Montana Legislature votes to adjourn, 68th Session comes to a close
(KPAX) The Montana House of Representatives has wrapped up its work for the 68th Session, joining the Senate in adjourning.
The late Tuesday sine die vote came after a packed day in the House, with floor sessions starting at 8:00 a.m. At 9:14 p.m. representatives voted 89 to 7 to adjourn for the session.
Earlier in the evening, the House concurred with Senate amendments to House Bill 2, Montana's primary budget bill for the next two years.
“House Bill 2, I think it does good work overall for this state,” said Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad. “It will serve us well over the next biennium.”
The Senate's surprising decision to adjourn Tuesday afternoon left the House needing to adjust.
“Things have changed slightly in the last couple of hours,” said Rep. Paul Green, R-Hardin.
The House needed to reconsider its actions on a series of significant bills, since they could no longer work out differences with the Senate in a conference committee.
“What we need to do is the bills that are within the House control, we'd have to keep them as they came over from the Senate,” said House Speaker Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalispell. “So that is the situation the House finds itself in tonight.”
After final votes on more than 50 bills the House still had under consideration, the House heard farewell speeches from 15 termed-out members, Minority Leader Rep. Kim Abbott, R-Helena, Majority Leader Rep. Sue Vinton, R-Billings and Regier. Finally, the motion to adjourn sine die came from Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls.
The Montana Legislature by law is required to complete their work in 90 working days. Tuesday marked the 87th day of the 68th session. May 2 was the latest in the calendar year the legislature has been in session since at least 1999, the earliest MTN could find records for.
Between both the House and the Senate, 1698 bills were introduced with more than 740 being passed.