The Montana House of Representatives fulfilled its constitutional mandate on Monday by passing the two-year state budget, HR 2.

Republican House Majority spokesman Dylan Klapmeier provided details late Monday afternoon.

“The Montana House passed House Bill Two today, and that is the state's main budget bill that has to be passed every session before the legislators can leave town,” said Klapmeier. “The Montana Constitution says that legislators have to pass a biennial state budget and it has to be balanced, and that's the core reason that the legislature gets together for 90 days every two years.”

Klapmeier said the House has turned the bill over to the Montana Senate for its approval.

“House Bill Two still has to go through the normal legislative process,” he said. So, it's going change a little bit as the Senate gets its hands on it, and of course, Governor Gianforte is also involved. He has to sign it at the end, but right now House Bill Two as passed out of the house allocates about $12.6 billion to fund the state government for the next two years.”

Klapmeier said the various budget committees toiled over the weekend to get the bill ready for passage on Monday.

“The various appropriations subcommittees really did a deep dive into the state agency budgets to see where efficiencies could be saved in state spending,” he said. “And so they really did their deep diligence to make sure that responsible state spending was across the board and it wasn't taking a sledgehammer to the budget or anything like that. But they really went through all of the agency budgets in detail to find areas where spending could be reduced.”

Klapmeier also included what HR 2 did not address.

“This state budget doesn't include the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds; the latest round of federal COVID funding that's been in the news a lot,” he said. “That is a separate bill that the house is still working on, so this is just the normal state budget bill.”

The legislature will now turn its attention to the imposition of I-190, for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

 

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