Legislative Update: Thursday, Feb. 23

Jill Cohenour

Jill Cohenour

Peace officer bill tabled

By Cole Grant

]The Senate Judiciary Committee tabled a bill Thursday that would put assault of a former peace officer on par with assault of a current peace officer.

Joe Cohenour, husband of the sponsor of Senate Bill 265, Sen. Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena, said he’d been threatened while he was a police officer.

“One individual I had arrested seven different times for seven different crimes, and put him into jail, which subsequently put him into prison, and he just told me one day you know, one day you’re going to retire, you’re not going to be a cop anymore. And I’ll see you then.”

S.K. Rossi with the Montana ACLU said Senate Bill 265 is unnecessary, because the laws are already in place.

“To be perfectly honest, working for the ACLU I get threatened all the time,” Rossi said. “And I don’t find it  appropriate to sit out here and ask to …  have a special offer on assault that would be illegal regardless of who I worked for.”

The bill was tabled on a unanimous vote.

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.

 

Small Medicaid change proposed

By Freddy Monares

Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would add one line to the state’s current Medicaid program, requiring the program to cover services provided by licensed marriage and family therapists.

Rep. Adam Rosendale, R-Billings, is the sponsor of the bill.

“In a lot of our rural communities it’s one of the ways that people have access without having to travel significantly far distances to our bigger cities,” Rosendale said.

According to the fiscal note attached to House Bill 453 the addition of the services would cost the state a little less than $200,000 for the first fiscal year. But Rosendale says it will probably be less.

“The actual charge doesn’t even break $10,000, I think. And it might be significantly lower than that,” he said.

The bill would also need approval from the federal program in order to receive matching funds for services. Friday will be the first time the House Human Services Committee hears testimony on the bill.

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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