Guest Opinion: Legislative Report
April 14, 2021 | View PDF
Greetings from Helena!
In Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee we heard a bill, HB334, that more specifically explains the rights of students that need an exemption from immunizations, whether it is for medical or religious reasons. There is a lot of concern about what the Health Departments are going to require because of the health concerns this past year. We also heard HB502 which helps the process of adoption become easier between expectant mothers and adoptive parents. HB398 would allow legislators to review records of cases investigated by the office of the child and family ombudsman. There are a lot of concerns about how much authority Child Protective Services (CPS) has.
In Judiciary Committee we heard from three district judges that Governor Bullock had nominated, and we have to confirm or reject them. I have some concerns about all of them. We also heard HB337, the Personhood Amendment, which states life begins at conception. This is a constitutional amendment, and we need 34 votes in the Senate in order for it to pass. HB481 dealt with penalties for damages done to critical infrastructure. These include pipelines, electrical facilities, petroleum facilities, etc.
We heard HB2 on the floor of the Senate. HB2 is the main money bill for the next biennium. This is always a complicated process because there is a little bit for this and a little for that and pretty soon it adds up to being a lot of money. That money has to be taken from hard working Montana taxpayers. It is still in the process of getting trimmed. We will see what happens.
A bill I carried, SB157, which would allow non-public school students to participate in public school extracurricular activities, passed through the Senate and the House and is ready for the Governor’s signature. This bill had bi-partisan support from both houses.
We had another Page this week, Bronte Bennion, from Sidney. I think the Page Program is a great learning experience for our young people. If you are in Helena, be sure to stop and see us. If you want to look up the text of a bill you can find it at https.leg.mt.gov.