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Montana Budget Takes First Step Toward Passage

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
/
Montana Public Radio
Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.

Montana lawmakers advanced a roughly $12 billion state budget Friday. The budget’s passage out of committee is the first major step of many that he Legislature will take to pass a balanced budget.

House Bill 2 outlines how lawmakers plan to prioritize spending state dollars over the next two years. Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee voted 16-8 to pass an initial version of the proposal after a full week of debate. 

The state spending bill will move to the full House for debate March 22. 

However, the work of the House Appropriations subcommittee isn’t finished yet, as it normally would be by this time during the session. Lawmakers will break into groups again to decide how to allocate the federal dollars Montana will get from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. It’s estimated lawmakers will have about $1 billion to divvy up. Rep. Llew Jones, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said that work will begin on Monday. 

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.