It Is Crunch Time At The Legislature And The Budget Is The First Priority
The State Senate is adding some money back into the budget plan, originally cut by their house colleagues, but not very much. The Senate endorsed the plan 27 to 23. Republicans mostly resisted adding any money over nearly 14 hours of debate, while democrats charged the elderly and needy were being hurt. Minority Leader Carol Williams says the budget is more than just a discussion about money.
Republicans agreed to put back $35 million in federal money for electronic medical records, but most other proposals to restore governor Brian Schweitzer's budget plan were rebuffed. Small changes were made on the floor, such as in a successful $15 million republican amendment, to allow a wage increase for Medicaid service providers. Democrats were able to make a couple of small changes, such as restoring $34,000 for the Montana school for the deaf and blind.