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The 2013 Montana Legislative Session Summary

The 63nd Montana Legislature was a session dominated by ideological attacks and attempts at short-sighted cuts. Planned Parenthood fought an unprecedented number of anti-women, anti-family and out of touch attempts to strip Montana families of access to affordable reproductive healthcare.

We combated bills attacking our school districts and their right to implement health curricula, bills attacking doctor-patient confidentiality and privacy, bills attacking equality for women in insurance rating, budget amendments attacking access to critical reproductive healthcare,  proposals leaving vulnerable teens out in the cold, and proposals assaulting the fundamental right of women and families to make private medical decisions. Because both chambers of the Montana Legislature were dominated by extreme anti-choice majorities, the preponderance of these bills passed the House, Senate, and were sent to the Governor.

BUT BECAUSE OF CONSISTENT AND PASSIONATE COMMUNICATION FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU, we anticipate that the majority of these bills will be vetoed!

BECAUSE OF YOU, we were able to fight off the raid on our constitutional rights. Below is a summary of the nitty gritty; the catalog of bills we have fought, our analysis of where we now stand, and our call for future action. A summary of the budget and its effect on Montana women and families is forthcoming, but please read, and please stay engaged!

POSITIVE BILLS

HB 2 – Amendment, Restore Federal Family Planning Funding ($4.6 million) to the State Budget

Montana’s Title X program supports access to basic healthcare, especially for low income women and families. Montana family planning clinics provide services to almost 26,000 Montanans each year, with 85% qualifying for free or reduced fees. In 1999, the CDC recognized family planning as one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. Every $1.00 invested in family planning saves Montana taxpayers $4. down the road, and as a result, family planning funding must be a priority in the state’s budget (Montana DPHHS Family Planning Program Annual Report, 2012).

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/11

Amendment to restore family planning funding to the budget failed in House Appropriations committee

3/19

House considered HB on 3/19. No amendment to restore family planning funding was introduced. The budget passed the House unanimously with no amendments. HB 2 now moves to Senate Finance and Claims committee where another attempt to restore family planning funding will be made.

4/2

HB 2 tentatively scheduled for Senate Finance and Claims starting on 4/2, consideration will likely last most of the week

4/5

Amendment to reinstate Title x funds failed in Senate Finance committee

4/15

Amendment to restore Title X funds passed Senate 29-21, HB 2 passed Senate 30-21. Headed back to House for concurrence or rejection of amendments

4/19

Bill passed 3rd reading with Senate Amendments 59-41. Sent to enrolling

5/3

Bill amended by Governor, sent to enrolling

     
 
SB 107 – Revise deviate sexual conduct statutes, Sen. Facey (D-Missoula)

Strikes the unconstitutional and unenforceable section of statute criminalizing same-sex consensual sexual relations.

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

2/19

Bill passed Senate 38-11, transmitted to House

3/15

Hearing in House Judiciary committee. Bill not yet voted on by committee.

4/8

Bill blasted out of committee 60-38

4/9

Bill passed House 2nd reading 64-36

4/10

Bill passed House 3rd reading 64-35. Bill scheduled to be signed by Governor on 4/18 in Capitol Rotunda.

4/18

Bill signed by the Governor

     
 
SB 270 - Insurance Coverage of Telemedicine Services, Sen. Buttrey (R-Great Falls)

Requires insurance coverage of telemedicine services; relates to health care services; relates to insurance; relates to rule making; relates to social services.

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/28

Transmitted to the Governor

4/5

Bill signed by Governor

     
 
SB 326 - Revise sexual assault laws and parental rights, Sen Malek (D-Missoula)

This bill would automatically sever parental rights in cases of felony rape that results in a child

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

2/26

Bill passed by Senate 50-0, transmitted to House

3/13

Hearing House Judiciary, passed committee 20-0

3/19

Bill passed House 98-0, transmitted to Governor

4/4

Bill signed by Governor

     
 
SB 393 – Implement Medicaid expansion, Sen Kaufmann (D-Helena)

Medicaid expansion means 60,000 Montanans could gain access to health care. Expanding health care could create 14,000 jobs and boost state and local economies. Expanding Medicaid means dollars saved for Montana, particularly when it comes to family planning, where every dollar invested saves 4$ down the road.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/27

Hearing in Senate Public Health. Committee vote to Do Not Pass.

4/2

Bill failed on blast motion on Senate floor

     
 
SB 395 – Revise health care laws to expand Medicaid and improve health care delivery, Sen Wanzenreid (D-Missoula)

Governor’s version of Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion means 60,000 Montanans could gain access to health care. Expanding health care could create 14,000 jobs and boost state and local economies. Expanding Medicaid means dollars saved for Montana, particularly when it comes to family planning, where every dollar invested saves 4$ down the road.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/27

Hearing in Senate Public Health. Committee tabled bill

4/2

Bill blasted from committee. Passed 2nd Reading 26-24

4/4

Bill passed 3rd reading 26-24

4/15

Scheduled for hearing in House Human Services committee

4/16

Bill failed blast motion on House floor 49-51.

