Local lawmakers saw some success — and some failure — by today’s transmittal deadline at the Montana Legislature, and will have the chance to talk about the session at a special meeting in Havre starting at 6 tonight.
Today was the last day to transmit general bills from one house to the other.
If a bill not dealing with appropriations or revenue — or a resolution or propoal for an interim study — was not passed by this morning, generally it is dead for the session.
The legislators, who are now taking a short mid-season break, have been invited to a meeting, sponsored by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce and Bear Paw Development Corp., starting at 6 p.m. at the Hill County Electric Hospitality Room on U.S. Highway 2 west of the Holiday Village Mall outside of Havre.
Sen. Windy Boy
Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, saw his Senate Bill 272, creating an Indian Children Welfare Act requiring children from Montana tribes be placed in culturally appropriate foster care if possible, pass 49-1, and his Senate Bill 342 creating a pilot Montana Indian language preservation program, pass 44-6. Windy Boy and Sen. Greg Jergeson, D-Chinook, both voted for both of those bills Wednesday.
Both voted for Windy Boy’s Senate Bill 298, requiring the state to consider adverse childhood experiences when working on prevention and treatment programs. It passed 43-7 Both senators voted for Windy Boy’s Senate Joint Resolution 10, requesting a study on the efficiency and overlapping of state agencies that oversee education, which passed 43-7.
Windy Boy’s Senate Joint Resolution 9 on the Idle No More movement in Canada passed from committee after it was amended. It is scheduled for a second reading March 5.
Windy Boy’s Senate Bill 244, which would allow tribes to negotiate with the state to allow gambling including roulette, craps, blackjack and slot machines on reservations, was tabled in committee. A vote to blast it to the floor of the Senate for a vote failed 15-35, with Windy Boy voting to blast the bill and Jergeson voting against.
Jergeson saw several of his bills pass with he and Windy Boy voting yes on each: Senate Bill 26 revising renewable portfolio standards; Senate Bill 48, establishing a regional water system rate process; Senate Bill 106 revising definitions of renewable resources; Senate Bill 132, revising dates for filling a county elected office; and Senate Bill 352, changing the county population required for certification of walk-out surgical centers, which was sponsored by Sen. Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville.
The two senators split in a vote that killed Senate Bill 307, Jergeson’s bill that would remove a utility’s ability to list how much of a customer’s charge was due to state or local taxes on the utility. It died 23-27, with Windy Boy voting against it.
Jergeson’s Senate Bill 89, requiring the state create a public list of tax-exempt organizations was tabled. His Senate Bill 25, increasing the state reimbursement rate to school districts for pupil transportation, is still tabled, as is his Senate Bill 59, removing some restrictions on funding for Healthy Kids Montana and Medicaid.
Rep. Clarena Brockie, D-Harlem, requested House Bill 361, Gov. Steve Bullock’s $400 property tax rebate, which was sponsored by House Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena.
That bill has been stalled in committee, with the Republican majority advocating a property tax reduction in its place. A vote to blast it out of committee Tuesday failed, with Brockie voting in favor and Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, voting against and Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Chinook, excused.
Brockie’s House Bill 286, allowing a tuition waiver for members of tribes recognized by the state or federal government, as well as for people with at least one-quarter Indian blood as already allowed, passed with Brockie and Hansen voting yes and Warburton excused.
Her House Bill 568, requiring counties to provide information to tribal government on programs or services that could impact the tribe, was tabled.
Hansen’s House Bill 146, preventing the state from charging annual fees until a landfill actually starts operation, passed with Brockie and Hansen voting yes and Warburton excused.
Hansen requested House Bill 310, prohibiting lawsuits for wrongful birth, sponsored by Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings, which passed with Brockie voting no, Hansen yes and Warburton excused.
Both Hansen and Brockie voted for House Bill 189, revising hail insurance maximums, which passed 86-13 with Warburton excused. Hansen requested that bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Dennis Lenz, R-Billings.
Her House Bill 387, providing an inflationary increase for K-12 public schools, has not yet been heard at Hansen’s request and is tabled in committee.
Two of her other bills also are tabled — House Bill 520 asking for a constitutional referendum changing terms of state representatives from two to four years and state senators from four to six years, and House Bill 537 splitting legislative sessions with the first week in January then the Legislature reconvening in November.
Warburton saw two bills pass — one designating memorial highways for Blaine County Undersheriff Patrick J. Pyette and Blaine County Deputy Sheriff Joshua “Josh” Raven Chief Rutherford, both of whom died in the line of duty, and another requiring the state to get approval from the county commission if it intends to relocate bison to that county.
The memorial highway bill, House Bill 289, passed 94-4 with Brockie and Hansen voting yes and Warburton excused. The bison bill House Bill 396, passed 61-37 with Brockie voting no, Hansen yes and Warburton excused.
Warburton’s House Bill 324, allowing trapper’s licenses be sold to out-of-state residents if their home state reciprocated, failed on its second reading with Brockie voting no and Warburton and Hansen voting yes.
Her House Bill 298, requiring an interim study of Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ relations with landowners, has not yet been voted on by committee.
The same is true of House Bill 524, which Warburton requested and was sponsored by Rep. Amanda Curtis, D-Butte, which would revise speed requirements for vehicles on the approach of an emergency vehicle.