Steve Bullock

Recent Posts

As Legislature winds down, a look at a fairly civil session

Capitol

HELENA — After nearly five months of hearings, debates, floor action and votes, Montana’s 65th Legislative session is coming to a close. While lawmakers are constitutionally required only to draft and pass a two-year budget for the state’s numerous offices and programs—which they did last week—legislators from all walks of life address the concerns of their constituents, as well as their own ideas in the other bills they bring. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Making sense of Legislature’s surviving tax proposals

em

HELENA — When it comes to balancing the state budget, there are two schools of thought—raise taxes and generate revenue, or cut spending and save money. With the state facing a budget shortfall, that ideological difference has become all the more prominent throughout Montana’s 65th legislative session. Often, it defines party lines. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Prairie Lights: A new low for state’s House Republicans

Whips

The 2017 Montana Legislature is not scheduled to adjourn for three more weeks, but I think we can already identify the most craven act of the session. That would be the House’s rejection of a bill to allow all-mail balloting in the special congressional election scheduled for May 25. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

‘Lyin’ King’ featured at ‘SNL Helena’

With a tempting target in the White House and budget cuts looming, the “Saturday Night Live Helena” show took on added urgency this year. Helena thespians, singers and dancers put the show on every two years when the Montana Legislature is in session. The aim is to battle the perceived failings of state and national politics with one of the oldest of weapons: satire. This year’s show was reeled off in a snappy two hours, and if not every joke worked, no problem; another followed within seconds. Periodic news updates (Grizzly bears are reported fleeing public schools since the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) and parodied beer commercials for Goose Kill and Berkeley Pit IPA help held the disparate parts together. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,

At halfway point, legislative focus is on budget

AK

The 65th Montana legislative session has reached its halfway point, and the state budget still weighs heavy. Republicans and Democrats are working to reach a compromise on how to fund state programs, with battles over other policy happening simultaneously. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , ,

Opinion: Historical society upgrades are long overdue

Center

Gov. Steve Bullock’s request to the current Legislature to expand and upgrade the 65-year-old Montana Historical Society facility has been misrepresented by some as unneeded “pork. “ This characterization is both wrong and ridiculous. Fortunately, however, members of both political parties recognize the real and critical need to care for and provide access to priceless collections belonging to the people of Montana and provide continuing economic development—jobs during construction and development of enhanced tourism dollars in the future. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , ,

Legislative Update: Thursday, Feb. 2

Governor issues first veto of session
By Freddy Monares
Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed the first bill of the 2017 Montana legislative session and offered up an amendment to decrease a raise in legislator pay. House Bill 1 would have increased the legislators’ pay by 14 percent for the next legislative session. Bullock amended the bill with an increase of only 1.4 percent, to coincide with the rate of inflation. He says the state needs to “live within its means.”

“At the same time that we’re tightening the belt of the rest of government, the legislative branch sent me a bill to increase the spending of their branch of government by 14 percent,” Bullock said. Republican Rep. Nancy Ballance said she was blindsided by the veto. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Governor touts investments, ‘constructive dialogue’

Guv

Editor’s note: This is an updated story covering the governor’s speech. Gov. Steve Bullock outlined his goals for the 2017 Legislature on Tuesday during his third State of the State address, including a responsible state budget, infrastructure, business growth and education. While addressing a joint session of the House and Senate, Bullock named common values, including, “Fiscal responsibility. Education. Infrastructure. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Health care among issues under scrutiny in Helena

Sesso

The Montana Legislature debated two bills last week that would give patients a more active role in determining the cost of their health care. Senate Bill 100, introduced by Sen. Cary Smith, R-Billings, would give patients the option of directly determining payment options with their doctor for day-to-day care without having to go through insurance. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , ,