Appropriations Committee sends its medical marijuana bill to Senate floor

  • Appropriations Committee sends its medical marijuana bill to Senate floor

Appropriations Committee sends its medical marijuana bill to Senate floor

Dozens of Montana schools that were counting on state funding to replace crumbling roofs and old boilers are out of luck.

"Access means getting the medicine you need, not the medicine the dispensary is producing", said Deckerhoff, who urged lawmakers not to pass the bill.

Thursday's vote fell just two shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass the bill.

House Bill 13 passed unanimously earlier this year, but the senate hasn't acted on it. Besides the schools and water systems, the projects that won't be funded include a veterans' home in Butte that had been promised for almost a decade and the Montana Historical Society's plans to build top-notch museum and heritage center. When the House COW does discuss the bill, it is likely to be voted on by the House on the same day.

Randy Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican whose district includes Garfield County, said they didn't have the votes to get it out of the committee.

"Now some say we didn't spend enough, others are saying we didn't cut enough", Ballance said.

Also pending is another infrastructure bill that would lend regional water authorities in rural parts of the state money for their water projects.

There are some similarities in the bills: Both would ban the smoking of marijuana and institute a seed-to-sale tracking system. "We tried to convince the other side to be there with us. I'm very proud of Diane Mitsch Bush and Randy Baumgardner, two opposite ends trying to push this through together".

It remained unclear if fiscal conservatives will be willing to let go of their philosophical opposition to paying for projects through bonding, which they see as putting the state into debt over building projects they say should wait for better budgetary times. A separate, $78 million House proposal that contained numerous same projects was previously rejected three times.

After the meeting, Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen, a Republican from Culbertson, said a deal had not been struck but several options had been proposed. Lawmakers rejected Gov. Steve Bullock's initial proposal in favor of one of their own, though there hasn't been agreement over which projects should be included and what amount of bonding is acceptable.

"When we started down this road, my goal was to put a bipartisan transportation package before voters that would help Colorado catch up on a road modernization backlog that cries out for prompt but thoughtful action", Grantham said after the bill's was killed. "I'm disappointed that some legislators put partisan politics over Montana jobs and the strengths of our communities".

Some Republican lawmakers point out that the Legislature has already passed other infrastructure projects that don't involve bonding, but use cash.

Another bill that would generate up to $1.2 billion for roads over 20 years without a tax hike is pending in the Senate.

Rep. David Stringer (R-Prescott), the lone "no" vote in the House Education Committee, said his mind could be changed if amendments were made to the bill. "Most of that money's highway money".

When time came to record the vote on the provider fee budget-balancing bill, something rather odd happened.