Big Sky Roundup

Legislative Dems announce 2021 policy goals

By: - January 6, 2021 12:02 pm

Montana Senate and House Democrats this week rolled out a series of policy goals for the 2021 legislative session, including a freeze on tuition for in-state students at Montana’s public colleges, protecting Medicaid expansion and more.

Their policy objectives, grouped into four separate buckets, in some instances hew relatively closely to the GOP’s own policy goals, especially when it comes to budgeting.

One of the categories is labeled “fiscal responsibility,” and in announcing their priorities Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Jill Cohenour spoke of the need for a “responsible” and balanced budget that neither raises taxes on the middle class or makes “harmful” budget cuts.

Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena (Provided by the Montana Legislature)

“In Montana, we have a long history of coming together with our colleagues to build a conservative budget that doesn’t spend more than we take in and is prepared for the unexpected,” Cohenour, an East Helena Democrat, said. “Because of that, Montana is in one of the best positions in the nation when it comes to our budget.”

She added that Democrats would reject “unnecessary and ideological” cuts.

The party’s other priorities include leveraging low interest rates to fund infrastructure projects, expanding rural broadband, driving prescription drug costs down, boosting funding for career and technical colleges — something Republicans have been sympathetic to — and increasing teacher pay, among others.

Montana Democrats – Session Themes One Pager

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Arren Kimbel-Sannit
Arren Kimbel-Sannit

Arren Kimbel-Sannit is an Arizona-bred journalist who has covered politics, policy and power building at every level of government. Before getting his dose of northern exposure, Arren worked as a reporter in all manner of Arizona newsrooms, for the Dallas Morning News and for POLITICO in Washington, D.C. He has a special interest in how land-use decisions affect working-class people, which he displayed through reporting on the epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the Los Angeles Times and PBS Newshour. He's also covered housing, agriculture, the Trump presidency and more.