Infrastructure, budget will dominate second half of session

The Montana Senate reconvenes on the night of March 6. (Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service)

By Cole Grant/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – While Democrats and Republicans at the Montana Legislature may disagree on the approach, they are both highlighting infrastructure and the budget as top priorities for the second half of the session.

House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, D-Helena, noted criminal justice reform, election law, and infrastructure bills as top issues heading into the mid-session break for the legislature.

Rep. Jenny Eck, D-Helena

She said moving forward, “obviously infrastructure will start to crystalize a little bit more in the weeks that we get back, and that will be an ongoing discussion. And how that dovetails with the budget and other priorities, that will become more and more important.”

Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, said from his perspective, it’s been a quiet session, with fewer bills moving through the Senate to the House.

“In this tight budget session, when we’re looking at infrastructure, and we’re looking at Colstrip, we’re looking at child and family services issues, I think that can be a good thing for us,” he said.

The Senate will reconvene on the evening of March 6, and the full legislature will come back on March 7.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.