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MT Republicans Pushing to Expand Special Legislative Session Topics

Photo Courtesy of Jon King
Photo Courtesy of Jon King

Republicans in the Montana Legislature are currently gathering signatures in hopes of expanding the topics that can be covered during the Special Session scheduled for November 14th. Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen says one of the items they would like to bring up for discussion is a private prison in Shelby.

“The fact is, [the prison] has offered to give the state back our $30 million in exchange for a lease extension… I think that is pretty easy math, but right now we can’t even discuss it, right now legislators can’t even give it an up or down vote,” Knudsen said. “We can’t even go there, it’s not on the table. The governor has made it clear he doesn’t even want to talk about it.”

Knudsen says part of the expansion would include fuel reduction spending in the fire suppression fund, another element would allow discussion on other fund transfer options than those laid out in Governor Bullock’s call. To top it all off, they want to bring Bullock’s proposed cuts to a vote.

“A big problem for us is that the governor still has not done his job,” Knudsen. “If he wants us to come in and roll our sleeves up and do some work, we think it is only fair that he does the same. So, one of the things we’ve included in this expansion call is we are going to take take his cut list, we’re not expanding on it, we’re not changing it, but we are taking his proposed cut list and we’re actually going to put those into bill form and run those through as legislation.”

In order to expand the session, they will need to gather 76 signatures and both the house and Senate will have to adopt the petition.

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