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HELENA, Mont. – State Auditor Matt Rosendale is working with legislators of both parties to override Governor Steve Bullock’s veto of a bill that is estimated to save Montanans around $8 million on prescription drug costs.

Senate Bill 71 passed the legislature with enough votes to trigger an automatic poll asking lawmakers if they’d like to sustain or overrule the governor’s veto. The Montana Secretary of State sent ballots to legislators last week, and they must be returned by June 14th. Two-thirds of each chamber must vote to override Bullock’s veto for SB 71 to become law. The bill passed the Legislature with the required two-thirds vote, 37-13 in the Senate and 71-27 in the House, during the session.

“If every legislator who already voted to lower prescription drug costs votes for this bill one more time, it will become law,” said Rosendale. “All it takes to save Montanans millions on their medications is for legislators to stick to the votes they originally cast. I also strongly encourage those few legislators who didn’t vote for it the first time to take this new opportunity and stand up for their constituents.”

Rosendale pointed out that Bullock’s veto was based on faulty information (see response to veto letter here) and that it’s now up to the Legislature to decide whether Montanans will see lower-priced medications before the next Legislature can take another look at the problem in 2021.

Legislators from all over the political spectrum are backing the effort to lower prescription drug costs by voting to enact SB 71 into law despite the veto.

“As the Democratic sponsor of this legislation and as a practicing nurse, I urge my fellow representatives to join me in voting to make SB 71 law. My patients are suffering from the ever-increasing burden of paying for health care and high prescription costs. This bill will save our constituents millions on the cost of their medications. It’s time for Montana to make a stand against high prescription drug prices. SB 71 transcends party lines and would save Montanans millions on prescription drugs.” -Rep. Gordon Pierson, D-Deer Lodge

“As an orthopedic surgeon, I’ve seen first-hand how many Montanans struggle with health care expenses. I sponsored Senate Bill 71 because it will lower prescription drug costs and give folks much-needed relief on their health insurance rates.” -Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell, M.D.

“Senate Bill 71 is smart policy to address the high cost of prescription drugs. This very bipartisan legislation will be a big step in the right direction to making medications more accessible and affordable. Montanans need good health care and SB 71 is a solution that we can all get behind.” -Rep. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls

For background on SB 71, see these prior press releases:

Bullock Vetoes SB 71, Sides with Drug Industry Over Montanans

Prescription Drug Cost Bill in Committee this Friday