Update: Where Are We?By
A lot has happened during the second Republican Spring Break and the first day back in the legislative session. So, with only 4 possible days left, let’s do a quick recap of what has happened and where we might go from here.
On Friday night, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Rep. Milburn and Sen. Peterson announced they had reached a budget agreement. This agreement reinstated $100 million in federal funds the Republicans had rejected. However, it still slightly underfunded several other important programs, including the K-12 public education system.
Upon returning today, Democrats and the Governor made it clear that they were willing to support the reduced budget, along with the state employee pay plan (which gives the first small pay increase to state employees in nearly 4 years), as well as the “bonding bill,” which invests in our education infrastructure, creates jobs now and helps our long-term economic security.
Today, in the House a bipartisan majority endorsed the bonding bill, however in order to pass third reading, they must gain a 2/3rds majority, which they did not receive today. In addition, the Republican majority killed the state employee pay plan. Finally today, Republicans pushed through the budget deal.
From here, the bonding bill and budget must receive a final approval from the House and in addition, the Senate must sign off on the budget deal.
The last four days of the session are sure to be interesting as legislators scramble to get their work done.