Dan Villa

Committee members tour the common room in the high security Assessment and Stabilization Unit, or ASU.   Up to four residents share the building.  The furniture is designed to resist damage.
Steve Jess

Fifteen residents of the Montana Developmental Center in Boulder will be moved to group homes over the next month, in part because of a staff shortage at the Center.

William Marcus

Budget officials from the Montana Governor’s office faced an angry panel of state lawmakers Wednesday morning. Members of the Legislative Audit Committee demanded to know why a crucial report on the state’s finances was issued in May instead of March, but also contained multiple mistakes, with the potential to cost taxpayers money.

Montana Developmental Center
Dan Boyce

Monday in Helena, an appointed committee began preparations to close the Montana Developmental Center (MDC) and put its clients into community-based treatment. The panel is also being asked to deal with sinking employee morale.

Early Education Funding Fails To Make The Cut In Senate Budget

Apr 9, 2015

The Republican-controlled Senate today gave preliminary approval to the state’s main budget bill. The GOP majority allowed only a few technical amendments and resisted attempts by Democrats to add additional funding or programs to House Bill 2. This includes a Bullock Administration proposal to fund early childhood education.

Senate Committee Restores Some Funding Cut By House

Apr 3, 2015
William Marcus

The Senate Finance and Claims Committee added about $55 million of general fund dollars back into the state budget. That’s according to preliminary figures from the Legislative Fiscal Division.

Not quite half of that amount was to cover cost over-runs in the current biennium.

This year’s cost overruns total about $31 million.

Budget Director: House Budget Inadequate

Mar 30, 2015
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) HD87
Montana Legislature

The state budget director criticized the work of the House on the state's budget for the coming biennium.

The comments came as the Senate Finance and Claims Committee started its review this morning.

State Budget Director Dan Villa didn't pull any punches in describing the work of the House on the budget.

Montana Lawmakers Clash Over State Revenue Estimate

Mar 23, 2015
Montana Legislature

Lawmakers are considering whether to increase the amount of revenue the state of Montana is projected to collect in taxes and fees over the coming three years.

The revenue estimate is an important number for lawmakers to consider as they craft the state budget and consider tax cuts for the coming two years.

The proposed figure is the latest compromise.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk", Sally, Mike and Chuck cover pre-school education's tough reception at the legislature, the infrastructure funding debate, Medicaid expansion passions, and concealed carry on campus.

"Capitol Talk," our weekly legislative news and analysis program, appears on Fridays throughout the legislative session. MTPR's Sally Mauk is joined by Lee Newspapers reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison.

Tune in to "Capitol Talk" on your radio every Friday during the session at 6:35 p.m. and again on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
 

Lawmakers Begin Debate On Infrastructure Bills

Mar 12, 2015
Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) HD87
Montana Legislature

One of the biggest disagreements at the state capitol this year is how Montana should fund roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Governor Steve Bullock’s “Build Montana” proposal is one big bill that would fund lots of different projects. It would pull funding from several different sources, including the state coal tax trust fund. Legislative Legal Services says, that means his bill would need to win votes from 75% of lawmakers. 

The House Appropriations Committee has begun examining funding for the various infrastructure projects proposed this legislative session.

Medicaid Expansion Debate Begins At The Montana Legislature

Mar 6, 2015
Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen (R) HD34
Montana Legislature

Before the hearing on Gov. Bullock's Medicaid expansion bill began, the Republican majority took another jab at the bill.

Legislative News Roundup - Week 2

Jan 20, 2015
William Marcus

In the second week of the 64th Montana Legislature, two initiatives from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget were opened up in joint appropriations subcommittees.

New Infrastructure Funding Approach Gets First Hearing At Montana Legislature

Jan 13, 2015
William Marcus

Montana lawmakers got their first official look at the major infrastructure bill of the 2015 Legislature.

The Bullock Administration’s nearly $400 million Build Montana program was presented to a joint Appropriations Subcommittee today. 

Eric Whitney

The Bullock Administration took some heat from Montana lawmakers Monday for what they say was spending over a million dollars without proper authority

In the final two days of the 2013 legislature, lawmakers handed the governor $7.5 million to fund projects in nine departments: Public Health and Human Services, Natural Resources and Conservation, Environmental Quality, Administration, Commerce, Revenue, Corrections, Labor and Industry, and the Governor’s Office . A legislative audit shows $1.1 million of that money went to agencies beyond those the legislature intended.

OBPP

Governor Steve Bullock announced his support Wednesday for a voter initiative to expand Medicaid, called the Healthy Montana Initiative.

Medicaid expansion is an optional piece of the Federal Affordable Care Act, and Republican majorities in the Montana Legislature decided not to approve it in 2013.

Governor's Office of Budget and Program Planning

Analysis of a new ballot measure seeking to expand Medicaid shows expansion would not cost Montana as much as previously forecast, but the state budget would still take a long-term hit from the so-called “Healthy Montana Initiative.”

Dan Boyce

Helena’s government-run health clinic for state employees is seeing much more use than originally expected as the experiment moves closer to its one-year anniversary.

The clinic provides free primary care services to the Capital city’s 11-thousand state workers and their dependents. It was launched last year by former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer as way to improve overall employee health and save money for the state’s self-funded health insurance plan.