The 65th Montana Legislative Session Begins
HELENA, Mont. - At noon Monday the 65th state legislature was gaveled into session.
Newly elected lawmakers were welcomed into chambers by returning members as they prepare for a busy 90 days.
"The budget surplus is basically gone. Last session we left town it was $300 million, and now it's south of $50 million, so we lost some spending fund balance," said House Speaker Austin Knudson (R-Culbertson).
Both the State House and State Senate will have to agree on what can be kept, what can be added and what will have to be cut.
"There are some things the legislation can do to spur economic growth and job creation. That will be the priority," said Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso (D-Butte).
Both sides agree this legislature is working with a tight budget.
"Got to work on that budget," said Sesso. "Money is tight, and when money is tight things are actually easier to figure out, because everybody stays focused on the job at hand."
Sesso and Knudson agree that both sides will have to work together to get things done in a short period of time.