March 2016 Update

Work continues on the 4 million dollar budget. The bill will spend the next two days on the House Floor before being transferred to the Senate. Among the major disagreements between Republicans and Democrats is the $350 million discrepancy between the revenue projections provided by the Governor’s office and the Legislative Fiscal Division.  That’s a significant gap and one not likely to be resolved without a battle.

Controversy continues to swirl around the unique contracting/leasing methods employed by the DNRC for a building project on 11th Avenue in Helena.  While the DNRC was operating within the letter of the law, Republican legislators remain agitated that the Department proceeded with a project that they felt should fall under the purview of the Legislature.  Funding has been stripped for the project (at least at the moment), but the status of contracts awarded for construction will remain a point of concern.  We will continue to monitor this situation.

SB 353 and SB 354 will have hearings next week. These are Senator Rick Ripley’s bills to modify the allocation of the Coal Trust and allow for some of those dollars to be used for infrastructure projects. There has been a desire to come up with a more creative and compromise solution rather than bonding for all of the infrastructure needs included in HB 5. The following links will get you to the full bill text.

The following link is an opinion piece by Senator Ripley that provides good background information:

If you would like to e-mail the committee in support of the bill, I have included their contact information:


MSE/ASCE/ASHRAE 2015 Bill List
HB 5 Rep Jeff Wellborn Provide for intrastructure development Rereferred to committee
HB 63 Rep Kathy Swanson Revise licensing/regulation of engineers and land surveyors Signed by the Governor
HB 97 Rep Edith McClafferty Revise alternative contracting process Passed 2nd reading in the House
SB 145 Sen Bradley Hamlett Revise allocation of oil and gas revenue for oil and natural gas impact projects Rereferred to committee
HB 224 Rep Zac Perry Generally revise building code program laws Tabled in committee
HB 312 Rep Nancy Wilson Require MDT to consider growth policies and neighborhood plans Tabled in committee
SB 205 Sen Robyn Driscoll Provide for the Hire Montana First Act Tabled in committee
SB 353 Sen Rick Ripley Constitutional referendum to divert coal trust and create Build Montana program Hearing on 3/25
SB 354 Sen Rick Ripley Create infrastructure funding program Hearing on 3/25