HELENA — A bipartisan budget deal is restoring federal family planning money sought by Democrats and giving Republicans a permanent cut of 500 vacant state jobs.
The Montana Senate is finalizing the state's main $9 billion budget bill that spends a combination of state and federal money. It covers services big and small: schools, driver's licensing, Medicaid, law enforcement and much more.
Lawmakers huddled for two hours to start Saturday trying to reach a deal on two contentious issues.
It produced a compromise that restores about $5 million of federal family planning for health clinics. The item is a priority for Democrats.
In exchange, some Democrats backed a Republican move to permanently cut 500 state jobs that are vacant. The GOP says the move will limit the growth in government.