2009 Legislative Session: Week 3 (Part I)

by jhwygirl

166 meetings this week, folks – and there’s no Martin Luther King holiday for these guys…

On Monday we’ve got one in the Senate that is already tuning up for the potential for disaster. Water policy stuff. Read about it in that link.

Senator Jonathan Windy Boy has SB196 scheduled for hearing in the State Administration Committee. It would create a state holiday for American Indian Heritage celebration. There are several places in the Montana Code and the Montana Constitution that call out protections for American Indian culture, yet we don’t have any specific days to reflect upon what the American Indian culture means and has meant to Montana. The fiscal note isn’t out on this one yet. Submit public comment to staffer Dave Bohyer (be sure to note that it is for the Senate State Administration Committee), dbohyer@mt.gov.

In House Human Services, Rep. Margaret MacDonald has HB214, which would allow for Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women and bring income limits into line with federal standards. The fiscal note is out on this, and there should be no reason to see this one falter. Sue O’Connell is the staffer – soconnell@mt.gov.

On Tuesday, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Verdell Jackson wants to require law enforcement officers to request blood testing for any driver who is a qualified medical marijuana patient in SB212. It goes on, but stinks of big brother. Seriously – go read it. If you want to understand the fiscal impact this type of legislation has, check this out, from Montana Matters. Valencia Lane is the staffer = vlane@mt.gov.

Great Falls Tribune superreporter John S. Adams has a blogpost and some video up on this legislation and others related to marijuana. There’s one video with Senator Verdell Jackson, that is interesting. Dare I say “loon?” Don’t miss ’em.

In the House, Rep. Robin Hamilton (of Missoula, folks), has HB199 before House Taxation Committee. It would revise the lodging tax allocation and increase the monies funneled to the Montana Heritage Preservation and Development account. Here’s a page for the Heritage Commission. Jeff Martin is the staffer for the Taxation Committee, jmartin@mt.gov.

Nooney’s state love song is up in the House on Tuesday.

Rep. Walter McNutt carries forth HB6 for the DNRC and the Office of Budget & Planning. It would implement an natural resource fund, and prioritize projects. This hearing is in the Joint Appropriations Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation. gdewitt@mt.govGreg Dewitt in the staffer, gdewitt@mt.gov.

Also in the House on Tuesday, in the Local Government Committee, are two zoning related proposals – HB183, proposed by Rep. Dan Villa, which would restrict conditions that could be placed on final plat. I’ve got mixed feelings about this one – on one hand, it hamstrings local government, but on the other hand, local governments have been walking in circles around zoning – this includes you, Missoula County – and using pretty much unenforceable clauses on subdivision plats (such as wildland urban interface types of things like irrigation or stacking of firewood). I think I’ll be listening to the testimony on this one.

Another one in Local Government is JP Pomnichowski with HB156, which provides for uniform penalties for zoning violations and allows for governing bodies to provide civil penalties. The House Local Government Committee is staffed by Joe Kolman – jkolman@mt.gov.

Still more – quickly – Elsie Arntzen has HB226 which would create funding for after school programs for at-risk youth. A little prevention goes a long way, folks. This one in the House Appropriations Committee – Jon Moe the staffer, jmoe@mt.gov.

Rep. Julie French with HB232, which would revise state payment in lieu payments to the counties, and eliminate downward adjustments. This one, too, in the House Appropriations Committee – Jon Moe the staffer, jmoe@mt.gov.

Looks like I’m only getting through Tuesday on Part I, people. As I’ve said, these are only a handful of the ones that pop out at me. The whole weeks schedule is here.

Good government – GOOD GOVERNMENT – requires YOU. It’s more than pulling a lever/filling in that dot – or even knocking doors and making calls. It doesn’t all end on the 2nd Wednesday in November. Get involved. Write a letter, send an email.

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