Montana Public Radio

Kim Abbott

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

The 67th session of the Montana Legislature hit the halfway point Tuesday, and lawmakers are taking a break through next Monday. The week before the break was full of marathon policy debates and votes.

With the adjournment of the state Senate at nearly midnight Monday evening, and the House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers completed the first 45 days of their work.

The Session Week 9: Transmittal Log Jam

Mar 1, 2021

As of midday Friday 1,128 bills had been introduced and Gov. Gianforte had signed 28 into law.

The Legislature faces a Wednesday, March 3 deadline for general policy bills from the House to make their way to the Senate, and vice versa. Bills that appropriate money can still be introduced.

This week, we’re watching bills ‘in the balance’ -- they need to get across to the other chamber to stay in play.

Tax calculator
iStock

Montana lawmakers advanced three bills Tuesday requested by Gov. Greg Gianforte to reduce taxes for residents and business owners. They tabled another bill that would have broadened the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

Gianforte and his Republican colleagues in the statehouse say the proposed tax cuts are key to carrying out the governor’s so-called Montana Comeback Plan. 

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Some Helena businesses are raising concerns about state legislators flouting public health guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lewis and Clark County health officer says she's received reports concerning lawmakers who are in town for the current legislative session.

Montana House of Representatives.
Montana Public Radio

A bill moving through the Montana Legislature that would restrict health care options for transgender youth was narrowly rejected by the House after a handful of Republicans flipped their votes.

Montana House Minority Leader Kim Abbott speaks to the press on the Capitol steps January 5, 2021. She said Montana Democrats have had “good conversations” with Gov. Greg Gianforte and House and Senate Republicans regarding policy goals for the session.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

Montana Democratic lawmakers rolled out three policy proposals on Thursday that they say will provide tax relief to the state’s middle- and low-income earners. The tax breaks would be paid for by increasing taxes on people who make more than $500,000 a year.

Structural Balance: HJ 2 revenues are expected to dip below the Governor's proposed ongoing expenditures beginning in FY 2021.
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

The first state budget offered by Gov. Greg Gianforte includes tax cuts and a marginal increase in general fund spending.

Montana's congressman votes as expected against impeachment, and Montana's two senators are having a very public spat. Gov. Gianforte has a rocky rollout of new orders lifting some pandemic restrictions. Attorney General Knudsen gets into a legal fight with a county attorney over local COVID-19 regulations. And university administrators keep a wary eye on a bill headed to the State Senate that would allow guns on campus.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

A panel of Montana state legislative leaders adopted new guidelines Friday for holding the session during the coronavirus pandemic. The move came one day after a state lawmaker announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

Demonstrators gather outside the Montana Capitol January 6, 2021 in support of President Trump's debunked claims of fraud in the presidential election.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana state political leaders issued statements condemning pro-Donald Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

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