Week 6 Legislative Update:

February 8th - 12th 

Photo of Montana Capitol building.


Next week the Section B appropriations subcommittee will be holding a hearing on the Early Childhood & Family Support Division (ECFSD) on Thursday, February 11, at 8:00.  The next day, Friday, February 12 at 8:00 will be the hearing on the budget of the Public Health & Safety Division. 

Click here for the full schedule. Be sure to check it often as we have seen the schedule change with little notice.


General Bills

Monday, February 8th:

At 3:00, the House Human Services Committee will hear HB 275, "Establish uses of Medicaid waiver funds." Click here to read this bill. The bill requires money appropriated for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waiver (HCBS) Slots to be used by the Department to create waiver slots and address workforce shortages or other barriers to creating the number of waiver slots authorized by the legislature.  Funds not used in this way may not be transferred to another department division or program. The money must be used for the program for which it was appropriated or be reverted to the fund from which it was appropriated. The sponsor is Rep. Mary Caferro and the hearing will be in room 152.

Click here for the contact information for the House Human Services Committee.

Also at 3:00, the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee will hear SB 109, “Revise laws related to gifted and talented education.” Click here to read this bill. This would require schools to identify gifted and talented students and provide programs for them. Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Salomon, it will be heard in room 422.

Click here for the contact information for the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee.

Tuesday, February 9th:

At 8:30 the House Business and Labor Committee will hear HB 282 “Revise labor laws relating to the employment of minors.” Click here to read this bill. This bill would allow student employees of 16 or older to perform work functions under certain circumstances and revises exemptions in agriculture to allow a student learner to perform regular work functions. This is sponsored by Rep. Fred Anderson and will be heard in room 172.

The Committee will also hear HB 283 “Revise workers' compensation laws relating to student interns.” Click here to read this bill. This would provide for workers’ compensation coverage of student interns while working with a private entity and learning working skills. This is also sponsored by Rep. Fred Anderson and will be heard in room 172.  

Click here for the contact information for the House Business and Labor Committee. 

Wednesday, February 10th:

At 3:00, the House Human Services Committee will hear HB 276, "Put peer support specialists on the board of behavioral health." Click here to read this bill. This is sponsored by Rep. Mary Caferro and will be heard in room 152.

Also at 3:00, the Committee will hear HB 296, "Establish grant program and other uses of DD general fund appropriation." Click here to read this bill.  This bill creates a grant program to which providers of community developmental disabilities services can apply to cover: 

(a) acquisition, renovation, or maintenance of community-based facilities; 

(b) staff training that exceeds the minimum training levels established by the department;

(c) staff retention and recruitment efforts, including but not limited to lump-sum payments based on: 

         (i) acceptance of employment; 

         (ii) longevity in employment; or   

         (iii) the complexity of the care provided;

(d) payment for medical equipment needed by a person with developmental disabilities but not

covered by Medicaid; and 

(e) other purposes involving community-based facilities or community-based services as established by the department by rule.
This bill is also sponsored by Rep. Mary Caferro and will be heard in room 152.   

Click here for the contact information for the House Human Services Committee.

Thursday, February 11

At 3:00, the House Human Services Committee will hear HB 39, “Provide for continued interim review of child protective services matters.” Click here to read this bill. This is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Lenz and will be heard in room 152.

Click here for the contact information for the House Human Services Committee.


To listen to audio/video streaming of committee hearings, click here.


Goings on this week:

Two of the interim committee bills that we supported regarding waiver services passed the Senate this week:  SB 33, “Require 30-day notice before termination of participation in HCBS waiver program” and SB 43, ”Require administrative rulemaking for substantive changes to HCBS programs.”

In addition, SB 31, “Require consideration of less restrictive options in guardianship proceedings” was heard and passed unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee this week. The Committee also heard and passed HJR4,“Study criminal proceedings and commitment of people with mental illness.”

We were happy that SB 15, “Revise election laws related to accessibility for disabled electors” has been passed by the Senate. This was the result of work in the interim with the State Administration and Veterans Affairs Committee and the bill makes various changes to ensure that non-federal elections are accessible.

Sadly HB 176, ”Close late voter registration on Friday before the election,” was taken off the table and amended to close registration the Monday before election day. It was heard and passed on 2nd reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.


If you have accessibility needs and would like to receive the newsletter in another format, please contact Disability Rights Montana at advocate@disabilityrightsmt.org or call 800-245-4743.


How to Contact Legislators During the Session

Online Messaging

Use the online messaging form to message a legislator (click button below). This is one of the quickest and most effective ways of contacting your legislator. 

Phone Call

Regular office hours during the session are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to adjournment on Saturdays. Callers may leave messages for legislators or acquire general legislative information by calling the Information Desk at (406) 444-4800. Callers may leave messages for up to 5 individual legislators or 1 legislative committee per call.

Not sure who represents you in the Montana Legislature? Click Here 

Stay Informed

We will be posting an electronic newsletter each Friday during the 2021 legislative session. We will give you information about upcoming budget and general bill hearings, developments for other bills we are following and action alerts when these bills are coming up for votes.  


Paid Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities:

Click here to learn more.


Do You Have the Assistive Technology You Need to Participate in the 2021 Legislative Session?

Do you have what you need to share your story or voice support of bills that impact the lives of Montanans with disabilities? Borrow equipment from MonTECH for 30-60 days so you'll be prepared to write, call, or testify.

MonTECH houses a wide range of equipment to help you get connected. Borrow iPads, adapted keyboards, hands-free mice, laptops, wearable speakers, headphones, webcams, voice amplifiers, or devices that allow hands-free video calls with motion tracking. Spotty or nonexistent internet? If you’re in range of a cellular tower, borrow a Jetpack Mobile Hotspot and connect up to 15 devices! MonTECH provides free shipping and return shipping anywhere in Montana, and serves any Montanan who has a disability (including learning disabilities). The program is easy to use and does not require medical verification of a disability to borrow this type of equipment. Call or write if you have questions or need help accessing our program: montech@mso.umt.edu, 1-877-243-5511. We look forward to helping ensure you are heard during the 2021 legislative session!


Protection & Advocacy Service Training

We are more than happy to provide training and workshops to others. We welcome nonprofits, clients, workplaces, and more, to reach out to us if you would like for us to present about our services, and how we can provide assistance. Call 406-449-2344 or email Advocate@DisabilityRightsMT.org.


"Advocating for justice is our individual and collective responsibility."

Executive Director,
Disability Rights Montana
Bernie Franks-Ongoy



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