4/17

Bill tabled in Committee

     
 
HB 441 – Guarantee coverage for medically necessary mammograms, Rep. Neill (D-Livingston)

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

2/25

Tabled in House Human Services

2/26

House blast motion failed 42-56. Bill missed transmittal deadline

     
 
HB 458 – Implement Medicaid expansion, Rep. Noonan (D-Butte)

Medicaid expansion means 60,000 Montanans could gain access to health care. Expanding health care could create 14,000 jobs and boost state and local economies. Expanding Medicaid means dollars saved for Montana, particularly when it comes to family planning, where every dollar invested saves 4$ down the road.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/25

Hearing in House Human Services. Bill not yet voted on by committee.

3/27

Bill tabled in House Human Services committee.

     
 
HB 590 – Implement the Access Health Montana, Rep. Hunter (D-Helena)

Governor’s version of Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion means 60,000 Montanans could gain access to health care. Expanding health care could create 14,000 jobs and boost state and local economies. Expanding Medicaid means dollars saved for Montana, particularly when it comes to family planning, where every dollar invested saves 4$ down the road.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support

Timeline

3/25

Hearing in House Human Services. Bill not yet voted on by committee.

3/27

Bill tabled in House Human Services committee. Blast motion on House Floor failed 51-49.

4/2

Blast motion failed on House floor 52-44

     
 
HB 623 Generally revise laws related to health care and health insurance,Rep. Bangerter (R-Helena)

Originally created as a Republican, private insurance alternative to Medicaid Expansion, the bill was amendment on the Senate floor to include compromise language between Democrats and moderate Republicans. As amended, the bill is no longer a pure Medicaid expansion proposal, but allowed Montana to apply for a Medicaid waiver to allow using federal Medicaid money to buy insurance through the exchange on the private market, and would require recipients to have a job or be actively seeking employment, to qualify for the benefits, data to be collected to measure effectiveness of the program, and it would be a 3-year pilot. These amendments were voted into the bill after all other Medicaid Expansion bills had died.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Support, with amendments

Timeline

4/16

Amendment to bill passed Senate 26-24

4/17

Bill passed Senate as amended 27-22

4/19

Bill was referred to House Human Services committee, where it would not pass committee vote. Motion was made on House floor to appeal the referral to Human Services committee. The appeal failed 50-50

4/19

Motion to reconsider previous appeal failed 48-52

     
 
 NEGATIVE/NEUTRAL BILLS

HB 104 - An act creating criminal offenses involving death to an ‘unborn child,’ Rep. Regier (R-Kalispell)

Amends criminal statutes related to homicide to include acts against an ‘unborn child.’ These acts would be separate and distinct from acts of violence committed against pregnant women, and would create tension with women’s rights to privacy as established in the Montana Constitution.

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Neutral, but monitoring

Timeline

1/24

Bill passed by House 59-40, transmitted to Senate

3/25

Hearing Senate Judiciary

3/27

Bill amended in Senate Judiciary to neutralize anti-choice language. With amendments, PPMT no longer opposes bill

4/4

Bill passed Senate 44-6

4/9

Bill passed House 96-4

4/23

Bill became law without Governor’s signature

     
 
HB 239 - Define scope/boundaries of human sexuality education in K-12 Rep. Smith (R-Billings)

Severely limits the choices of local school districts when it comes to providing sex education curriculum and would eliminate the ability of school boards and local communities to provide a well-rounded education for all students. HB 239 would also ban Planned Parenthood educators from schools.

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

2/7

Bill passed by House 56-41, transmitted to Senate

3/6

Hearing Senate Public Health committee, committee has not yet voted on bill

4/2

Bill passed Senate Public Health committee

4/8

Bill Passed Senate 2nd Reading 28-22

4/13

Bill passed House 56-41 with Senate amendment (minor amendment)

4/25

Bill vetoed by Governor

     
 
HB 310 - Prohibit lawsuits for wrongful birth and wrongful life, Rep. Smith (R-Billings)

This bill erodes a woman’s ability to make truly informed decisions about her pregnancy and birthing options. By allowing doctors to withhold critical information about the health and genetic conditions of a pregnancy, HB 310 prohibits pregnant women and families from holding their health care provider accountable for the care and information they receive during a pregnancy (Bill was amended in committee and PPMT no longer opposes. PPMT will monitor the bill through the remainder of the process)

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Neutral, but monitoring

Timeline

2/26

Bill passed by House 60-38 with PP amendment, transmitted to Senate

3/11

Hearing Senate Public Health committee, passed by committee

4/8

Bill passed Senate 38-12

4/11

Bill passed House 59-39 with Senate Amendment

4/26

Bill became law without Governor’s signature

     
 
HB 391 - Parental consent for abortion, Rep. Bennett (R-Libby)

HB 391 would require all minors under the age of 18 obtain consent from a parent to have an abortion. HB 391 offers a cumbersome judicial bypass option that would likely fail to protect teens seeking relief from the courts, and puts teens that are already vulnerable and have difficult home lives at even more risk. By mandating government intrusion into private medical decisions made by Montana families, HB 391 puts Montana teens and families at risk.

