A Montana House committee is moving forward with a bill to appropriate about $2 billion in federal stimulus money. The legislation includes financial penalties for local governments, tribes and schools that have stricter COVID-19 guidelines than the state. Democratic Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy argued Monday that cities and counties are being extorted to lift their regulations. Republican Rep. Matt Regier said he finds it ironic that local governments can impose strict COVID-19 protocols that hurt the economy, but then ask for tax money to bail them out. The measure passed House Appropriations 16-8 and is expected to be heard in the House on Tuesday.

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