Montana Governor Chides Legislature for Underfunding Law Enforcement
Gianforte began by relating several situations where law enforcement agencies came under fire as part of their duties.
The Governor Spent a Great Deal of Time Praising Law Enforcement
“In Billings, a police officer was shot and wounded over the weekend,” began Gianforte. “In a separate incident, a 25-year-old was shot and killed, and on Tuesday, police responded to yet another shooting in Billings. In St. Regis, an armed robber on the run from Idaho took a Montanan hostage, and then shot the hostage while exchanging shots with the police. (Following that shooting, the perpetrator was in turn killed by law enforcement.) In Great Falls, there were two fatal shootings in the span of just 36 hours.”
Gianforte took special care to give kudos to an officer wounded in the line of duty.
Gianforte Singled out One Officer Wounded in the Line of Duty
“Since February 21, there have been five shootings in Great Falls, including one involving Great Falls police officer Tanner Lee,” he said. “Thankfully, Tanner is making a recovery but I ask for everyone's continued prayers for his well-being. Those who serve and protect our communities need support right now. That's why I spent time yesterday with Cascade County deputies in Great Falls, breaking bread and hearing how they're doing.”
After relating those incidents, Gianforte then took the legislature to task for failing to fully fund his law enforcement requests.
Gianforte Challenged the Legislature to Fully Fund his Requests
“Unfortunately, the budget bill that passed the House does not fulfill our full request for public safety,” he said. “We budgeted for five new highway patrol officers, but the budget includes zero. We budgeted for four new human trafficking agents. The House passed a budget that only funds two. We budgeted for three new major case investigators, and the House passed a budget that funds zero.”
Gianforte then challenged the legislature to reconsider and fully fund his law enforcement requests.
“Let's be clear,” he said. “Combating violent crime and building safer, stronger communities will take investments. The last two weeks prove this. Our budget makes those necessary investments, and so I urge the Senate to restore the new highway patrol troopers, prosecutors, and criminal investigators we proposed and honestly need. Government's chief responsibility is to keep citizens safe, and I call on the legislature to act with the urgency that this requires. Let's get it done.”
Gianforte also related his activities throughout the state to celebrate National Agriculture Week.