Montana House Speaker Pushes Back on Governor’s Funding Requests
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On Thursday’s KGVO Talk Back show, Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives Matt Regier pushed back on Governor Gianforte’s strong emphasis on fully funding his law enforcement requests, stating that there is still time for the legislature to increase that funding.
Regier said the Governor's Law Enforcement Funding Requests are ' A Big Ask'
“I think the keyword to that is ‘a lot’,” said Regier. “They did ask for a lot of funding, and dollars are apolitical a lot of the time. This time the governor had some big asks. Obviously, there's inflation that has hit all of us, including state governments. And there were some big asks in there. I think the House did a fairly frugal job, especially there in Section D which controls the budget for DOJ, DOC, and corrections. There's still time before sine die (adjournment for the legislature) to get exactly the resources that are needed in the right spot.”
Regier said law enforcement is just one area where more funding is needed.
“I know that the exec (the executive branch) is weighing in on a lot of those issues too, one in law enforcement for the increases that they wanted, and we did increase it here in the House just not as much as what the exec was hoping for,” he said. “So as I said, it's still going to go to free conference committee and they're still going to be more of those conversations. But at the end of the day, it's a balancing act between prudent funding of state government because it takes the taxpayer's money to do it, and so the taxpayers always need to be part of that conversation.”
One Caller asked about the Many Attempts to Amend the State Constitution
One caller asked Regier about the many requests to amend the state constitution in the current session.
“We have to get 100 votes to get any constitutional amendment on the ballot for the people of Montana to put into the constitution, it's not us that do it,” he said. “To me, the highest form of democracy is that ballot initiative of the people saying which issues they want in the constitution. So hopefully we can get a couple of them across the finish line. I still have hope for that.”
One Bill to Stop Outside Funding of County Elections is Headed to Gianforte's Desk
Regier said one bill that puts a stop to outside funding of county elections offices is actually headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.
“Senate bill 117; Senator Vance had that one and we just passed that here in the House, and I believe it was unamended,” he said. “So I think that's going to go off to the governor's desk. So that's got momentum so that elections can stay clear of undue private influence.”
Speaker Regier appears twice a month during the legislative session to answer questions from KGVO listeners.