MTPR

Casey Schreiner

Montana Capitol dome, Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A $10.3 billion state budget cleared an initial vote in the Montana House of Representatives this afternoon, without any support from Democrats.

When state lawmakers walked into the legislative session earlier this year they were in the unusual situation of having watched the last state budget, passed in 2017, collapse.

Rep. Eric Moore, (R) -Miles City, speaks during a press conference ahead of an initial House vote on HB553, Feb. 27, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A proposal to change how the state borrows for major infrastructure projects passed its first vote in the Montana House today by 100 to zero.

The unanimous initial vote in the House was a sharp pivot from years of disagreement in the Legislature over whether or how to use debt to pay for major public works projects.

Montana Govenor's office.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock says he’s willing to consider all options for the future of Montana’s Medicaid expansion program as debate about it gets underway at the state Legislature. However Thursday, Bullock criticized the idea of adding workforce requirements, a proposal backed by Republicans.

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Publicly funded preschool is again up for debate in the state Legislature. Gov. Steve Bullock is pushing for more than $20 million to fund optional public pre-k for 4-year-olds. Bullock is also asking for $8 million to pay for preschool for Head Start programs and private providers.

This is the last chance for Bullock to pass one of the top priorities of his administration before he terms out of office in 2020.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

A day after the long-anticipated Republican plan to continue Medicaid expansion was revealed, House Democrats reacted with strong criticism.

"Frankly, right now, I don’t know what there is to negotiate about,” says Casey Schreiner, the Democratic House minority leader.

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