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2024 Montana Primary elections

Briefs: marijuana bill veto override; infrastructure funding; Former State Sen. Gordon Vance dies

Montana Capitol
Shaylee Ragar
Montana Capitol

Secretary of State complies with court order to allow lawmakers to override 2023 marijuana tax revenue bill
Montana Public Radio | By Ellis Juhlin

The Secretary of State has complied with a court order to send lawmakers a veto override poll on a popular 2023 bill to redistribute marijuana tax revenue funding.

Gov. Greg Gianforte and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen were ordered to send the poll following a 10 month legal battle. Last week, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lower court’s earlier decision, requiring the Secretary of State to send the poll to lawmakers by Tuesday.

The bill in question redistributes marijuana sales tax money, spreading it among veterans and addiction services and allocating additional funding to conservation programs and county road maintenance. It passed with support from 86% of lawmakers.

Republican leadership in both houses, along with a majority of Republican senators have voiced their disagreement with the courts’ decisions and said they will not vote to override. Lawmakers have until 5 p.m. on April 18 to vote and return their ballot.

Montana communities to share over a million dollars for local health and safety infrastructure design projects.
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien

Thirty-two Montana communities will share over a million dollars of state funding to design local health and safety-related infrastructure projects.

The program helps local governments with infrastructure planning as well as constructing or upgrading drinking water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, solid waste disposal and separation systems and bridges.

Lewis and Clark County gets $32,000 to help design a replacement for a local bridge.

And Evergreen in western Montana’s Flathead County won $40,000 to lay the groundwork for improvements and upgrades to local wastewater treatment facilities.

The money comes from revenues earned on interest from coal severance taxes.

Montana Sen. Gordon Vance dies at age 72
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien

A longtime southwest Montana state lawmaker and former House majority leader has died.

Republican state Sen. Gordon Vance of Belgrade died Friday at the age of 72. Vance served three terms in the state House of Representatives and four terms in the state Senate.

State Senate President Jason Ellsworth remembered Vance Monday as the “very embodiment of tough on the outside, kind hearted on the inside.”

Montana’s eastern district U.S. Representative, Matt Rosendale, said over the weekend that he served with Vance in both chambers and ‘considered him a friend and mentor.’

Vance is survived by his wife, state Sen. Shelley Vance, and four children.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.

ellis.juhlin@mso.umt.edu
406-272-2568
Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.
edward.obrien@umt.edu.  
(406) 243-4065
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