MTPR

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

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.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

State lawmakers are considering a million dollar loan repayment program to try to retain foster child caseworkers. Turnover is about 30 percent a year in these high-stress positions in Montana’s overburdened foster care system.

Newly reported influenza cases in Montana as of Jan. 26, 2019.
Montana DPHHS

Flu season in Montana is getting worse. The state health department reports nearly 500 new cases were counted last week. That’s about 150 more cases than the previous week.

Montana Child and Family Services sign in Helena, MT.
Bree Zender

State health officials say Montana needs to continue a boost in funding to deal with the heavy caseload in the foster child system.

The increasing number of children entering Montana’s foster care system is stabilizing after a spike in recent years, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

An woman holds a sign during a picket of Western Montana Mental Health Center in Missoula, Dec. 18, 2017, following state budget cuts to mental health services.
Olga Kreimer

Montana lawmakers met today to start setting the budget for programs that help people with mental illness or drug and alcohol use disorders.

State health department officials say in recent years the administration has increased Montanans’ access to mental health care with the help of Medicaid expansion.

The House chamber at the Montana Legislature.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

On Wednesday, a county in Washington state declared a public health emergency because of an outbreak of measles, a vaccine-preventable infectious disease. Today, Montana’s Legislature heard two bills proposing more options to opt out of vaccines, and to let the public know about those options. 

On June 24, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.
(PD)

Businesses that care for the elderly, poor and disabled say they’re struggling to make ends meet on what the state pays for housing and assisted living services.

Much of that funding is via Medicaid, and on Thursday, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Proposed E-Cig Tax Draws Opposition

Jan 22, 2019
Senate Bill 96 proposes a 50-percent tax on vaping products.
iStock

HELENA — Opponents are lining up against a proposed 50-percent tax on vaping products.

Twelve people testified against Senate Bill 96 on Tuesday. They argued e-cigarettes have nicotine, but they don’t have tobacco and shouldn’t be taxed like tobacco. Robert Story, executive director of the Montana Taxpayers Association, said taxing vapes is just putting a sales tax onto a specific retail item.

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

This week at the Capitol: There's new momentum this legislative session to end Montana's statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases; Gov. Bullock remains vague about his political aspirations; the U.S. Supreme Court leaves Montana's campaign contribution limits in place; direct care workers may get a raise; and rallies to focus attention on missing and murdered Indigenous women coincide with possible legislative action. Learn more now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

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