Legislature prepared to tackle spending

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It is hard to believe, but the legislative session is one third of the way toward completion. We are scheduled for 90 days.

We usually cover about one to three bills per day in each committee. Every week, we see more of the committee bills and house floor bills come from the senate and they are seeing more of our house bills. This is a good sign of progress.

Along with these committee bills, we have a second reading on about eight to 10 bills on the house floor as well as about five to 10 third-reading bills on the house floor. Some of these bills have come from the senate as well and in turn, they are seeing our bills.

This week, a cross section of the bills are an air ambulance regulation bill to help prevent patients from receiving bills that may cost so much they may lose their homes. Another bill was heard to create a Head of Montana State Parks, which would be hired by the State Parks and Recreation Board. The idea is to give the Parks autonomy without creating a new Agency.

The discussion of the death penalty has heated up, however it is still in committee. Some bills may seem frivolous, but they all have a reason to be brought, if for no other reason for the public opinion and exposure.

The head of MDT came under attack during his Senate review for re-appointment. Raises given out in the MDT upper management levels again came under attack with the question being how were they given without proper authorization. This attack has been made on past directors as well. The Governorís infrastructure package came out and is also coming under scrutiny due to timing and some of the details of where the spending would go.

Know that there are very educated, interested, bulldogs in Helena trying to watch out for your money.

Again, I say there is very little money available and the spending bills have not cost you money yet and will be prioritized, but when they come forward, the hard decisions will be dealt with after much discussion and thought.

Ė Rep. Denley Loge, (R-Saint Regis)

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