Lawmakers Convene in Helena

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – State senators in Helena for the opening of Montana’s 2009 legislative session were told by Senate President Bob Story that Montana still favors the GOP message.

Story told Republicans they should use their 27-23 lead in the Senate by sticking together whenever possible.

He says it’s important that Republicans counterbalance the power of the governor’s office with their own imprint on the state budget.

The House is tied 50-50, but Democrats have organizational control there.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has trimmed his proposed state budget once amid gloomy economic forecasts, and lawmakers expect a tight budget will be their top priority.

The 2009 Legislature kicked off Monday, the same day that elected officials were sworn in.