Bill would let lawmakers pack heat in Capitol
By Cole Grant
HELENA — House Bill 280 would allow lawmakers to carry handguns on state property, including in the Capitol during the Legislature.
Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, said he would support allowing anyone who qualifies for open and concealed carry to have guns on state property, but that getting support for that broad a bill would be unlikely.
“The first thing that we need to do is start with who is the most vulnerable,” he said. “And in the Capitol, I think legislators are.”
Don Jones of MEA-MFT, a labor union representing public employees, said the bill could make the Capitol unwelcoming to visitors.
“We shouldn’t do anything to discourage and create some sort of fear with the rest of the public who want to come here and talk to you about issues that they know you might have disagreements with them,” he said.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 18 state Capitols allow some form of legal firearm carry.
HB 280 was heard Thursday morning in the House Judiciary Committee.
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.
Doctor-selection for injured workers at issue
By Freddy Monares
Montana Lawmakers will be considering a bill that would reinstate the ability of people injured in worker’s compensation cases to pick their own doctors.
House Bill 229 would reverse a 2011 law, which gave the responsibility of finding a healthcare provider to insurance companies and employers.
Rep. Andrea Olsen, D-Missoula, is the sponsor of the bill.
“To be able to say what doctor and what treatment I can receive is not in the best interest of myself,” she said. “It’s not in the best interest of anyone who is attempting to heal from an injury or an illness.”
She says the whole goal of medical treatment “is to afford a person the ability to get well, to recover from an injury.” Olsen said.
The House Business and Labor committee will hear the bill Friday.
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.