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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

House Republicans Reject 40 Democratic Budget Amendments

Michael Wright - Community News Service

The Montana House set aside its usual schedule Wednesday for a marathon floor session devoted to the state budget.

Democrats brought up 40 amendments to increase funding for a wide range of state departments, restoring money that the House Appropriations Committee cut from the governor’s budget proposal. The Republican majority rejected most of them on party-line votes.

One amendment that came close to passing was Butte Democrat Ryan Lynch’s proposal to restore $700,000 cut from the Governor’s office, including $330,000 for the executive airplane.

"I think that we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and just say, is this really what we want to do," Lynch asked." Is this the message that Montana wants to send to the rest of the nation? That we’re not going to fully fund our  Governor’s office as the executive of the government of Montana?"

Lynch failed to sway enough Republicans to restore the cuts. His amendment narrowly failed by a vote of 49 to 51. That’s the closest any Democratic amendment came to passing all day.

The debate over the budget will continue tomorrow. Eighty amendments remain to be considered. In contrast, the House unanimously passed the budget in 2013 without any amendments.

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