Montana Highway Patrol troopers saved from budget ax

HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Highway Patrol may not have to cut troopers after all.

The agency would have lost 27 positions as part of Gov. Steve Bullock's plan to trim spending from across state government.

But the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday unveiled a budget that rejected funding reductions at the agency.

Attorney General Tim Fox had expressed alarm over the proposed staffing reductions and said his office was blindsided by the cuts. He said the cuts presented a public safety issue.

The governor's budget director, Dan Villa, noted that the budget now before the Appropriations Committee increases outlays for other branches of government but is proposing deeper cuts to the Governor's Office. He said the proposal being drafted by the Republican-controlled committee could slash three full-time positions from the governor's office.

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