February 27, 2019 | View PDF
Greetings from Helena!
We finished week 7, another snowy week, and are looking forward to the transmittal break. All non-fiscal bills must be moved from one house to the other by March 1st.
I heard some troubling news this week for Richland County and Eastern Montana regarding the closing of the Lewis and Clark Station coal-fired power plant. This plant has been a source of power for MDU customers and a source of employment for Richland County since 1958. I was a little disappointed that MDU couldn’t find a power generating source in Montana. I would guess that high coal severance taxes and high business equipment taxes were part of the problem.
We killed Senate Bills 185, 186 and 187 in the Senate Fish and Game committee this week. SB185 was about trapping or hunting wolves in a barrier outside Yellowstone Park. SB186 and SB187 were against killing coyotes and other predatory animals. We passed SJ6, which is a resolution to encourage the US Congress to take the grizzly bear off the Endangered Species List.
I presented my bill on prevailing wage to provide more dispatch cities for public works contracts. The closest dispatch city for eastern Montana now is Billings. According to the rules made by the Department of Labor, when you get further than 100 miles from the dispatch city you pay more for zone pay and per deim pay for each person that works on the job. This costs eastern Montana between 2% and 8% more per contract than most public projects in the state. I had bipartisan support the night before the vote when I went to bed. The next morning, one member of the “Conservative Solution Caucus” within the Republican party changed his vote so it failed in committee on a 5-5 vote. Apparently, part of the solution is not to include tax payers in the process.
We again enjoyed seeing folks from Eastern Montana, which is always a nice break in the routine.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding your questions or concerns. You can contact me by phone 406-989-1372, by e-mail [email protected], or by regular mail Senator Hinebauch Capitol Building PO Box 200500 Helena, Mt 59620-0500.