By Cole Grant / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – The 2017 Montana legislative session will continue Tuesday morning with a “law school” intended to help new legislators understand the lawmaking process.

Republican Rep. Rob Cook of Conrad sees the state budget as the central issue for the 65th Legislature.

Rob Cook
Rob Cook

“We have to make some fairly substantial cuts across the board,” Cook said Monday. “Right now, we’re looking at accepting the governor’s packages of cuts, and actually going a little bit lower than that.”

Lawmakers are also considering 225 other introduced bills spanning the full range of social, economic and legal issues.

Democratic Rep. Virginia Court of Billings says a bill that would create a primary seatbelt law would save lives in Montana.

“You can only be stopped for not wearing a seatbelt if you have a taillight out, or you’re speeding or something,” Court said. “This would make it a primary offense for not having it.”

Thirty-four states currently have primary seatbelt laws.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, brought to you by the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.