The Montana State Legislature is in Session Through March or April of 2017
Here are important bills and priority issues of concern for older adults and those who care for them. To learn more, click on the bill number:
House Bill 2 – Governor’s Budget: Currently, there are nearly $84 million in cuts to the Senior and Long Term Care (SLTC) Budget. Also, the Lifespan Respite program was cut. Sponsor: Rep. Nancy Balance. Status: The Aging Services and Waiver Testimonies were heard on 1/18/2017. MAS Advocacy Alerts have been sent to encourage advocates to contact members of the Appropriations Committee. No cuts were restored in the House, but the Senate Finance Committee restored $42 million. Passed the House and Senate. Waiting for the Governor's action.
House Bill 17 – Increases the Medicaid home and community based waiver slots and assisted living reimbursement rates. HB 17 improves the Big Sky Medicaid program, providing home and community-based services (HCBS) and increases the reimbursement to assisted living facilities, helping people age in place in their own homes, or in a nearby assisted living facility. Sponsor: Rep. Ron Ehli. Status: Passed House 2nd Reading (100-0). It was then re-referred to House Appropriations and passed out as amended on 2/23/2017. Passed the House on 3/8/2017 (99-0) and the Senate on 4/19/2017 (46-4). Waiting for the Governor's action.
House Bill 24 – Provides protections to vulnerable individuals from financial exploitation; no appropriation required. Sponsor: Rep. Ron Ehli. Status: Passed the House and Senate, signed by the Governor.
House Bill 35 – Creates a grant program for training volunteer respite providers. HB 35 provides grants to local groups to train and recruit respite caregivers for those affected by Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. Sponsor: Rep. Gordon Pierson. Status: Heard in House Human Services Committee on 2/6/2017. Tabled in Committee on 2/17/17. This Bill is dead and will not move forward.
House Bill 36 – Fund Alzheimer’s related services provided by AAAs: HB 36 provides money to the MT Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to provide information, assistance, public awareness and direct in-home services for family caregivers of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Sponsor: Rep. Gordon Pierson. Status: Heard in House Human Services Committee on 2/6/2017. Tabled in Committee on 2/17/17. This Bill is dead and will not move forward.
House Bill 70 – Strengthen guardianship services in MT and create WINGS group. HB 70 would create a permanent oversight committee to train and track adult guardians in the court system. Sponsor: Rep. Jessica Karjala. Status: Heard in House Judiciary on 1/16/2017 and then tabled in Committee. The bill was resurrected in Committee, but with NO funding on 2/20/2017. Funding restored on the House floor. Passed the House on 2/25/17 (70-27) and the Senate (40-10) on 4/6/17. Waiting for the Governor's signature.
House Bill 163 – Caregiver Act: Requires hospitals to track the name of caregivers upon patient admission, notify the caregiver if the patient is transferred to another facility or sent home, and give the caregiver instructions for care after discharge. Sponsor: Rep. Geraldine Custer. Passed the House and Senate, signed by the Governor.
you can help this week:
1. Many programs that impact older adults are among proposed cuts. Call and leave a message: “Do not cut funding to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)” which is the federal agency that supports the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs like Foster Grandparents.
2. Reach out and email your legislators to voice your support of the important bills listed above.
3. Subscribe to our Advocacy Alerts to stay informed
President Donald Trump: (202) 456-1414
Sen. Steve Daines: Missoula office, (406) 549-8198. Click here for a list of statewide offices.
Sen. Jon Tester: Missoula office, (406) 728-3003. Click here for a list of statewide offices.
Thank you for your interest in advocating for Montana’s older adults and their caregivers!