Gianforte repeats campaign promises in State of the State

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte outlined his priorities, including attracting more business to the state, implementing new limits on abortion access, and removing coronavirus-related mandates, during his first State of the State address Thursday evening.

The state’s first Republican governor in 16 years delivered his address in the House chamber of the state’s Capitol. Virtual viewing options were available for legislators but many Republican lawmakers attended the address unmasked and without observing social distancing measures.

Gianforte said his economic agenda, which includes lowering the top income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.75% and removing regulations, would help attract more businesses to the state, and would not lead to cuts in essential state services.

The governor lauded the Legislature for quickly advancing a bill that would protect businesses and health care providers from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

He said he would sign bills advanced by the Republican-dominated House that would place new limits on abortion access in the state, including banning abortion in most cases after 20 weeks of gestation – a measure that was vetoed by his Democratic predecessor last legislative session.

The state’s Democratic minority responded saying that Gianforte’s plans didn’t do enough to protect middle and low-income families.

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