MT Legislature: Another Embarrassment

There will always be poor people in the land, so I command you to give freely to your neighbors and to the poor and needy in your land. – Deuteronomy 15:11(NCV)

House Bill 249 finally received a hearing in the Montana Legislature Friday. That’s the bill that would expand Medicaid to about 70,000 low-income Montanans. I support it.

According to a report from the Associated Press, around 200 people showed up to support the bill and about a dozen were against it. The hearing lasted for 6 ½ hours. Then they held a vote:

Ten Republicans voted for and seven Democrats against a motion in the House Human Services Committee to pass the measure to the House floor with a recommendation that representatives vote against it.

When bills are defeated along a party-line vote it usually means it’s more about politics than anything else. I’d like to see HB 249 get a vote in the full house.

It’s a little hypocritical for many on the right side to gulp from the federal trough when it comes to money for highways/bridges/airports, water projects, agricultural subsidies, payments in lieu of taxes, and education, but not want to take Federal dollars for this worthwhile program.

What’s even more hypocritical is that the 10 Republicans who voted against the bill probably all receive taxpayer-funded healthcare.

One way to ensure the people of Montana are better represented would be to make it easier for Independents to get elected to office in Montana. An Independent legislator could actually vote for what they feel is correct, instead of what their political party or their leadership or influential outside groups desire. This influence was highly evident during the hearing about HB 249 when 200 people supported the bill, a dozen did not support it, and it was defeated.

This legislative session has been embarrassing for Montana so far. We’ve been in the news about the dress code, yoga pants, and Agenda 21.

Now the cold-hearted GOP decided not to help the neediest in our state.

Shameful.

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