Legislative Spending

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A panel that estimates the cost of bills proposed by state lawmakers met Tuesday to hear some of the ideas for the spring session.

The Legislative Council gave the nod to bills that would lower costs for treating mental illness among prisoners, create a tax credit for senior citizens needing prescription drugs, and plans to address the drought by adding well inspectors and studying ways to help the state keep more water.

The council rejected a pilot program to help people on welfare buy homes and a proposal that would have created an office of faith-based initiatives to help religious groups work with government programs.

Lawmakers will face a $600 million shortfall in revenues when they convene in January.