MTPR

Montana Legislature

Two healthcare groups plan to ask Montana voters to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion in November, and to fund it with a higher tax on tobacco .

The Montana Hospital Association and the American Heart Association filed ballot language today.

Rep. Jenny Eck (D) HD79.
Montana Legislature

Now that Montana is a few months removed from a special legislative session called by Governor Bullock to balance the state budget, Montana Public Radio is checking in with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to get their thoughts on what’s happened since they left Helena.

Party leaders on both sides of the aisle have blamed each other for some of the results of cuts in state spending made amid the more than $200 million budget shortfall. The greatest public outcry is coming over the more than $49 million cut from the state's health department.

Last week we aired a conversation about the budget with Representative Nancy Ballance, a Hamilton Republican and legislative finance leader. Today, we’re hearing from Representative Jenny Eck, a Helena Democrat.

Montana state Capitol
Corin Cates-Carney

There are currently more than 1,300 unfilled jobs in Montana executive branch agencies. It’s still unclear exactly how many of those positions are being kept open as a result of the state’s budget shortfall.

The budget state lawmakers passed last year authorizes more than 13,000 employees in administrative agencies like the state departments of health, corrections and transportation.

Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee Rep. Nancy Ballance.
Mike Albans

We’ve been reporting a lot on the budget cuts Governor Steve Bullock’s administration has been making as a result of a more than $200 million state budget shortfall. The cuts are the result of bills passed in the regular and special legislative sessions in 2017.

Since then political leaders on both sides of the aisle have been distancing themselves from some of the impacts of those decisions.

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

State lawmakers are considering dissolving the state workers compensation system, or turning it into a private entity.

A public workers compensation insurance fund is written into Montana’s constitution.

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