Week two showed a definite uptick in business as far as bill activity is concerned. At the end of the week 418 bills have been introduced with over 3000 placeholders still out of the system. Please understand not all 3000 of them will become bills let alone laws, but, many are there in case they might be needed later.
I have 10 bills currently in the process. My first two hearings were held this week in the Judiciary Committee. One has made it out so far with amendments on it. It passed on the floor for second reading and will be up for third reading tomorrow. If it passes I will have to present it to the Senate committee. If it passes that hurdle a Senator will pick it up and carry it on the Senate floor. If it passes there, barring any amendments, it goes on to the Governor for his consideration.
I have jokingly asked the chair of Judiciary if I could be an associate member of the committee because six of my bills will come there. My first bill was from the Office of Public Defender. It would allow the department to petition to rescind the requirement to represent a defendant if they did not fully fill out their financial paperwork. Without the paperwork the Department doesn’t know the qualifications of the applicant and may end up representing clients that do not qualify for the aid, resulting in spending of tax dollars that are not according to law.
My sub-committee is progressing nicely. We have heard from two departments and had many questions for them from the committee. The department of Livestock created the most public comment, including Miles City’s own Fred Wacker who came to testify in favor of the Department’s budget. It is always nice to see a familiar face in the audience and his testimony was a plus. If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop in and see how things work or at least get a small glimpse of what we do.
A couple of major things are being discussed in special committees. If they come to fruition I will give much more information. Just be aware they involve education and infrastructure. Both Eric Moore and I are involved so Eastern Montana is well represented.
If you want to get ahold of me, my email address is on the CONTACT PAGE – or call or text me at 951-6764. Your input is appreciated. It is an honor to represent you in the House of Representatives. Thank you.