Legislative Update: Monday, April 3

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Eric Moore

Raise for care workers rejected

By Cole Grant

All day Monday, Montana senators debated the state’s $10 billion-plus budget.

Sen. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, carried one of the more expensive amendments in the Senate that would have added a dollar an hour per year to the wages of workers who care for seniors and disabled Montanans.

The amendment failed, as did similar ones throughout the day.

“We have to recognize that there are a lot of people left on the table that are not going to get their needs met,” Caferro said. “And I think if this doesn’t get fixed down the road, we’re going to find in the next two years that we’ll be hearing from people in our districts.”

Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, said giving money to programs like these would be a worthy act.

“But we have to come and say fiscal realities have to hit some time,” he said. “Where are you going to cut? Where are you going to offset?”

House Bill 2, the state’s main budget bill, passed the House 58-40 last week before moving to the Senate.

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.

For Senate sergeant-at-arms, no concealed weapon

By Freddy Monares

The House of Representatives unanimously rejected a Senate amendment Monday that would have allowed the Senate sergeant-at-arms to carry concealed weapons on public property.

The Senate added the amendment to House Bill 280, which would allow lawmakers to carry concealed handguns on public property. The amended bill passed the Senate in March on a 32-to-18 vote.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, spoke against the amendment.

“Unfortunately they did not include the sergeant-at-arms on our side. I’m asking for a do not concur, as being only fair to the House of Representatives,” Brodehl said.

Sen. Pat Connell, R-Hamilton, introduced the amendment during debate on the bill in the Senate.

“This gentleman, as sergeant, has the responsibility to protect all our hind ends,” Connell said.

The bill will now be sent to a combined committee of House and Senate members to resolve disagreements on the bill before being sent to the governor.

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.

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