These are truly exciting times to be a Montana Democrat! After well more than a decade when Montana was defined by economic stagnation, regressive governmental policies, and a political climate characterized by fear and divisiveness, our community and state are finally moving forward. For those of us who fought the good fight during those “lean and mean” times, the current political climate shows us what truly is possible when cooperation and progressive goals replace hostility and discord.
Helena IR, April 14, 2011
The House voted Wednesday to accept Senate changes to a $100 million bonding bill to keep it alive.
In a rare move, 21 of the 68 Republicans spurned the plea of their majority leader, Rep. Tom McGillvray, R- Billings, to reject the Senate changes and send the bill to a conference committee for another look.
The House voted 53-47 for the Senate changes to House Bill 439, by Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh, D-Helena. All 32 Democrats and the 21 Republicans voted to OK the Senate changes, while the other 47 Republicans voted “no.”
HB439 now faces a final House vote Monday. Then it needs a two-thirds majority vote because it would create state debt by issuing bonds. If it gets the vote, HB439 will head to Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s desk for his signature or veto.
Schweitzer said last summer he opposed a bonding bill, but has somewhat softened his opposition in recent months.
By a wide margin, the Montana House gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $97.8 million bonding bill for new university system buildings and a new Montana Historical Society museum if state revenue collections exceed a certain trigger.
By a 77-23 margin, the House passed House Bill 439, by Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh, D-Helena. It faces a final House vote later this week and needs at least 67 votes to move on to the 50-member Senate where another two-thirds majority vote is necessary.
The Montana Constitution requires two-thirds majorities by both chambers for the state to create debt.
There was little discussion on the floor.
“It’s a jobs bill that provides an appropriation for immediate jobs for our construction industry,” Hollenbaugh said
afterward. “It provides an opportunity for our students to prepare themselves for the workforce of tomorrow.
The best plan in the 2011 Legislature for creating jobs in the upcoming biennium while investing in Montana's long-term future received strong bipartisan approval Monday in the House Appropriations Committee.
By a vote of 15-6, the committee recommended passage of legislation to build up Montana's education and agriculture research infrastructure, preserve state history and improve veterans care.
House Bill 439 proposes that the state issue $89 million in bonds to be repaid over 20 years to update university facilities in Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Dillon and Havre, to provide a portion of the funding for an expanded Montana State Historical Museum across the street from the Capitol, to upgrade state ag labs and ag experiment stations and to help build a state veterans nursing home in Butte.
HB439 would provide good jobs over the next two years in construction trades hard hit by the recession.
By SANJAY TALWANI Independent Record helenair.com
A long procession of state university officials, trade association leaders and business people told the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday that a measure to issue $89.9 million in tax-exempt bonds for a variety of projects across the state, including the proposed heritage center at the Montana Historical Society in Helena, would create jobs and pay off in future development of the state’s economy and work force.
“I believe that the projects that are encompassed in this bill will not only bring immediate jobs to the state of Montana, but also it will create an environment that is very conducive to creating jobs in the state well into the future, and we can do it in a fiscally responsible way,” said Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh, D-Helena, the sponsor of House Bill 439 along with Sen. Carol Williams, D-Missoula.
We’ve long championed the need for a new museum for the Montana Historical Society, and we’re happy to see local Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh making the rounds with a bonding bill that would make the new museum a reality.
Standing on its own, a bill seeking money only for the history museum wouldn’t have much of a chance at the Capitol, where it would likely to be seen as a pork project for Helena and not a benefit to the state as a whole. (A point with which we strongly disagree, by the way.) But the $90 million in proposed borrowing in House Bill 439, including $23 million for the museum, would fund projects not only here, but in Missoula, Billings, Butte, Dillon, Great Falls and Bozeman. If lawmakers from all those cities are on board, suddenly the bill may have life. And it should.
By CHARLES S. JOHNSON IR State Bureau helenair.com February 8, 2011 http://helenair.com/news/article_445d1824-3353-11e0-a6c5-001cc4c002e0.html A Helena legislator on Monday introduced a $90 million bonding bill to help pay for a new state history museum, new state college and university buildings around the state and a state veterans home in Butte. Democratic Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh is the sponsor of House Bill 439, with Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams, D-Missoula, as the cosponsor.
By CHARLES S. JOHNSON IR State Bureau helenair.com
February 8, 2011
A Helena legislator on Monday introduced a $90 million bonding bill to help pay for a new state history museum, new state college and university buildings around the state and a state veterans home in Butte.
Democratic Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh is the sponsor of House Bill 439, with Senate Minority Leader Carol Williams, D-Missoula, as the cosponsor. As an appropriations bill, HB439 has to be introduced in the House first.
“It’s a jobs bill,” Hollenbaugh said. “There’s not one FTE (full-time equivalent state employee) in the bill, not one new government program.”
For the state to bond, or go into debt, it requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate.
Williams said she’s optimistic about the bill changes. It’s the only major jobs-creation bill likely to pass this session, she said.
“I think that’s why we’re getting Republican support because they know it too,” she said.
It is rare that a newspaper would endorse legislation allowing closure of a kind of government meeting, but today that's what we're doing.
We're talking about House Bill 517 by Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh, D-Helena, to close debriefing sessions held among emergency service personnel and stress management personnel in the aftermath of a "critical incident."
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