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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

'Capitol Talk': Budget, Buttrey And Bullying: This Week At The Legislature

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

On this episode of "Capitol Talk": The House passed a budget on a party-line vote after shutting down every Democratic amendment. "It was very acrimonious and quite a contrast from two years ago when the budget bill passed the House by a 100 to nothing margin," Chuck Johnson says.

The "Montana HELP Act", Sen. Ed Buttrey's Medicaid expansion bill is up for debate Friday. Mike Dennison says "The differences between the governor's proposal and Mr. Buttrey's are substantial. Under the Buttrey proposal, people who get on this program would have to pay for it. They'd have to pay two percent of their income in premiums. They also have an asset test."

Medical marijuana is back at the capitol. Sen. Driscoll is sponsoring a bill to clarify Montana laws to bring them into harmony with recent court rulings.

A fight has broken out between Montana gun lobbyist Gary Marbut and NorthWestern Energy after they took opposite positions on gun bill. Sally Mauk adds that, "NorthWestern accuses mr. Marbut and his allies of bullying them on this issue, and they say they're not going to back down."

Will a dispute carried over from last session put the brakes on state employee pay raises?

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Tune in to "Capitol Talk" on your radio every Friday during the session at 6:35 p.m. and again on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Retired in 2014 but still a presence at MTPR, Sally Mauk is a University of Kansas graduate and former wilderness ranger who has reported on everything from the Legislature to forest fires.
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