In another surprising twist, Senate Bill 107 was tabled last Friday in the appropriations committee on a 11-9 vote. The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee last week to study the fiscal note and committee members voted to table the bill.
Today, on the House Floor, Representative Debra Lamm made a blast motion to bring it back to the house floor for third reading as the bill was basically dead again in committee.
Senate Bill 107 was considered a “Silver Bullet” option which option was established on day one of the 64th Legislative Session. That option was exercised today on the House Floor in a surprising motion and vote.
During the Blast motion, Representative Kelker of Billings, stood up on the house floor opposing the blast motion stated that the bill has now been “resurrected multiple times” and she still opposed the bill.
After the vote, the Legislative website stated the result of the vote as a simple majority of 54-46 vote. The website also stated,
“This is a silver bullet bill and only requires a simple majority vote to take from committee; the bill has been on 2nd reading and was not amended after being rereferred to committee — the result is the bill will go straight to 3rd reading”
3rd reading will take place tomorrow April 21.
If the resurrected SB107 passes on 3rd reading tomorrow. Governor Bullock will have the opportunity to either sign the bill, veto it or let the bill go into law without signing the bill. That would happen 10 days after being placed on his desk for action. A line item veto is also an option that the Governor might also have.
Last week, Yellowstone County News representatives reached out to Governor Bullock’s Office for a comment on the bill and to see if any stance has been taken.
Communications Director Dave Parker said in the email last week, “he (Governor Bullock ) prefers not to comment on legislation until it hits his desk and he has an opportunity to review the bill and confer with his advisors, so he does not yet have a position on SB 107.”
Senate Bill 107 would allow existing elementary school districts the opportunity to expand into a high school district if voted upon by the residents in the area who want to tax themselves. Lockwood, East Helena and Missoula Hellgate are among the three elementary school districts that could start that conversation if Senate Bill 107 is given the nod on 3rd reading and the Governor.
If passed on 3rd reading tomorrow, the Governor will then have the opportunity to weigh in and take a stance for or against Senate Bill 107.
editors note: Representative Kelker represents residents in Billings, not East Helena, which is also part of the Billings School District 2.