Rep. Ricci begins new session in Helena

Guest Commentary

So here I am sitting in my rental house in Helena feeling the cold and snow. Debbie and I completed our move and are working to fit in to our rental. So the journey begins, I need to put aside my life in Laurel for four months and work to represent HD 55 and I am honored to do so. There is plenty going on and I am going to try and condense. On the policy-side of government we are hearing new bills every day. One topic that I am watching closely Is the Air Ambulance issue. I served on the interim committee and the sub group that studied this issue closely. Because of the large balance bills, families’ livelihoods are being put in jeopardy. The out-of-network air ambulances use very aggressive collection techniques, even inquiring about the equity in patients’ homes.
Work is still being done to try and make the state accountable to the city of Laurel for the State’s portion of the FEMA grant to replace the water intake. Every biennium the governor is given emergency funds for fire​, floods etc. The flooding event of 2011 was declared an emergency and therefore qualifies for FEMA funding and for the State match of 25 percent from its emergency fund. Rep Lenz HD 53 is bringing a bill which I am a cosponsor to finally get the funding the state is obligated to pay.
But the real story is the work being done to balance the budget. There are many reasons for our shortfall but the biggest reasons point to money mismanagement by the executive branch. When the legislature left in April of 2015 there was a $300 million ending fund balance and now it is $79 million. The governor‘s solution is to raise taxes, and lay off 27 Highway Patrol officers. This creates a huge burden not only on those laid off, but also on the new graduates coming out of the Academy this year. Republicans are focused on passing a responsible budget that doesn’t balance on the backs of hardworking Montanans.
As a State we can weather the storm, build our economy and increase revenues. I will update.

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Upcoming Events

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.

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