Bill status

Alive

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

2/27

Bill passed by House 57-41, transmitted to Senate

3/28

Hearing Senate Judiciary committee

4/9

Bill passed Senate 30-20

4/25

Bill became law without Governor’s signature, will now be challenged by PPMT in court

     
 
HB 423 – Referendum to define scope/boundaries of human sexuality education in K-12 Rep. Smith (R-Billings)

Severely limits the choices of local school districts when it comes to providing sex education curriculum and would eliminate the ability of school boards and local communities to provide a well-rounded education for all students. HB 423 would also ban Planned Parenthood educators from schools.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

3/27

Hearing House Education Committee, bill passed by committee 11-7

4/3

Bill passed 2nd reading on House floor 56-44

4/4

Bill passed 3rd reading on House 50-49, transmitted to Senate.

4/9

Bill passed Senate Public Health Welfare committee 4-3

4/17

Bill FAILED Senate Floor 25-25

     
 
HB 521 – Referendum parental consent for abortion, Rep. Bennett (R-Libby)

HB 521 would require all minors under the age of 18 obtain consent from a parent to have an abortion. HB 391 offers a cumbersome judicial bypass option that would likely fail to protect teens seeking relief from the courts, and puts teens that are already vulnerable and have difficult home lives at even more risk. By mandating government intrusion into private medical decisions made by Montana families, HB 521 puts Montana teens and families at risk.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

4/3

Hearing House Judiciary, bill passed House Judiciary

4/5

Bill passed House 3rd reading 52-48, transferred to Senate

4/9

Bill passed Senate Judiciary committee 7-5

4/17

Bill passed Senate Floor 2nd Reading 29-21.

4/25

Bill died upon passage of HB 391

     
 
HB 600 – Allow gender to be considered in certain insurance coverage, Rep. Warburton (R-Helena)

Would allow insurance companies to discriminate in pricing based on gender. This would skyrocket health insurance costs for women, who are more frequent users of health insurance, and would allow insurance companies to require additional riders for maternity coverage.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

3/22

Hearing House Business and Labor

3/27

Bill tabled in committee

     

 HB 619 - Constitutional referendum to specify no right to abortion or its public funding, Rep. Warburton (R-Havre)

A Constitutional Amendment to state in the Montana Constitution that there is no right to abortion or public funding for abortion was heard in the House Judiciary Committee. The bill violates the requirements of how to even DRAFT a constitutional amendment. The substance of the amendment would deny women the right to privacy, due process, and equal protection.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

4/3

Hearing House Judiciary, bill passed House Judiciary

4/4

Bill passed 3rd reading 53-47

4/11

Bill passed Senate Judiciary committee 7-5

4/16

Bill passed Senate Floor on 2nd reading, 31-19

4/17

Bill passed Senate Floor 3rd reading 30-20. Bill FAILS to pass Legislature. Needed 2/3 majority of both houses.

     
 
HB 638 – Referendum for an act creating criminal offenses involving death to an ‘unborn child,’ Rep. Regier (R-Kalispell)

Amends criminal statutes related to homicide to include acts against an ‘unborn child.’ These acts would be separate and distinct from acts of violence committed against pregnant women, and would create tension with women’s rights to privacy as established in the Montana Constitution.

Bill status

Dead

PPAMT Position

Oppose

Timeline

4/3

Bill withdrawn from consideration

WHERE WE GO FROM HERE…

Without question, the 2013 Legislative Session was one of the most difficult we have faced. The attacks on Planned Parenthood at the national level, the ideological agenda of the far right, and the loss of many pro-choice seats in the legislature all merged into a perfect storm of reactionary politics and a majority with enough votes to trample on the rights and programs that protect Montana women and families. Fortunately, throughout the session, we had the safety net of a pro-choice Governor who supports our constitution and supports access to reproductive healthcare. In short, while the attacks were numerous and vicious, in the end, we were able to prevent the majority of the anti-choice proposals from becoming law.

Also without question, we know the fight continues immediately from here. Ultimately, the actions of these legislators were unfair, they were dirty politics as usual. And we cannot let this stand. The battle for our rights and our future starts now. And we are asking you to stay engaged, stay informed, and help us take back our state.

Over the next year and a half, you will have countless opportunities to phonebank, write letters to the editor, door-knock, honk and wave, attend community forums, and donate your time and energy to the fight for Montana women and families! Please watch for opportunities to volunteer in your community, and thank you for all of your hard work and commitment to reproductive rights and healthcare access for EVERY MONTANAN!


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