Montana Legislature May Go Full 90 Days Due to Infrastructure Bill Battle
Even though most thought the legislative session would have ended on Thursday, April 27, the Montana Legislature is still chugging along. Kalispell-area Senator Dr. Albert Olszewski says "conservative" Republicans are being held hostage by Governor Bullock's desire to see an $80 million infrastructure bonding bill passed. In Olszewski's view, state Democrats and "moderate" Republicans are holding up the session.
"Because they want it, they refuse to adjourn or do what we call 'Sine Die,' which means that we end the session," Olszewski said. "It's one of those things; we vote to pass the bonding, but they don't have enough votes, and then when the Republicans are trying to get out of the Alamo and say, 'Hey, look, it's time for us to adjourn;' then that super majority says 'no, we're holding you here and we're going to take another shot at this vote, until you buckle.'"
This story has played out before, during the last legislative session, which ended without the Governor’s desired bonding bill passing. Olzewski says he supports the 36 or so Republicans in holding out against unnecessary spending.
"This is basically the same bonding proposal that they had last session. They have been unsuccessful. It takes a two-thirds vote and they are within 3 to 5 votes and they are basically holding the legislative branch hostage and all the way probably 'til day 90," Olszewski said. "Then ... every day they will probably hold one or two votes to try to force 35-36 good conservative Republicans to vote... or else they can't go home."
No matter how things shake out, the 90th day of the legislative session isn’t too far away, Today (April 27) is already day 88.