Montana House Majority Leader Gordy Vance joined me this morning to give a recap of the 63rd legislative session just adjourned yesterday.

According the Majority Leader Vance, the biggest accomplishment--blocking Medicaid expansion.  The largest challenge--herding 61 cats in the GOP House Caucus.

In fact, to highlight that difficulty Vance said that just outside his offices in the Helena Capitol, the "Crossover Republicans" were holding a press conference.  These self-proclaimed "Responsible Republicans" consisted of 12-15 House GOP members and 6-8 in the Senate.  When voting with the Democrats on large spending bills, these Crossover Republicans defeated many fiscally conservative bills, Vance and others have contended. They also attempted but failed to expand Medicaid, a program that would have dumbed down medicine and limited access to health care for all Montanans.

Listen to the full interview by clicking below:

By relying on a virtually broke federal government to fund expansion and, with their last legislative attempt, having Montana guarantee to subsidize half the costs for private insurance purchased with Medicaid funds, these Crossover Republicans and Democrat colleagues would have put Montana at a significant financial risk.

The biggest disappointment Vance said was that they spent too much money and increased the size of government.  The legislature increased the budget, approved an increase of pay to state employees, kicked the can down the road on employee pensions Vance explained.

The Majority Leader was joined later by Rep. Kerry White and both spoke about key bills that are on the Governor's desk. One is a School Choice funding bill, SB81, the first one to get out of the legislature.  There are two other tax cut bills SB394 and SB96.  (You can contact the Governor and urge him to sign SB81, School Choice Funding bill,to sign the personal income tax relief bill SB394 and to sign business equipment tax relief bill SB96.)

The other important bill that was passed by the legislature that is on the Governor's desk  is HB604.  This would establish a Committee to study effective Medicaid reform and innovation.  As we have said, Medicaid-Fix It, Don't Expand It.

Our congratulations and thanks to Rep. Gordy Vance, Sen. Art Wittich and all the others in the state legislature who worked hard to limit government growth and spending.

Henry Kriegel broadcasts weekly on KMMS AM 1450 Thursdays at 9:00 AM.  He is also Deputy State Director of Americans For Prosperity-Montana.  The views he expresses on air and in this blog are his own.

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