Jim Keane

Legislature Passes Bill To Fund Capital Projects, Veterans’ Home

8 hours ago

HELENA -- The House gave final approval Friday to amendments on a bill that would appropriate roughly $157 million for capital projects with state special revenue funds, grants and donations.

The Senate passed House Bill 5 last week, but amended it to allow authority money to fund three more projects, including a veterans’ home in Butte. Authority money is grants and donations the Legislature needs to approve for spending.

The bill will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Jackie Yamanaka

A bill related to the pending closure of two coal fired power plants in Colstrip remains languishing in a House committee. A Representative failed to “blast” Senate Bill 338 to the floor for debate.

The bill sailed through the state Senate but was tabled in the House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee after it failed to pass on an 8-8 vote.

Jackie Yamanaka

The Senate Minority Leader added an amendment to one of the infrastructure bills working its way through the process that seeks to keep alive construction of a Southwest Montana Veterans Home.


Jackie Yamanaka

Representative Jim Keane often refers to his infrastructure bills as “vehicles” that he's steering  through the legislative process.  This morning’s stop was at the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

Keane uses the “truck” metaphor often. He says all of these infrastructure bill are loaded with money to help pay for projects all across Montana to help communities fix their crumbling water and sewer systems and bridges, as well as fund other long range needs.

(USDA NRCS)

Now that both the full House and Senate have had their a chance to work on the state’s main budget bill, attention is returning to what legislative leaders have said is the priority this session—infrastructure.

(Flickr Photo) (https://flic.kr/p/aJaQVF)

Today lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would give the Montana Attorney General’s office $80,000 to intervene in a Washington state rate case that involves coal-fired power plants in Colstrip.

Rep. Jim Keane, D-Butte, sponsored House Bill 22 to ensure the attorney general’s office has enough money to represent the state’s interest in the pending closure of Units 1 and 2.

Jackie Yamanaka

Lawmakers are evaluating proposals to improve irrigation, water and sewer systems. It’s the beginning of the process to decide which infrastructure projects are funded.