At Legislature’s midsession, governor praises education funding, House speaker touts infrastructure

The 2019 Montana Legislature began its midsession break on Friday afternoon. (John Adams/Montana Free Press)

(UM Legislative News Service) The 66th Montana Legislature is at its halfway mark, the transmittal deadline, which means any policy bills that haven’t made it through their first house will not advance.

Fifty-nine bills have passed both houses and have reached the governor’s desk. Gov. Steve Bullock said one of the most impactful laws he’s signed is House Bill 159, which will add about $77 million in funding for K-12 education.

“I’m glad that the education committee got that to me early on,” Bullock said.

Speaker of the House Greg Hertz, R-Polson, said he’s proud of passing bills like Miles City Republican Rep. Eric Moore’s House Bill 553, an infrastructure payment bill that mixes borrowed money and cash to pay for public works projects. He also says he intends to keep stopping bills that would increase taxes as the session moves forward.

“It’s not just about passing bills too, it’s about killing bad legislation for the state and Montana taxpayers,” Hertz said.

About 200 bills will die at the transmittal deadline. That is roughly a fourth of all bills introduced.

Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Newspaper Association.