Week three began Monday with a state wide broadcast of my sub-committee. The topic of discussion was about the labs for the state of Montana. Many are located on the MSU campus and are quite old and in need of repair. An interim committee looked at the problem and presented their findings to the legislature. The report was given to my committee and the room was full of interested parties. Since the topic was of interest state wide it was broadcast. The cost of replacing the labs is well into eight figures and that will be a deciding factor as to getting them built. More as the idea progresses in the legislature.
The rest of the week in section C of approps (my committee) involved hearings on the DEQ budget. The sub-committees set the budget for departments in state government. Next week we will hear from DNRC with FWP and Transportation to come after that.
Two big bills passed second reading in the House this week. The exciting part of that is two-fold. One, they usually involve a fight between the parties and two, they usually are later in the session before they make it to the floor. The first bill was the pay plan for state employees- $.50 for each year of the biennium. It is a lot of money but they passed out of Approps 20-2 and in the House 91 to 9. It will come up for third reading early next week.
Bill two was the base funding for schools that passed second reading 97 to 3. The strong bi-partisan support for both bills was something not seen in my two previous sessions. It too will be up for third reading soon. When passed this bill will give the schools a head start on setting their budgets.
The highlight of my bills this week was the Civil Justice bill for the Supreme Court. We had around 20 that spoke in favor of the bill with no one speaking against it. The speakers included a Supreme Court justice, Beth Baker, a district court judge from Helena, several lower judges and representatives for organizations involving judges and other interested parties. It was a privilege to carry the bill but it hasn’t been voted on in the committee so we don’t know the outcome there.
If you want to get ahold of me, my email address is on the CONTACT PAGE – or call or text me at 951-6764. Your input is appreciated. It is an honor to represent you in the House of Representatives. Thank you.