Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Diverse issues discussed at video session

 


Diverse issues discussed at video session

Game warden pay, cell phone driving, dental health discussed

Tim Leeds

Two local legislators in Helena and some of their constituents touched on a number of issues during a legislative video conference in Havre Wednesday.

One which has been a hot button issue is how oil and gas will be treated for school funding.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has proposed taking all revenue that now goes to school districts where the oil and gas is extracted and putting it into a statewide fund to be distributed to school districts across the state.

Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, told Havre School Superintendent Andy Carlson that he couldn't say much about how a bill proposed by Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, that would use a different system has been amended.

"It changes almost weekly, " he said.

Havre Public School District Clerk Zella Witter said she believes the bill has been improving.

"It looks like they had made some good adjustments to it, " she said.

Hutton said Jones is very willing to listen to anyone who has suggestions.

"He is very humble about making sure what we do is right, " Hutton said.

Other issues the group discussed at the video conference, held at noon every Wednesday at Robins School Administration Building during the session, included:

• A proposal to increase pay for state game wardens. Havre resident Karen Sloan said she had been asked by a Hi-Line resident to bring up the topic, as many feel the game wardens have gone too long without a raise.

Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, said she would look into the bill, although in a time when the Legislature trying to make cuts to balance the budget, it could be difficult.

"Anyone asking for a pay raise at this point is treading on difficult waters, " she said.

• Proposals to impose penalties for using cellular phones while driving. Havre resident Val Murri asked what possibilities a bill preventing distracted driving from cell phones had of passing.

"I'm hoping it will pass. I think we need it, " Hansen said, adding that she has had some close calls herself

in Havre due to drivers distracted by cell phones. Hutton said he would have to look at the bill. Oftentimes the wording of a bill, no matter how good its intent, can create problems.

That is true of some bills now being considered on physician-assisted suicide, he added. They need to be amended before either party could support them, Hutton said.

• A proposal to allow dental hygienists to go to schools and apply sealant to children's teeth. Hutton told Sloan that he has heard too many arguments in opposition, including from representatives of the Bullhook Community Health Center Dental Clinic in Havre and from two dentists who volunteer to go to public schools and work on the children there.

The problem, he said, is that a sealant can cover problems that children need to have dealt with. Just applying a sealant is not enough, Hutton said.

Two local legislators in Helena and some of their constituents touched on a number of issues during a legislative video conference in Havre Wednesday.

One which has been a hot button issue is how oil and gas will be treated for school funding.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has proposed taking all revenue that now goes to school districts where the oil and gas is extracted and putting it into a statewide fund to be distributed to school districts across the state.

Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, told Havre School Superintendent Andy Carlson that he couldn't say much about how a bill proposed by Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, that would use a different system has been amended.

"It changes almost weekly, " he said.

Havre Public School District Clerk Zella Witter said she believes the bill has been improving.

"It looks like they had made some good adjustments to it, " she said.

Hutton said Jones is very willing to listen to anyone who has suggestions.

"He is very humble about making sure what we do is right, " Hutton said.

Other issues the group discussed at the video conference, held at noon every Wednesday at Robins School Administration Building during the session, included:

  • A proposal to increase pay for state game wardens. Havre resident Karen Sloan said she had been asked by a Hi-Line resident to bring up the topic, as many feel the game wardens have gone too long without a raise.

Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, said she would look into the bill, although in a time when the Legislature trying to make cuts to balance the budget, it could be difficult.

"Anyone asking for a pay raise at this point is treading on difficult waters, " she said.

  • Proposals to impose penalties for using cellular phones while driving. Havre resident Val Murri asked what possibilities a bill preventing distracted driving from cell phones had of passing.

"I'm hoping it will pass. I think we need it, " Hansen said, adding that she has had some close calls herself

in Havre due to drivers distracted by cell phones. Hutton said he would have to look at the bill. Oftentimes the wording of a bill, no matter how good its intent, can create problems.

That is true of some bills now being considered on physician-assisted suicide, he added. They need to be amended before either party could support them, Hutton said.

  • A proposal to allow dental hygienists to go to schools and apply sealant to children's teeth. Hutton told Sloan that he has heard too many arguments in opposition, including from representatives of the Bullhook Community Health Center Dental Clinic in Havre and from two dentists who volunteer to go to public schools and work on the children there.

The problem, he said, is that a sealant can cover problems that children need to have dealt with. Just applying a sealant is not enough, Hutton said.

 

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