Legislative Update: Monday, Feb. 13

capitol-logoBill would allow food sales from private kitchens

By Cole Grant

A bill in the Montana Legislature would allow Montanans to sell food out of their own kitchens, either directly to customers or for community social events, like weddings or potlucks.

Rep. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, is carrying House Bill 352, or the Montana Local Food Choice Act.

“We cook food in our own kitchens every day for our family,” Hertz said. “We have our neighbors over. It’s being done, no one’s getting sick.”

Matt Kelley, a health officer with the Gallatin City-County Health Department, says the lack of regulation could put Montanans at greater risk for food-borne illness. The Montana Department of Health and Human Services also opposes the bill.

Wyoming passed a similar bill in 2015, called the Wyoming Food Freedom Act.

Last session, the Montana legislature passed a cottage food law, which allows wider sales of low risk foods like jams and baked goods made in personal kitchens. The hearing for House Bill 352 is Tuesday in the House Agriculture 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.

Foster kids could have say in process

By Freddy Monares

Lawmakers in Helena are considering a bill that would allow foster children over the age of 14 to be involved in the planning process about their living situation as they age out of foster care.

Helena resident Lina Havron shared a story of a foster child named Charlie during testimony on the bill Monday.

“One of the biggest fears through the whole process of her being taken out of her home, was that she didn’t have a voice,” Havron said.

Rep. Kimberly Dudik, D-Missoula, is the sponsor of House Bill 351, which would also encourage more extracurricular activities for foster children.

“The lack of the foster child’s participation in these activities can limit their education, emotional and developmental growth,” Dudik said.

Dudik said the bill updates state code in order to continue receiving federal funds from and comply with the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.

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.

 

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