HELENA — The session’s major budget bill begins three days of hearings this week before the full House Appropriations Committee, and a major tax proposal is up as well.
Here’s a look at the week’s hearings highlights:
Budget bill: The full House Appropriations Committee will hear and act on House Bill 2, the major budget bill for state spending, starting Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Room 102. The HB2 action will continue through the week, starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.
DUI: HB106, which would establish a statewide “24/7 sobriety” program that requires daily breath tests for second-time drunken-driving offenders, has its first hearing before a Senate committee Thursday. Senate Judiciary Committee, 9 a.m., Room 303.
Public employees pay/retirement: On Thursday, the House State Administration Committee will hear HB597, which would prevent state employees from collecting pensions from two retirement systems and increase employees’ payments into their retirement funds. Rep. Scott Reichner, R-Bigfork, is the sponsor. Room 455, 8 a.m.
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On Friday, Rep. Wayne Stahl, R-Saco, will present HB569, which would cut state workers’ pay back to 2005 levels. House Taxation Committee, Room 152, 9 a.m.
Taxes: Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, on Thursday will present Senate Bill 372, one of Republicans’ major tax proposals this session. The bill cuts property taxes on business equipment this year and phases out the tax almost entirely in future years, if statewide income-tax revenue improves. Senate Taxation Committee, Room 405, 8 a.m.
On Thursday, the House Taxation Committee will hear House Joint Resolution 13, which would direct the Legislature to study simplification of the state income tax and possible replacement of it with a sales tax. Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, is the sponsor. Room 152, 9 a.m.
Wolves/hunting: The Senate Fish and Game Committee on Thursday will hear two bills dealing with wolves in Montana: HJR1, by Rep. Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, to urge the federal government to remove wolves from the endangered species list; and HB471, by Rep. Dan Kennedy, R-Laurel, to limit the number of wolf breeding pairs in Montana to 15. Room 422, 3 p.m.
The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday will hear HB470, which raises hunting license fees to fund the livestock loss mitigation fund. Rep. Christy Clark, R-Choteau, is the sponsor. Room 472, 3 p.m.