Greg Hertz

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature passed 375 bills before it adjourned late last week. Gov. Steve Bullock must now decide which of them he will sign or veto.

At an end of session press conference Bullock sounded pleased.

“Dang near every proposal that I asked this legislative body to seriously consider will be making its way to my desk." he said.

The bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion will move to the state Senate for a vote.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The bill to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion, and add work requirements for some recipients, cleared the state House Saturday, and will now be taken up by the Senate.

Leadership in the conservative majority opposes the bill by Great Falls Republican Ed Buttrey. But unanimous backing from Democrats and a block of Republicans gave it enough support to advance to the Senate.

Fisheries biologists checking for adult invasive mussels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

State legislators are considering giving counties greater powers for managing aquatic invasive species.

House Bill 402 would allow counties to adopt local ordinances aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, levy taxes for vertebrate and invertebrate pest management and allow counties within the Columbia River Basin to quarantine lakes.

Montana House of Representatives.

Montana’s 2019 legislative session is at the halfway point, and lawmakers will now break for a week as policy bills are transferred between the House and Senate.

During the first 45 days, the Legislature signed off on a $77 million K-12 school funding package, reached an apparent compromise on long fought-over infrastructure spending, and started laying the foundation for the next state budget.

Gov. Steve Bullock making a statement on Tuesday about the benefits of Montana's Medicaid expansion program for Montana businesses. Jan. 8, 2019.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Medicaid expansion saves Montana businesses a lot of money, Gov. Steve Bullock said Tuesday. He made that point as the state legislative session opens, because if state lawmakers don’t vote to reauthorize it, Medicaid expansion will expire in June.

Bullock released a new report today saying Medicaid expansion provided health insurance to 16 percent of Montana’s private sector workforce in 2016 and 2017.