Archive for March 1st, 2009

by jhwygirl

Legislators report back for floor sessions Monday afternoon – the House at 4:30 p.m., the Senate at 5 p.m.

Committee hearings start back up on Tuesday morning. There are 92 hearings for Tuesday and Wednesday. Wow. Back to work, huh?

Also, the Senate Finance and Claims Committee will hold a public hearing and informational meeting on the federal economic stimulus package, Tuesday, March 3rd from 8 a.m. until noon. This webpage has additional information.

On Tuesday, in House Judiciary, is Sen. Larry Jent with his castle doctrine bill, SB92. This is the sanest of the castle doctrine – justification of deadly force bills. It passed the Senate with a 45 – 3 vote at 3rd reading. In House Judiciary – Jennifer Eck the secretary – jeck@mt.gov.

This one is bugging me: Rep. Michael More has a bill titled Revise School Laws – HB624. It does a number of things, including granting a tax credit to anyone with a dependent enrolled in elementary or secondary education – for both publicly and privately enrolled students. It talks about “allowing lower-income parents the same ability that wealthier parents now have in selecting the school of their choice enhances equality of educational opportunity” and “that competition in the educational marketplace has a strengthening effect on both public and private education and serves the long-term best interests of all students,” – all Rush Limbaugh-like talking points. While there are good components in this one – it includes a Montana Excellence in Teaching Award program – tax credits that erode at public school funding are bad, bad things. Just say NO to this one, people. In House Taxation – Jennifer O’Loughlin the secretary – joloughlin@mt.gov.

On Wednesday, the ever hard-working Rep. Mary Caferro has HB579, which would revise laws concerning paid sick leave to include issues concerning domestic violence and sexual offenses or stalking. A bill worthy of support. This is in House Business & Labor, Santella Baglivo the secretary – sbaglivo@mt.gov.

Rep. Sue Dickenson has a great bill that would help affordable housing issues tremendously – HB636 would provide a tax incentive to persons who own mobile home parks that sell them to certain entities – like housing authorities and tenant’s associations. How smart is that?! In House Taxation – Jennifer O’Loughlin the secretary – joloughlin@mt.gov.

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.

Another very supportable water issue bill – this one concerning water rights – is SB120, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Zinke. SB120 generally revises groundwater petition laws and allows for petitions from water rights holders. This one, too, in House Natural Resources, contact info above.

Sen. John Esp has SB119, which would require (rather than allow) a Medicaid buy-in for disabled workers. This passed 50-0 in the Senate. In House Human Services – Santella Baglivo the secretary, sbaglivo@mt.gov.

Still on Wednesday, but moving on to senate committees – HB188 resurfaces again – thankfully. This one has been blogged about a few times, and narrowly survived the House floor vote. This bill protects renters rights, and would allow for double damages for wrongful withholding of security deposits. It’s in Senate Judiciary – Pam Schindler the secretary – pschindler@mt.gov.

HB195 moves forward, also – blogged about here – and would allow for unsuccessful lottery applicants to be given preference in future lotteries. It’s now in Senate Business, Labor & Economic Affairs – Linda Keim the secretary, lkeim@mt.gov.

HB30, blogged about previously here, allows for youth election judges. Me likes. In Senate State Administration, Libby Goodwin the secretary, lgoodwin@mt.gov.

HB151 is in the Senate Public Health, Welfare & Safety, after having passed the House with a 89-7 vote. Blogged about here. This bill revises breast reconstruction mandates to comply with federal law. Joan Linkenbach is the secretary for this committee – jlinkenbach@mt.gov.

Well – that’s my roundup. There’s plenty more, as I mentioned above – make sure to check that whole list for Tuesday and Wednesday, and comment below on any that I’ve missed.

I’ll be checking other blogs that have been following this legislative stuff, and when I see anything, I’ll make sure that you 4&20 readers don’t miss them.

The Editor over at the Button Valley Bugle recently sent out a Group Hug to its readers – congratulating them on a job well done.

Gives yourselves a big pat on the back. In the first half of this year’s legislative session, Helena has received over 13,000 phone calls and more than 30,000 email messages for legislators. That is more than the total for the entire 2007 session. Latte’s on me at the Java Hut! Keep up the good work!

Is that amazing or what?!

Remember – if sending an email to the committee, be sure to mention both the bill number and that you would like for your comments to be forwarded to the entire committee. You can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462. Here is a list of membership for all House committees and all Senate committees.

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