bill that would allow counties in Montana to choose an all mail-in ballot in the special election to replace Congressman Ryan Zinke passed the Senate on a 37-13 vote Friday. Republicans have been split on the issue of mail-in ballots.
The House Business and Labor Committee tabled a bill Friday that would have cut in half how far a retail business that serves alcohol has to be from a school or place of worship. House Bill 535 would’ve cut that distance down to 300 feet, but it would only apply if the customers aren’t visible from either of those places.