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April 17, 2019     Sidney Herald
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SIDNEY HERALD State SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2019‘ I III Medicaid expansion, infrastructure focus for second half of session BY SNAYIEE RAGAR UM LEGISIATIVE NEWS SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM posed constitutional amendments that proved As they start the sec- ond half of the session, program’s eligibility is working. The expansion When expansion passed in 2015, the bill was carried by Republi— can Rep. Ed Buttrey from The governor’s office says bonding, or borrow- ing money, is the way to go. Republicans have HELENA ~— Montana’s Great Falls. It revealed fought this method for Legislature has passed a rift in the Republican years, the halfway mark in the party and passed on a Moore said Republican 90day biennial session tight margin. hesitatiOn comes from and some of the most Buttrey is carrying the uncertainty-of bond» controversial debates, the Republican—backed ing, and that the process like Medicaid expansion expansion bill again to allocate infrastructure and infrastructure fund- and although a draft of funding has been too ing, are yet to come. the bill has not yet been arbitrary The Miles City The halfway mark released, MTN News representative intro also signifies a deadline reported Buttrey’s bill duced a bill to address for policy bills to be will include work and that problem. transmitted from one “community engage- House Bill 553 would chamber to another. If men ” requirements for implement a structure transmission fails before recipients of Medicaid that provides clear the 46th day, the bills are expansion. The require- guidelines for how the dead. More than 240 bills ments aim to regulate state pays for public have been killed either how many enrollees are works projects, while a by missing the deadline eligible for the program, different bill will include or by lawmakers voting and removing those who the actual funding. them down. are able—bodied but don’t Moore’s bill passed the Gov. Steve Bullock work from the program. House 99-0 just before has signed 56 bills into Rep. Eric Moore, R- the halfway break. law so far: That includes Miles City, said this bill Lawmakers like Moore House Bill 159, which has the best chance to and Sesso are hopeful implemented legally pass between the two HB 553 will help the required inflationary because it “reserves actual bonding bill pass adjustments to public resources for those who more easily. Moore said school funding, and need it most.” the funding legislation House Bill 20, which Moore, who said he will likely be introduced aims to streamline miss- strongly opposed Med- before the end of the ing person reports. icaid expansion four month, and that his bill Sen. Fred Thomas, years ago, said Montan- will give the Legislature R-Stevensville, said in ans need consistency in a clear target to hit. a press conference he’s optimistic the Legisla- “I don’t think it’s good Billings, said he thinks ture will be able to close policy to put 100,000 his party understands up shop before May 1. He people on a program and there is a place for bond- said he’s pleased with then take it away four ing in state funding, and the'legislation that’s years later,” Moore said. that HB 553 will help moved through the body ‘Sen. Jon Sesso, D- keep debate on track. “This is one of the Butte, said he felt the “What we’re really more innovative sessions 2015 Medicaid expansion trying to do is take the I think we’ve' seen in a debate centered around emotion out of it,” Smith. long time,” Thomas said. getting enrollees to said. In particular, Thomas work, and that the cur- Emotions have run, pointed to two bills that sums RAGAR l UM assume NEWS SERVth rent program has been high in the past when passed the Senate. ' successful on that front. lawmakers debate proj- Senate 311133 is car. Son. Jon Sesso, D-Bune, says he’s ready to look at all proposals to renew Medicaid The 2015 legislation ects other than roads ried by Sen. Steve Fitz- expansion, but that the current program is working well and should be continued. containedthe HELP- and bridges, like funding patrick, R-Great Falls, Link program, which for renovations to MSU’s and would establish offers Voluntary WOI‘k— Romney Hall or the regulations for pharma- particularly controver— lawmakers are new gear- based on income alone. ‘ force development and Historical Society’s mu— cy benefit managers, or sial. Rep. Derek Skees, ing up to tackle two of The federal govern— is administered by the scum. Generally, these third-party contractors R-Kalispell, introduced the biggest issues of this ment’s match rate for Montana Department - projects get lumped who help broker deals House Bill 269 which Legislature: Medicaid expansion is slowly of Labor and Industry. together in one bill. This between pharmacies would have limited the expansion and fixing and decreasing it was a That department and the time, they’ll be split up. and health insurers. The number of taxes the maintaining the state’s 100 percent match rate Montana Department of Both Sesso and Thom- bill-would put a limit state can implement infrastructure. in 20152016 and will be Revenue released a joint as said the Historical on how much they can M to only twoat a. time. ‘ 90 percent in 2020 and study in January that Society will be included Charge for “comments”: " " ‘Itésplit the‘Rep'ublican DUELING MEDICAID beyond. This means the ‘found 7 out of 10 Medic- in a separate upcoming and would prohibitgtl'rpsej mercy and failed 38-62 to EXPANSION Bills state willneed to pay 1 ~ aid expansionrecipients, bill to address eeded i copayments from cijsft'i‘fig' " ‘ pas'slthe House. The debate over more into the program ‘ are working. " ‘ " renovations d museums more than the prescripi Rep. Greg DeVries, Re Medicaid expansion is going forward. For this reason, Sesso around the state. It has tion itself. , , . Jefferson City, is spon— scheduled for March 16 Both Democrats and said he is “bullish” in not been introduced yet, Senate Bill 217 would soring House Bill 302. It with public hearings for Republicans are pro- support for Caferro’s As the Legislature cut state income taxes on would define personhood dueling bills that would posing bills to renew bill. continues to race to the social security benefits in Montana’s Constitu- expand the subsidized the program. Medicaid finish line, the urgency for individuals with tion as beginning at healthcare program. If expansion first passed INFRASTRUCTURE to pass bills will inten~ adjusted gross incomes conception. The House lawmakers. can’t decide in 