On the last day of the session, the state pay plan has finally passed. The pay plan has had another rocky journey through the legislature, beginning as HB 13 and finally ending up in SB 294.
See recent news article about the pay plan, published this morning before the vote:
Bill with pay raises for state employees, buyouts for university system moves to final passage
ERIN LORANGER, Helena IR, Apr 27, 2017
A bill to give state employees a raise needs one more vote before moving to the governor’s desk to be signed.
Senate Bill 294 was stalled during infrastructure negotiations in the final days of the session, but the House on Thursday scheduled a vote to accept amendments added in a committee. They’ll take a final vote Friday, and if passed, the bill will go to the governor.
SB294 appropriates approximately $22 million from a combination of general fund, state special revenue and federal special revenue accounts to give state employees a 1 percent raise in February 2018 and a second one a year later.
Although the pay plan passed on a 58-42 vote, some members opposed amendments to the bill that transfers $2 million from the 911 fund to the Montana University System so it can offer voluntary buyouts to address budget shortfalls, particularly at the University of Montana. The money comes from a $1-per-month fee on each cellphone user’s bill.
Rep. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, said he couldn’t vote for the bill after its intent drastically changed.
“We’re also bringing in another bill or another concept about bailing out the University of Montana in regards to the management of their personnel,” he said. “Our employees — we did give them a fairly decent raise the last legislative session so I just can’t support this on the grounds of changing the original intent of this bill.”