The Roundup -

Legislative Report

 


Greetings from Helena.

We put in some extra-long days this week, with extra floor sessions. As we near the final weeks of the session we will probably see more of these as deadlines are approaching.

HB 2, the budget, was heard in Senate Finance and Claims Committee this past week. We will hear it on the Senate floor sometime this week.

In Judiciary Committee, we heard SB 354, Born Alive Act, carried by Senator Olszewski. This bill says that a baby that survives an abortion has a right to live. We passed it out of committee on a party line vote. On the floor, it passed 30-19. All Republican Senators voted for this bill, while all the Democrat Senators, except one, voted against it. This was a very easy YES vote for me to make.

In Public Health and Human Services Committee, we heard bills that dealt with what “illnesses” health insurance companies should be mandated to cover to bills that called for the reigning in of DPHHS. This is an important committee because it deals with an agency that affects the lives of many Montanans and spends over $2.25 Billion a year. We hear a lot of emotional testimonies during these hearings.

During Senate Fish and Game Committee, one of the bills we voted on was HB 265. There was some discussion before the vote as to who should be involved in the decision of conservation easements. The Montana Attorney General said the Land Board should have a vote on these decisions while the Montana Supreme Court ruled it should be only the Governor’s decision, through his appointees and department. With these conflicting decisions within our judiciary system of Government, we, as the Legislature, are doing our duty to clarify the law concerning this issue. In Region 7, there was almost $10 Million of public money initially spent for easements, plus the commitment of managing and monitoring will be thousands of dollars more a year forever. There will be decisions regarding restrictions made on land that will be affected for perpetuity (forever). So, it is a big decision regarding hunters, landowners, and the communities where these easements are located, and we need to get it right.

The last couple of weeks I had the opportunity to sponsor Senate Pages, Annika Bennion from Sidney and our granddaughter, Vanessa Splattstoesser. We appreciate their help and I think it is an educational experience for them.

It was good to see people from SD 18 again this week.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding your questions or concerns. You can contact me by phone 406-989-1372, by e-mail steve.hinebauch@mtleg.gov, or by regular mail Senator Hinebauch Capitol Station PO Box 200500 Helena, Mt 59620-0500.

 

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