65th Legislative Session Ends Sine Die With No Infrastructure Bill
The 65th Montana legislative session was gaveled to a close Friday morning just after 10:00 a.m.sine die, or with no appointed date for resumption by a vote of 58-42.
Republican legislator Adam Hertz of House District 96 spoke with KGVO News just moments after adjournment.
"Today, we had the third reading of bills, one of which was a big infrastructure bonding bill that would put the state $80 million in debt, that failed on a vote of 64 to 34," Hertz said. "Another bill was held hostage, another infrastructure bill primarily for projects in eastern Montana, and that one failed as well. I think the Democrats in the House were frustrated that the bonding bill didn't pass, so it seems out of spite they killed House Bill 8."
Hertz said the legislature was able to complete its constitutional mission, to fund state government.
"We were able to pass the $10.2 billion state budget," he continued. "State revenues were down significantly and the rainy day fund had partially been spent down and the revenues hadn't come in that had been expected and we had a big hole to fill in the budget. It's an accomplishment that we were able to fill that in by finding efficiencies and not levying a lot of new taxes on the hard working citizens of the State of Montana."
Hertz said he was proud of the school funding bill and one particular bill that he sponsored.
"I was really pleased to carry the bill that lifted the barrel limit on breweries from 10,000 to 60,000 barrels," he said. "I think that will be great for Missoula and for the small manufacturers in the brewing industry."
Hertz said tempers can flare as the session draws to a close out of frustration that certain bills haven't passed.
"Generally, though, everyone worked really hard to get things done this session," he said. "Ultimately, at the end of the day, the people of Montana should be pleased with the work that the legislature did this year."
According to the legislative services office in Helena, there are still over 100 bills on Governor Steve Bullock's desk that will either be signed into law or vetoed.