Bozeman Lawmakers React To Legislative Session - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Bozeman Lawmakers React To Legislative Session

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BOZEMAN - Although the legislative session is over, lawmakers are still working on the aftermath of the bills that were passed.

"I think the most shocking thing about being in the legislature is both how much power you have and how little power you have," said Democrat Tom Woods who represents Bozeman House District 64.

For the first time, Democrat Tom Woods participated in Montana's Legislative session, as a lawmaker. He said the first time through was difficult because it's like learning a different language.

"I got more done than I expected to," said Woods. "I feel like I had more responsibility put on my plate than I anticipated going in."

Republican Ted Washburn has been a part of three legislative sessions. He said the most difficult part is knowing the rules.

"I think the quality of legislature was good in both parties," said Washburn. "They had a bunch of young democrats come on in the city and they were really good quality. They were thinking their way through."

Woods had two bills included in the budget, a bill to expand the WWAMI program and a bill to create a veterinary medicine program.

"We're going to have a program just like WWAMI to train veterinarians," said Woods. "We will have ten students that will take their first coursework here in Bozeman and then they will complete their veterinary training in Spokane."

Washburn co-sponsored with Kelly Flynn the wolf bill passed early in the session. The bill will help supply food source in Yellowstone Park so predators don't move out of the park.

"I think that made a huge difference because now FWP has a bill that will set quotas for the next hunting season based on science," said Washburn.

Both parties agree that working on the pension system was a great accomplishment this session.

"If we didn't get some money into this system, we would end having the state's bonding percentage go up," said Washburn. "It would affect the county, schools and everybody else who borrows money."

Both parties are looking forward to the next session, but Washburn said there are going to be some changes for Bozeman.

"It's not going to be how it has been the last 10 years, the districts are different in Bozeman," said Washburn.

Both parties also agreed the Montana University System faired well in this past session by approving pay raises for state employees as well as tuition freezes.

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