2009 Legislative Session: Week 4 (Part I)

by jhwygirl

109 meetings from Monday through Wednesday, folks.

Monday: The previous hearing was canceled for HB202, proposed by Rep. Mike Miller. It would grant an income tax credit for long-term care insurance. Blogged about here, with contact info. Hearing is Monday in House Taxation.

In House Appropriations there is HB157, proposed by Rep. Chuck Hunter of Helena, for Public Health & Human Services. It implements the Healthy Kids Initiative, approved in the 2008 election. The fiscal note is out on this, too. Jon Moe the staffer: jmoe@mt.gov.

Sen. John Brueggeman, of Flathead, has SB95 in Senate Natural Resources. It is being brought forth at the request of DEQ, and would allow establishment of numerical quantities for temporary nutrient discharge permits. Brueggman is also bringing forward, for DEQ, SB102, which would allow for implementation of rules to address defects in public water systems. Both very worthy of support. Sonja Nowakowski the staffer, snowakowski@mt.gov

Sen. Bob Hawks, of Bozeman, wants to revise the laws on medium-speed electric vehicles with SB73. This one has been tooling along nicely in the Senate, already having passed a 2nd reading of its amended version, 48-2. Currently these vehicles can’t be licensed. This bill would allow it. It’s in Senate Finance & Claims, Taryn Purdy the staffer – tpurdy@mt.gov

Tuesday: Jill Cohenour’s HB41 has been referred to House Appropriations after having passed its second floor reading in the House. This is because, I believe, it needs to be included in an appropriations bill. The fiscal note is out on this one. It is very supportable and has been blogged about here. Jon Moe the staffer: jmoe@mt.gov.

Wednesday: I like this one. Rep. Dennis Himmelberger, of Billings, has HB323, which would revise the laws for uninsured motorists. Driving is a responsibility – insurance is part of it. People without insurance make my insurance costs higher. This in House Business & Labor, Bart Campbell the staffer – bcampbell@mt.gov

SB243, proposed by Joe Balyeat, of Bozeman, could end up costing the taxpayers a bundle. It would require a majority vote in general elections – forcing run-offs in any election where there wasn’t a >50% result. Nuts. The fiscal note shows technical concerns and “significant local government impact.” Costs estimates are $1.6 million for a general election. It’s in Senate State Administration – staffer Dave Bohyer, dbohyer@mt.gov

Remember – 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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  1. goof houlihan

    anytime there would be three people running for one seat, the possibility exists that a runoff would have to be held.

    Would this strengthen third parties in Montana?

    An argument could be made that it would. Voters could vote for the third party, say, libertarian candidate or a green or constitutionalist candidate, and not have that vote have the unintended consequence of electing the opposite candidate.

    Think of it as voters for Nadir, instead of electing george bush, would get a second vote after it was clear their guy wasn’t going to be on the runoff ballot, and instead vote for algore the second time around. (just to put it in, ya know, “4&20 terms”. I doubt Joe would use this example.

    Would strengthening the chances for third party candidates create better government?

  2. Don Birkholz

    On HB 323 to increase the penalties for no insurance, there are several problems. The bill calls for suspension of driver’s licenses for no insurance until the offender provides proof of compliance with 61-6-301. The problem is, if the offender’s motor vehicle is parked on private land, the vehicle is exempt and how does he provide proof of compliance? Walk the county treasurer oout to the private land and show him the vehicle parked on private land????????????

    Some of these bills are a joke.

    The fiscal note is in error. There are four studies indicating an increase in food stamps due to mandatory auto insurance. Bills that increase the costs of the DPHHS are required to note such in their fiscal notes. A food stamp survey in Billings, MT shows 12 of 96 food stamp applicants said auto insurance was a reason for needing food stamps.
    go to http://www.foodstampstudy.com

    Many insurance companies are opposed to mandatory auto insurance http://www.centspermilenow.org/715oppos.htm If you do not have the insurance industry behind you, what good is mandatory auto insurance.

    If everybody drove 5,000$ vehicles, instead of 25,000$ vehicles, auto insurance rates would plummet. It is those choosing to drive 25,000$ vehicles instead of 5,000$ vehicles who are really driving up the cost of insurance.

    Let’s be honest, here.

  3. Don – I appreciate your comments. I’m going to ask a few questions and make a statement or two.

    Are you advocating – based on your food stamp statement – that we should all be exempt from car insurance? Because not only do I have to pay for car insurance, I also have a cost on that policy for uninsured drivers. Why is it that I have to pay for uninsured drivers. That seems entirely unfair.

    And maybe insurance companies are opposed to mandatory insurance because of what I stated above – the wouldn’t be able to charge me that uninsured drivers premium. Insurance is a racket, for sure.

    I can’t afford a $25,000 car, yet alone that uninsured drivers premium. I’d far rather have that money in my pocket.

    Ever hit an uninsured driver? The issue becomes all the more maddening. They drive away with a ticket!

    Maybe the bills needs some tweaking – I do see where 1st conviction is pretty frickin’ harsh.

    Driving is a privilege, having insurance is the law. Having me pay for uninsured drivers on my policy is even more ludicrous. If you can’t afford insurance, and it is the law, then maybe you shouldn’t have insurance.

    Either that, or eliminate the need for insurance. I don’t see that happening.

    What is your solution for someone like me?

  1. 1 2009 Legislative Session: Week 9 (Part I) « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] I’ve supported SB95 in the past, and it comes up in House Natural Resources after having passed the Senate on a 49-1 vote. SB95, sponsored by Sen. John Brueggman establishes base numeric nutrient discharge standards to be used to establish permit limits to discharge. Shirley Chovanak the secretary – schovanak@mt.gov. […]

  2. 2 2009 Legislative Session: Week 10 (Part I) « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] in favor of a related bill by Rep. Dennis Himmelberger (HB323, which failed in committee) – and had a opponent to the bill put a comment in on this post, disagreeing with me. Now – I understand the reasoning behind advocating against 323 – and I […]




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