Archive for March 24th, 2011

by problembear

the following bill was tabled yesterday. a blast vote was attempted to get it to the floor. it failed 35-58. it was a very modest bill which would have helped our neighbors struggling with the ongoing effects of a very cruel and long recession.

the Montana republican party should hang it’s collective head in shame for this vote.

surely, most montanans would have wanted this legislature to spend this relatively small amount of money to at least make a gesture toward helping those coping with job loss and poverty so that we might at least make sure they and their children not go to bed hungry.

thanks to some oblivious mean-spirited people who have plenty to eat every day, this meannness won the day for now. let’s all hope someone in helena regains some sense of decency and reinstates this modest bill. otherwise, thanks to these so-called leaders, montana is not a state we can be proud of anymore.

HOUSE BILL NO. 221

INTRODUCED BY DICK BARRETT

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR THE EMERGENCY FOOD SYSTEM; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.”

WHEREAS, unemployment and increased housing, fuel, and food costs have made it more difficult for low-income Montanans to feed their families; and

WHEREAS, Montana’s emergency food assistance programs have seen first-hand the effect of these increasing costs, documenting 909,430 total client visits in 2009; and

WHEREAS, the number of client visits includes repeat visits, with an average of 8.3 repeat visits in 2009, representing 109,681 individual Montana households; and

WHEREAS, the number of repeat visits to food banks, soup kitchens, rescue missions, faith-based pantries, and other providers reflects a chronic need in the emergency food system.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

NEW SECTION.  Section 1.  Appropriation. (1) There is appropriated from the general fund to the department of public health and human services $1 million a year in each year of the biennium beginning July 1, 2011, to obtain and distribute food to Montanans and to strengthen the emergency food system by contracting with emergency food assistance programs that have experience distributing food on a statewide basis. The funds must be used as follows:

(a) $150,000 in each year of the biennium for operational and administrative costs to transport food to Montana communities; and

(b) $850,000 in each year of the biennium to purchase additional food for the emergency food system. Of this amount, $25,000 must be used each year to buy or process Montana food products.

(2) The department may not use the appropriation to cover any of the department’s administrative costs.

NEW SECTION.  Section 2.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2011.


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