MTPR

state budget

Vicki LaFond-Smith, mother of two sons with disabilities, Beth Brennaman, staff attorney with Disability Rights Montana, and Jackie Mohler, staff at Family Outreach at a Helena, MT press conference on Health Department Funding,  Monday, February 26, 2018.
Corin

A group of disability rights advocates are calling on Governor Steve Bullock to immediately backfill some of the more than $49 million in cuts to the state health department made during the special legislative session last year. But, the governor’s office says it doesn’t have the power to do that.

Liberty Place in Whitehall, MT provides homes and life training skills for people who live with brain injuries.
Corin Cates-Carney

Montana ranks among the top three states in the nation per capita for traumatic brain injuries, according to industry workers and advocacy groups. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, include strokes, brain infections, or a hit to the head that causes brain damage. 

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.

After state health department officials announced they would end all contracts with private companies that help people with developmental disabilities the agency is changing course. Now the department says the department will offer one contract, for the entire state.

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.

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