Legislative Update: Tuesday, Feb. 7

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Mike Lang

Bill would crack down on child-support scofflaws

By Cole Grant

Under Senate Bill 172, people who owe child support in Montana could be barred from buying a hunting, fishing or trapping license.

Sen. Mike Lang, R-Malta, is carrying the bill.

“I had a guy that came up to me and he said ‘I don’t like your bill. I’m not paying my child support now because my wife wouldn’t let me see the children,'” Lang said. “Okay, so I said, ‘Well, she was bad, now you’re creating another bad, who’s really losing here? The kids are losing.’”

Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, said she had concerns with the bill, especially if hunting rights are stripped away from people who provide meat for their families, people who hunt for sustenance rather than sport.

“I’m really concerned that we’re actually not helping families, we’re actually going to be making it worse for some families,” she said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 172 Tuesday morning and did not immediately vote on the bill.

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.

 

Volunteer health care target of legislation

By Freddy Monares

Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would create a volunteer health service program to provide free health care services to uninsured and underinsured Montanans.

Senate Bill 83 would allow volunteer healthcare providers to receive education credits through the program and protect them from lawsuits stemming from treatment.

Sen. Roger Webb, R-Billings, says the bill is simply people helping people.

“But for the most part, it provides immunity for folks that are doing the right thing,” Webb said.

The Montana Board of Dentistry voted unanimously to oppose the bill at a January 19 meeting, recorded and archived on its website.

Dennis Clark, executive officer of the board, said at the meeting last month, “It’s redundant and, if anything, it authorizes boards like this to recognize continuing education credits.”

The  House Human Services Committee will hear the bill Wednesday.

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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