Rep. Ricci reports on progress

Guest Commentary
By: 
Rep. Vince Ricci
Montana House District 55

Greetings on Sunday, March 12, 2017, the first day of daylight savings time. The question is, do we keep Montana on daylight savings time. I would have to vote to keep us on daylight savings time.
Here are some of the other bills that will be worked on this week.
House Bill 381, Sponsored by Rep Dennis Lenz R-Billings will allow school districts to create policies and procedures specific to their communities to address suicide prevention.
The bill to raise gas tax has been heard in the Transportation Committee but has yet to be voted on in that committee to bring it to the House floor for debate. I still have not decided how it will affect Montanans to vote on this, I need more time to study the bill and see if other sources of funding become​ available.
Now to talk about Senior and Long-term Care.
In the last biennium $638 million was appropriated to be spent on elderly services. The administration only spent slightly over $597 million then unilaterally redirected $40.7 million from Senior and Long Term Care to various different areas.
The funding that was redirected could have been used to increase provider rates and reduce the seniors on waiting lists for nursing homes. Now, $597 million is the forecast spending during this biennium while $571 million has been appropriated in this budget. That leaves a shortfall of $26 million. There is a $17 million federal match fund available if the State provides an additional $9.1 million. That match could come from the $10 million that was moved from the Medicaid overpayments to help fill the gap in the highway funding. After all Medicaid money should be used for Medicaid. This solution would mean no cuts from seniors’ service would be needed.
House Bill 2, the State’s major funding bill comes to the House floor this week.
So Monday March 13 is Legislative day 51, which leaves us 39 days to complete our work.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, April 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, April 30, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, May 1, 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. 
Monday, May 6, 2019
• Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)

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