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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Newly passed bills — including the state budget — still await action from lawmakers

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

The state policymaking process is still ongoing about a month after the 68th Legislature adjourned. Legislators have more than a dozen of the governor’s vetoes to consider overriding, and there are still bills that have yet to be signed or vetoed. Democrats say the process is taking unnecessarily long.

Late last week, lawmakers voted to uphold two of the governor’s vetoes and overturn one, allowing a bill to become law that prohibits state agencies from citing pending litigation to deny public records requests.

Any bill that garnered 100 or more votes during the session is automatically up for reconsideration if it gets vetoed. Lawmakers will consider overriding nearly 20 more vetoes in the next month.

More could be coming down the pike, as Gianforte has yet to consider some bills, including the state’s budget and an expansion of a child care scholarship. The Daily Montanan first reported that Democratic leaders have asked Senate President Jason Ellsworth to speed up the administrative process to get the bills to Gianforte’s desk, calling the delays irresponsible and chaotic.

House Minority Leader Kim Abbott said lawmakers want time to consider overriding any more vetoes the governor may hand down, which takes about a month.

“It seems like a reckless way to govern to not allow the Montana public or legislators to understand what will be funded and not funded so close to the start of the new fiscal year,” Abbott said.

A spokesperson for Ellsworth said the bills referenced in the Democrats’ request are being transmitted in an orderly fashion and will all reach the governor before they’re scheduled to go into effect July 1.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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