Legislative Update: Friday, April 21

Budget bill on the way to governor

By Cole Grant

It’s been a long, hard trek, but the $10.3 billion Montana state budget is now on its way to Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk.

Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, chairs the House Appropriations Committee and is sponsoring House Bill 2. She said the budget cuts as deeply as it could without impacting essential services like education, healthcare and corrections.

“Now, some say we didn’t spend enough, others are saying we didn’t cut enough,” she said.

Bullock said he thinks there have been constructive conversations with both Democrats and Republicans about how to make a budget that funds essential services, doesn’t spend more than it brings in, “and leaves me with a degree of flexibility so I’m not picking up the pieces and calling them back into session.”

Bullock now has 10 days to review the bill. As with any other bill, if he doesn’t sign or veto it in that time, it automatically becomes law.

Cole Grant 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.

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