After more shenanigans in the Montana House of Representatives, the session’s key infrastructure bill — SB 416 — is dead.
SB 416 needed to pass. It should have passed. SB 416 was less than half of the GREAT infrastructure bill – HB 5 – that Republican Representative Jeff Weldon introduced on behalf of Governor Steve Bullock.
HB 5 received huge support from contractors, bankers, developers, AFL-CIO, MEA-MFT – all folks engaged in the everyday business of growing Montana, putting Montanans to work on useful, long-enduring, much needed infrastructure. But HB 5 never made it out of the House.
Then Republican Senator John Brenden introduced SB 416, a trimmed down but none the less purposeful alternative that would have stimulated quality infrastructure development across Montana.
Much of that infrastructure was about MEA-MFT, our members, and the folks our members serve.
• $7.6 million to expand mental health facilities at Warm Springs and Lewistown.
• $23 million to renovate Romney Hall at MSU/Bozeman.
• $25 million to help build a proper Montana Historical Society building.
Losing SB 416 is a loss. You can pin that loss on the Tea Party-dominated House.
Yes, provoked by Governor Bullock, this legislature did some terrific stuff: School Funding, State Pay Plan, Medicaid Expansion, Water Compact, Campaign Finance Reform. But it could have/should have done more. It should have passed SB 416.