Romney Hall

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

Montana Capitol.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

UPDATE: House Appropriations voted 17 to five to pass the bill out of committee following its first hearing. 

Gov. Steve Bullock says a Republican-sponsored infrastructure bill could break through what he calls a “log jam” that’s prevented other major public works proposals from passing in the state Legislature.

The so-called State and Local Infrastructure Act got its first hearing in House Appropriations, Wednesday.

Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A new proposal from House Republicans is calling for a scaled down version of Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan for the state to borrow money for public works projects.

Bullock’s infrastructure plan released early in the session called for $160 million in state bonding.

That money would fund $44 million in local assistance grants. It would also and pay for additional water and wastewater grants through the treasure state endowment program, funded through coal severance tax.

Poster in MT Gov office outlining some of the $290 million dollars in infrastructure projects Bullock is proposing. That proposal received initial votes and amendments Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan for public works projects across the state advanced out of subcommittee review Thursday and the conservative majority is starting to pick it apart.

Republicans stripped out just over $17 million in proposed borrowing that Gov. Bullock’s bill laid out to pay for county and local government infrastructure projects.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) SD44.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

In first weeks of the legislative session Gov. Steve Bullock and the Republican Majority are trading barbs over how the state should pay for big public projects, including university system improvements and maintenance in towns and counties.

On Wednesday GOP leaders revealed plans for a new system for how Montana borrows money for public works projects.