Steve Bullock

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‘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 →

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At halfway point, legislative focus is on budget

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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Governor touts investments, ‘constructive dialogue’

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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 →

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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 →

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Montana Viewpoint: Hidden spending needs review, too

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Montana is experiencing a cash flow problem and the governor and legislators are looking at ways to balance the budget. To do this, the Republican-controlled Legislature is looking at cutting funding to services that benefit Montanans. Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, is looking at cutting some of that funding as well, but he is also looking at raising revenue to prevent cuts by increasing taxes on incomes over $500,000, basically recovering a portion of a tax break enacted in 2003, discussed below. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Budget gets top billing, but plenty on the table in Helena

Keane

Budget subcommittees proposed further cuts to Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget throughout the second week of the Montana Legislature. “If we can get through the budget and balance it, that will be probably all we can do,” said Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Budget takes center stage in Legislature’s first week

Sesso

HELENA — Montana’s 2017 Legislature has begun to tackle a wide swath of issues, from public safety to infrastructure, from education to agriculture. But as the first of many bills were read in committee rooms around the Capitol last week, it became clear that everything this time around would focus on the budget. During a Republican caucus Tuesday, House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, told fellow party members that the challenges the entire Legislature faces in the coming months would be daunting. (more…) Continue Reading →

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