- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Senate has given its initial approval to a measure that would give state employees raises and spend $2 million on buyouts for professors in the Montana University System.

The raises and buyouts were added to a bill to require the review and approval of salary increases outside of the wage ranges set for state workers.

The bill passed its first vote 27-23 on Tuesday. It must pass a final vote in the Senate and be approved by the House before it goes to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Under the measure, state workers would receive raises of 1 percent in February 2018 and another 1 percent in February 2019.

The $2 million for early retirements would go to buy out faculty at the University of Montana and other colleges seeing enrollment declines.;

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