School funding, gay rights, DUI highlight upcoming week at the Legislature

2011-03-12T15:58:00Z 2011-03-13T04:34:20Z School funding, gay rights, DUI highlight upcoming week at the Legislature

Gazette State Bureau‌

The Billings Gazette
March 12, 2011 3:58 pm  • 

HELENA — School funding and education issues, gay rights, voter registration and DUI crackdowns are among the marquee items on the upcoming week’s schedule at the Montana Legislature.

Here’s a closer look at highlights of this week’s agenda:

Budget bill: The House wraps up floor action Monday on the House Bill 2, the session’s major budget bill, with votes on education funding.

Death penalty: The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will hear Senate Bill 185, which would abolish the death penalty in Montana and replace it with life in prison without parole. Rep. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, is the sponsor. Room 137, 8 a.m.

DUI: Two major DUI bills have their first hearings in the House on Thursday, before the House Judiciary Committee. SB15, by Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman, creates the crime of aggravated DUI, and SB42, from Sen. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, would allow law officers to get a warrant to force a DUI suspect to give a breath or blood test. Room 137 at the Capitol, 8 a.m.

Gay rights: On Monday, the Senate Local Government Committee will hear HB516, which would abolish Missoula’s local ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians. Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, is the sponsor. Room 317, 3 p.m.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hear SB276, which abolishes the state law that says homosexual sex is a crime — a law that has been struck down by the Montana Supreme Court. Rep. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, is the sponsor. Room 137, 8 a.m.

Pensions: On Tuesday, Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, will present SB328, which says new public employees will have a “defined contribution” pension plan instead of a paid pension. Senate Finance and Claims Committee, Room 317, 9 a.m.

Schools and school finance: Republicans’ major school funding proposal has its first hearing Monday in the Senate Education Committee. SB403 is sponsored by Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad. Room 303, 3 p.m.

HB603, which would allow public charter schools, will be heard Wednesday in the House Education Committee. Rep. Mark Blasdel, R-Somers, is the sponsor. Room 137, 3 p.m.

State revenue: House Joint Resolution 2, which sets the amount of tax revenue the state expects for the next two years and is a key budgeting measure, will be heard Thursday in the House Taxation Committee. Rep. Roy Hollandsworth, R-Brady, is the sponsor. Room 152, 9 a.m.

Voting registration: On Friday, Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, will present HB180, which abolishes Election Day voter registration in Montana and ends registration the Friday before an election. Senate State Administration Committee, Room 335, 3 p.m.

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