Montana Legislative wrap-up

Rep. Ken Holmlund
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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With Governor Bullock past the time to veto bills, it is time to give a high level wrap up of the session. I say past the time to veto bills because he has 10 days from the day he gets the bills on his desk to decide to sign, allow to become law without his signature or veto a bill.

He vetoed 36 bills, all carried by Republicans, allowed one to become law without his signature and signed 481 bills. There was a total of 1,309 bills introduced and 111 resolutions adopted by the legislature. A total of 676 bills died during the process in both houses. There is currently one bill in the process of voting onto override Bullock’s veto.

As you may well know, a wide divide between factions of the Republican Party existed this session. The group Eric Moore and I worked with the most is the group that believed we were sent to Helena to solve problems so we refer to our group as the Conservative Solutions Caucus (CSC). The other faction felt it was their calling to prevent anything from happening. Governor Bullock is taking credit for all that was accomplished this session but if you look at the name of the primary carrier of all the major bills it has a CSC name attached to it. All the major bills passed this year were on our plan put together before the session where all members of the CSC had input.

This report will give a very high level explanation of what we consider major legislation that was successfully carried through the process. As time permits, in future weeks, I will delve more deeply into the bills during the interim. I am not trying to rank the bills since everyone has their opinion as to the ranking.

— HB 175: Early in the session it was decided to pass two very important bills and HB 175 was one of them. It provided for state employee pay increase of 50 cents per hour each year of the biennium.

— HB 159: This is the second bill we passed early. It provided for the inflationary increase for K-12 which called for $77.1 million in general fund dollars on top of their base amount. It provided for a 0.91% in FY 2020 and 1.83% in FY 2021 and that became the base for other increases in other bills due to inflation.

( Rep. Ken Holmlund of Miles City represents Montana House District 38.)