Legislative Update: Monday, Jan. 30

Corbally

Freddy Monares/UM Community News Service

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies representative Sarah Corbally spoke in favor of House Bill 303.

Commission would track child abuses cases

By Freddy Monares

In the wake of reports of an increase in child abuse and neglect cases, lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would create a commission to review trends and patterns to share with policymakers.

House Bill 303 also aims to educate the public and service providers about child abuse and neglect. The commission would provide analysis of information to further improve prevention.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies representative Sarah Corbally says the bill echoes federal efforts.

“It needs to be a proactive approach to prevent them, not this reactive approach to find new and greater punishments for these types of cases,” Corbally said.

Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings. is the sponsor of the bill.

“Altogether we’re talking about a fairly large commission, but the point is to be multidisciplinary with a lot of different viewpoints being represented,” Kelker said.

The commission would be made up of 17 members.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

 

Stipends for top teachers proposed

By Cole Grant

Montana teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards receive a one-time $3,000 stipend.

Senate Bill 115 would make that payment annual. It would also double the stipend if the teacher worked in a high poverty level school, or one that was affected by a critical shortage of high-quality educators.

Mary Moe, a former Democratic senator from Great Falls, said the incentive would be a good way to get qualified teachers in the classroom.

“One, we know it’s an indicator of quality, and two, if we want to attract teachers, salary is a big way to do that,” she said.

According to the bill’s fiscal note, 87 teachers in Montana are nationally board certified, and 20 of them would be eligible for the doubled stipend.

Moe was carrying SB 115 until she resigned last Friday. Now Sen. Frederick Moore, R-Miles City, is carrying the bill.

The Senate Finance and Claims Committee will hear the bill Tuesday afternoon.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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