By Keele Smith
Legislative News Service, University of Montana
With your legislative news preview, I’m Keele Smith.
After taking a mid-session break, the Montana Legislature will reconvene on Tuesday for the second half of the session.
Lawmakers will have 45 days to pass a balanced budget and all remaining bills.
The leadership in both houses say they’ll be focusing on issues like state employee pensions, tax reform and Medicaid expansion.
Senate Republican leader Art Wittich of Bozeman says he hopes to work with the governor to reduce state spending.
“The largest priority is to try to figure out a way that the state can facilitate economic growth. We have to grow our way out of our budget concerns.”
Republican House Speaker Mark Blasdel of Somers says he wants to limit state spending and cut taxes.
“I think we want to keep as conservative of a budget as possible. And I think it’s time to give the taxpayers back some relief.”
Leaders of both houses say they also want to limit funding from the federal government.