Tonight on “Capitol Talk”, our weekly legislative analysis program, News Director Sally Mauk talks with Lee newspaper reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison about where all the big-ticket items stand a week before adjournment: the budget, Medicaid expansion, state workers’ pay raises and pensions – and school funding. They also discuss the unlikely hero of the session for gay rights supporters….
Representative Jerry Bennett (R-Libby) was one of the 35 Republicans who opposed the bill. He says he’s against the bill on religious grounds, but it was not a hateful vote. “God says we’re to love one another…but I still have to remain true to my beliefs in God and what he asks of us and so balancing that is a very difficult thing at times.”
To say she is any less of a person, or she is a criminal for her lifestyle, really upsets me. And for anybody that would feel that way—upsets me,” Ankney said, pointing at the other lawmakers. “I don’t think God thinks any less of my daughter than he does of any one of you in here.”
On this edition of “Capitol Talk”, our weekly legislative analysis program, News Director Sally Mauk talks with Lee newspaper reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison about the House’s unusual unanimous passage of the state budget, the fate of Medicaid expansion, the competing plans to bail out state pensions, and the rift between two long time political allies, over remarks about the conduct of some University of Montana football players…
The House Appropriations Committee has been looking into the state’s massive General Fund Budget Bill all week. Subcommittees have been looking at pieces of that bill for the last two months, like Education, Corrections, Health and Human Services, etc.
The full appropriations committee now needs to broadly consider the entire, $3.5 billion House Bill 2 as well as any amendments before voting to send it to the House floor.
And there are a lot of amendments being proposed to House Bill 2–about 100 of them as of Friday afternoon.These range from several being requested by the Montana University System to Title X funding for family planning.
In recent sessions, the appropriations committee would consider amendments at the same time they examined that section of the budget; i.e. examining amendments regarding K-12 schools when discussing education.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Representative Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip) is trying a different tactic this year. He is examining the sections of the budget piece by piece. For instance, the committee is looking at the education portion of the bill today. But instead of dealing with amendments during the time their respective section is being discussed–the committee will be looking at all the proposed amendments in one marathon meeting on Monday.