MTPR

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Montana Senate Endorses Moving Oversight Of Youth Programs

Mar 12, 2019
Montana State Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill to give the state health department oversight of private residential programs for troubled children.

Tuesday's 34-15 vote comes after a series by the Missoulian that found multiple problems with programs for children dealing with emotional and behavioral problems.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A roughly $10 billion state budget passed out of the Montana House Appropriations Committee Monday afternoon. Lawmakers are pushing forward with a smaller state spending plan than the one offered by Gov. Steve Bullock back in November.

Nearly 23 percent of Montana high school students use electronic cigarette type products, according to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
(PD)

Montana high schoolers are using electronic cigarettes more than their peers across the country. The state health department highlighted e-cigarette risks today as the Bullock administration and health care advocates push for a new tax on e-cigarettes.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state health department faces permanent job cuts; A sales tax proposal reappears at the Capitol; Sexual harassment allegations among lawmakers lead to a new anti-harassment policy; And with time running short, Gov. Bullock remains coy about his 2020 election plans.

State Budget Director Tom Livers speaks during a House Appropriations hearing on March 7, 2019.  Gov. Steve Bullock's administration opposes some of the Legislature's proposed eliminations in vacant state job positions.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration is objecting to the Legislature’s initial plan to cut funding for around 230 open job positions across Montana government in the next state budget.

The state’s $4.3 billion general fund budget is first up for debate as lawmakers arrive back in Helena for the second half of the 2019 legislative session.

Montana Behavioral Health Alliance Executive Director Mary Windecker testifies at a state health department listening session in Helena August 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s health department was dealt a major blow in late 2017, when the agency was forced to cut almost $50 million to help balance the state budget.

Mary Windecker of the Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana, an advocacy group representing about 30 addiction and mental health care providers, says that was, “A huge shock to both the mental health and substance use systems in the state of Montana.”

Percentage of public and private school students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade with a religious exemption to required vaccines, Montana 2017–2018 academic year.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

State lawmakers took up several bills dealing with vaccinations against preventable diseases Monday. The bills would expand immunization exemptions in daycares and foster homes in Montana.

The same day, a fifth suspected case of measles was reported in Oregon, related to an outbreak of dozens of measles cases in Washington state.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state admits it needs to do a lot better job monitoring for-profit wilderness schools for troubled teens. Economics hold little sway in the effort to abolish Montana's death penalty. Money is being restored to the depleted Health Department budget. Another Montana campaign finance reform law is upheld. And lawmakers may have found a way to bridge the infrastructure impasse.

Montana's 2019 biennium budget by function.
Legislative Fiscal Division

Health care programs devastated following the state’s budget collapse over the last two years are getting pieced back together.

State lawmakers Wednesday gave initial approval for a new plan for public health spending in Montana, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the state’s total budget.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / MTPR

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers heard several bills seeking to make changes to the state's child protection system, including reducing turnover of caseworkers, setting higher standards for removing children from their homes and increasing accountability.

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