2015 with bipartisan FUNDING sify. For Sesso, the plan with a base amount of endorsed the legislation on a solution, the expan- support. Nearly 100,000 Democratic Gov. Steve is simple. $30,000, and is sponsored 56-43 and it will move sion' of the program will Montanans are now Bullock has been push- “Let’s extend‘what by Sen. David Howard, -‘ forward to the Senate. expire in June. , enrolled in the program, ing for a comprehensive we’re doing well.” ; R-Park City. Thomas Because HB 302 is a Medicaid is a federal- which is greater than infrastructure package , ‘ said it would benefit constitutional amend— state partnership that expected. to fund public works Shaylee Roger is a reporter Montana’s seniors. It ment, it could bypass offers health insurance _ Rep. Mary Caferro, projects across the state with the UM Legislative News would also decrease state the governor’s desk, and to low-income adults and D-Helena, is carrying since he took office, but Service, a partnership of the revenues from taxes. his veto power, and be families, and disabled House Bill 425, which has yet to see one pass. University of Montana School of While some bills have put to Montana voters. individuals. Require- would end the program’s However, lawmakers ‘ Journalism, the Montana News- passed by relatively However, it will need ments are different in expiration date and add seem to bemaking head- paper Association, the Montana large margins, others 100 votes from the entire each state, but gener— some fees for hospitals way this session. Broadcasters Association and the have ended on tight Legislature to get on ally, Medicaid is only that benefit from Med- The most contentious Greater Montana Foundation. votes and sparked fiery the ballot, so the Senate offered to those who are icaid payments. The part of the infrastruc‘ Shoylee can be reached or shay- debates among lawmak- would need 44 yes votes low-income and have a eligibility requirements ,ture debate between the lee.rogor@umontono.edu. ers. out of 50 members to‘ disability or condition and health care coverage parties is how the state Two legislators pro- move it forward. that prevents them from would stay the same. will pay for the projects. government. Sen. Gary Smith, R- Illlontana sees record numbers of airplane passengers growth. More come a strategic disadvantage ships to provide revenue systems and modern air markets in the country NU m 0 nient flights also im- relative to other remote guarantees to develop traffic control technolo- when trying to negoti— prove access and lower airports competing for new travel markets. gies. Another incentive ate with airlines,” said 9 n n costs for Montanans new service. The added bonus for includes a $.02 rebate ap- Dax Schieffer, Voices p who travel for leisure or Several ingredients these arrangements can plied to the $.04 aviation of Montana Tourism - 0 business;- contribute to attracting be targeted marketing fuel tax that helps when Director: “A downturn 3 2 /0 Remarkably, this new airlines and enoour- campaigns in those new airlines consider market in capacity of seats in . growth in air access is aging existing airlines markets that supports opportunities for limited and out of Montana In taking place: in one of to add routes to new the first need. , resources throughout would not only make _ y the most remote areas in cities and increasing Expenses are a major the nation. Without travel less convenient, it the contiguous United seats per plane. The first factor for airlines consid- these incentives, other could also increase costs Montana has added States. Geographically, component starts with eration and Montana air- states may become more for Montanans to fly as more than 500,000 en- Montana is the farthest effective promotions to ports have kept airline attractive than Montana less competition would planements in five years area from major urban put Montana at the top costs low to incentivize for new service. predictably raise fares. with a record 2.2 million markets..This distance of desirable destinations airlines to maintain and “While Montana has It was recently reported passengers in 2018. This increases costs in fuel to to visit for potential trav- consider new service. a lot of momentum in that when American growth supports nearly travel longer and adds elers. Second, airlines Airports can keep growing air access, it’s Airlines entered the every sector of Mon— time to flights limiting like to minimize .risk airline costs low with important to recognize Missoula market, travel- tana’s economy With efficiency for airlines and are attracted when on time arrivals and success is not by acci: ers saved $2.8 million in tourism, gas and 011, new to maximize trips in a communities can form departures with ad- dent and we are always fares in the third quarter business development day per plane, creating public/ private partner equate gate and luggage competing with other of 2018.” and technology company . BATTLE: CORP FROM PAGE I of these farmers.” Mitchell explained that if the farms aren’t test hypotheses related to the ability to retain pallid stur- geon in a location suitable to test hypotheses related to the ability to affect, pallid sturgeon drift in the Mis- ts SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENTS THROUGH MARCH 26 . Cl YOU nee 0 HOW Avenue, Omaha, Neb., 68102. on the Missouri River. souri River. The objectives of the Corps study includethe following: as successful, then the taxable valuations would drop. The result The comment period has been extended and will. run v The report notes that a - Investigate the capacity number of potential resourc- of Fort Peck flow releases could be higher mill lev. through March 26. - Investigate the capacity ies for Rich1and County You can email comments of Fort Peck flow releases to test hypotheses related es could be affected among residents, to cenWo-planning@usace. to test hypotheses related to to the ability to aggregate them hydropower and some “It comes back. to the , ‘ armymil. ' the ability to attract pallid pallid sturgeon resultingin flood risk. Flow targets could only way to develop the, Or you can mail them them sturgeon migration up the spawning-in the Missouri also be set as low as 3,000’cfs affecting, irrigation, water quality/temperature, envi- ronmental justice and river River. to.U.S. Army Corps of Engi— Missouri River. wealth is to develop the neers, Omaha-District, Attn: landx’Mitcheu said. "If. - - Investigate the capacity I - Investigatethe Capacity you can’t develop the CEN W O—PM~AC-Fort Peck land, you can’t-get the EIS comments, 1616 Capitol of Fort Peck flow releases to of Fort Peek flowreleases processes. wealth.” ' ‘ . .