By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service
HELENA – The state budget bill, which governs state agency spending for the next two years, passed out of the Montana House of Representatives Friday on a 58-to-40 vote.
House Bill 2, distributing more than $10 billion over the biennium, has been the most contentious bill in the legislative session thus far.
Democrats offered 25 amendments during a debate Thursday, all of which were shot down mostly on party lines.
Republican Rep. Nancy Ballance of Hamilton is the sponsor of the budget bill.
“On your desk is a packet of amendments totaling over $200 million in additional spending in no priority order that I can see, that will completely blow up this budget,” Ballance said Thursday.
Democratic Rep. Bryce Bennett of Missoula opposed the bill.
“It’s a bad bill for working people, working families. It’s a bad bill for people who are struggling, and it’s a bad bill for Montana,” Bennett said.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.