By Dennis Swibold
University of Montana School of Journalism
Gavels fell on Montana’s 63rd Legislature Wednesday, three days ahead of schedule, and the post mortems are starting to trickle in.
Charles S. Johnson, chief of Lee newspapers’ state bureau, weighs in with widely divergent reactions from Gov. Steve Bullock and legislative leaders on the session’s achievements and failures.
The session ended at mid-day Wednesday, despite a last-ditch protest by a conservative group of Senate Republicans who were frustrated with what they saw as excessive spending and skimpy tax relief. The Lee bureau’s Mike Dennison provided the play-by-play of the session’s final hours. Matt Gouras of the Associated Press filed on the final day’s events too.
In the end, Republican moderates in the Senate and House defied party leaders and brokered deals on the session’s major budget and tax bills. The Great Falls Tribune’s John S. Adams has the story on the GOP’s “crossover coalition.”