As week 12 ends we have reached the 2/3 point in the session. Saturday was day 60 and several deadlines to transmit bills between houses are fast approaching. Tuesday, March 25, is the last day to introduce appropriation and revenue bills and Monday, April 1 is the last day to transmit them.
House Bill 2 had a hearing on the House floor on Tuesday, March 19, and will be taken to the Senate Finance and Claims committee on Tuesday, March 26. HB 2 can only contain money, either in dollar figures or in a line item, so if any policy, such as a law change, is needed to implement the appropriations a companion bill is necessary. Each sub-committee has three companion bills that only have small dollar Approps in them so the Senate would have access to a bill if they need it to make amendments to the main bill. These companion bills must originate in the House. It sounds complicated but it is a necessary process.
My Sanctuary City bill was taken to the Senate Judiciary committee Friday. It met with a favorable reception and I am sure it will pass the Senate, hopefully without amendments. The long range IT bill I am carrying, HB 10, passed out of Approps with a small hiccup. A Representative from Butte had an amendment to cut 10% from all the requests and to everyone’s it was announced as passing 12-10. It was immediately tabled and the work to get it passed began. When we returned to the afternoon session it was announced, and verified, that the committee secretary had made a mistake and the count was 11-11, thereby killing the amendment. I breathed a sigh of relief and the bill passed Approps 21-1.
Last Saturday, March 16, a day-long hearing was held for the two bills on medicaide expansion. I can tell you that a huge amount of work has been done on Ed Buttrey’s version and the issues most important to Republicans, work and asset requirements, are in the bill. Governor Bullock has been involved in all step of the negotiations and it appears, as of now, that he will sign it when it reaches his desk. The other version of the bill has no chance of passage and, for all practical purposes, is dead.
I have nine bill hearings this week so I will be busy but the end of session is fast approaching and work has to be done. I appreciate all the input I have received from you and remind you if you want to call or text me my number is 406-951-6764.
Thank you for the honor of serving you.