2009 Legislative Session: Week 8 (Part I)

by jhwygirl

I suppose, perhaps, we are going to see some serious executive action this week on the backlog of previous hearings? The list of hearings seems awfully short: Only 8 hearings scheduled for both the House and Senate for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Which means I’ll have to be looking into what’s been left hanging.

On Monday, Rep. Mary Caferro finally gets her hearing on HB401 in House Appropriations. HB401 deals with regulations concerning meth-contaminated properties and is geared toward providing protections for renters and homebuyers. I blogged about this just a few days ago – and in case you missed that piece, just go and check this list out, which not only lists meth-contaminated properties around the state, but allows you to see how long (too long) it takes from determination that a property is meth-contaminated to when the property owner gets notified – yet alone how long it takes to get to a point of actual remediation. There is contact information in the previous post.

Sen. David Wanzenried has SB463 before the Senate Public Health, Welfare & Safety committee. This bill would make changes to laws concerning employment of disabled persons – making educational materials available and allowed them to be employed by family members. Joan Linkenbach is the secretary – jlinkenbach@mt.gov. Make sure to mention the bill by number and to note, specifically, that you are submitting public comment for the committee members.

Also on Monday, Sen. Jim Schockley has SB497, which is a messy affair – to say the lease. It would make it a crime to obstructing a protest at a health care facility. What if you are protesting the protest? Who can come withing 8 feet of whom? Talk about making it a mess for police. Maybe Shockley would rather see everyone arrested? Or is it “I was here first?” Better to protect the ability to protest, and to make sure those protesters are a safe distance away from the health care facility – like 100 feet? He’s got 36 feet in there. Lord – what a mess. Say “NO” to this one folks: Contact the Senate Judiciary committee by emailing Pam Schindler and telling her you are submitting public comment, and request that it be given to all the committee members. Her email address is pschindler@mt.gov.

On Tuesday Rep. Betsy Hands is ushering HB569 which would set up a revolving state fund for affordable housing. I said Affordable Housing people – and rather than belabor the point, search 4&20 for that term, over there on the left, and you’ll see how badly this bill is needed. This is in House Appropriations, Samuel Speerschneider the secretary: sspeerschneider@mt.gov.

Remember, if you can’t or aren’t able to send an email, go ahead and call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for the entire committee. You can also leave individual messages for individual legislators. Up to 5 at a time. Make sure to have the bill number handy. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462. The Session Information Desk opens at 7:30 a.m., and closes at 5 p.m.

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  1. On HB569 – I believe the fund is already in existence, it just has never been funded. HB569 would transfer general fund money into the existing account – $10 Million. We certainly need more money as the population ages, but this is worth supporting now to get some projects moving.

    Consider this a good investment for our future housing needs. The next 20 years may be difficult if we don’t have the housing necessary to cope with the “silver tsunami.” Social Security, Medicare, and other services are already strained and may go bust. Reallocating resources now in preparation is “uber” important and housing is a critical resource.

    In Missoula, we need more rental units and a way to support MHA and homeWORD type projects. The housing situation gets more dire every day and the strain on our social safety net infrastructure for the homeless is becoming critical.

    • I’d like to see some funding for those that make more than 80% of the median, Ryan, yet still can’t afford a median priced home. MHA and homeWORd are able to get funding from the feds – although that funding has been cut tremendously. But when contractors and builders and tradesmen can’t buy the houses that they’re building – yet can’t qualify for an MHA or homeWord home because they make too much – we got problems.

      Figuring out how to use a portion of this funding for that group of people would go a long way towards stimulating not only the housing sector, but it would go a long way to long-term stabilization of the economic and social sectors of communities throughout the state.

  2. petetalbot

    Thanks for the info on the Shockley bill. It seems like every time I turn around, the Republicans are putting some roadblock in front of a woman’s right to choose — as if there’s no more important work to be done in Helena. Other examples: McGee’s bill putting the state in charge of fetuses, or Curtis’ misnamed “protection for mothers to be” bill. I’m getting really tired of their antics.

  3. many of the right wing republican legislators in helena seem to be going out of their way to vote against the majority of the will of the people of montana. all the state-wide polling data out there show strong support for children’s insurance programs, equality of pay in the workplace, public access for our streams and rivers, a woman’s right to choose, regulation of predatory lenders and limitations on our right to same day voter registration.

    thankfully, they fail as much as they win, but the republicans thumbing their noses in the face of the voters of montana surely is a spectacle in bold and reckless intransigence. i certainly hope the voters remember in 2010 and vote accordingly.

  4. I just don’t think SB497 goes far enough. What about obstructing a protest of a protest of a protest?

    • JC

      I protest.

      Actually, if for some reason this bill becomes law, I think a counter protest, arrest and/or lawsuit, would quickly reveal that this bill is unconstitutional.

      • thegreatlettera

        If this bill becomes law it will effectively make abortion unobtainable, unless whomever want to pay $100 and have the offense on record. This reads as an “I was here first” sort of situation. It not only guts the current 45-8-110, but it turns the protesters into a 16 foot diameter spherical “bubble” thing. Linking the bubbles would create an invisible fence with human posts where there’s a little zap for passing through as well, except it’s $100 instead of electrical. I think you’re right that this would be unconstitutional, it’s scary he thinks his ruse will work. It’s scarier that people would actually turn out to be “posts.”

  1. 1 Sen. Shockley on SB 497: It Protects the Protesters from People Entering the Clinics « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] blogged about SB497 with this weeks Part I….and the comments kicked this up, from thegreatlettera: (This bill) not only guts the current […]

  2. 2 Floor Hearings for Thursday, Legislative Day 49 « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] people that are entering health care clinics. That post had some lively discussion – and so did this one. Be sure to contact your senators on this one, too – for some reason that we’ve yet to figure […]




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