Montana Legislature Adjourns After Passing $12 Billion State Budget And Federal Relief Allocation
HELENA — The 67th session of the Montana Legislature came to a close Thursday evening.
The legislature advanced some hefty policy over the last 80 days, including Montana’s 2-year $12 billion budget, a bill implementing recreational marijuana and another bill directing about $2 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Also on the docket were bills restricting abortion, limiting the rights of transgender youth, expanding gun rights and reforming taxes.
Republican leadership said they were happy with how the session wrapped up. Senate Majority Leader Cary Smith, S-Billings, said as much during his farewell address to the Senate.
“This is my last session, I’ve been here since the 2009 session,” Smith said. “And I can say that this is absolutely the best session I’ve ever been in. We have gotten so much done this time,” Smith said. “We’ve gotten so many bills passed that we have struggled with a Democrat administration to get passed for these last seven sessions that I’ve been involved in.”
Democrats expressed disappointment in their Republican colleagues.
“I did want to just quickly address how disappointing I think it was for both of our caucuses to see how quickly Republicans abandoned their campaign promises around jobs and the economy and spent most of the session actually undermining the rights and freedoms of Montana kids and families,” said Minority Leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena, at a press conference Thursday evening.
The legislature is set to reconvene in 2023.
James Bradley is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Montana Newspaper Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.