Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill that implements the state’s 2024-2025 employee pay plan this week, authorizing raises and bonuses for the state workforce over the next two years.
The pay plan calls for either $1.50-an-hour or 4% raises, whichever is greater, for state and Montana University System employees this year and next, effective July 1 of each year. Employees will also receive a one-time bonus, $1,040 for full-time workers and lesser amounts for part-time workers.
The plan also raises the state’s per-diem meal rates by 10% and holds employee out-of-pocket health benefit contributions, copay amounts, deductibles and coinsurance costs constant through 2025.
A fiscal analysis prepared by the governor’s budget office estimates each round of raises will raise the state’s payroll costs by roughly $50 million a year. The one-time bonuses will cost an estimated $16.9 million.
The pay plan, which was negotiated between the governor and public employees’ unions and announced in concept last fall, passed through the Legislature without substantive changes. Its implementation measure, House Bill 13, passed the House, 89-7, and the Senate, 48-1, winning bipartisan support in both chambers. The governor signed the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. John Fitzpatrick, R-Anaconda, April 11.
Both the governor and Montana Federation of Public Employees, the state’s largest public union, celebrated the bill’s passage in statements provided to Montana Free Press Friday.
“As Montanans and all Americans face higher prices and historic inflation, this package will help ensure we retain and recruit highly qualified, dedicated public employees to serve Montanans,” Gianforte said in an email sent to state employees following the bill signing.
MFPE President Amanda Curtis touted the “hard work” necessary to get the raises approved.
“Our bargaining team, with members from across state government and higher education, spent months negotiating in good faith with Governor Gianforte to reach an agreement,” Curtis said. “This session, thousands of MFPE members contacted their legislators to win its legislative approval.”
The Lake County Commission sent a letter to Gov. Greg Gianforte informing him that the local sheriff’s office and criminal justice system would no longer handle felony law enforcement on the reservation. The agreement between the state and tribe is one-of-a-kind in Montana.
The U.S. Forest Service has laid out a plan to allow Stillwater Mining Company to continue operating the East Boulder platinum and palladium mine into the 2040s.
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