Thursday, June 22, 2017

Legislative session summary from Forrest Mandeville

The Montana legislature adjourned for the session on April 28 and, other than interim responsibilities or unless a special session is called, will not reconvene until January 2019. I want to thank all of you for allowing me to serve in Helena as your representative. It is a truly humbling experience and an honor I will always cherish.
We faced a major challenge at the beginning of the session to fund vital programs after the governor irresponsibly spent down a $300 million ending fund balance from last session.
The governor’s solution to spending too much money was to raise your taxes. I worked to resist tax increases and to instead craft a responsible budget focusing on finding efficiencies and not burdening Montanans with permanent tax increases. The legislature passed a $10.3 billion budget; a 0.6 percent increase from last biennium. Importantly, we also established a budget stabilization plan to place more parameters on the executives spending when we are not in session.
Several bills I presented were signed into law. HB 156 ensures that the hard rock mining impact trust account will continue to be funded and that counties and school districts impacted by mining will be protected in the event of a mine closure of significant workforce reduction. This bill had the support of counties, school officials, and the mining industry.
Other bills I sponsored that were signed into law focused on putting parameters on government to ensure predictability and communication through the subdivision and development process. I worked with many stakeholders on these bills, both private and public agencies, and I am confident the legislation we crafted will make the processes smoother for all involved.
I will be staying active after the session on interim committees and am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that will be coming.
As always, I value input from those I represent. The best way to contact me is by email at Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov, or by phone at (406) 690-1933.

Rep. Forrest J. Mandeville
HD 57, Columbus