Montana News – July 12, 2017

Sadler nominated for reappointment

David Michael Sandler has been nominated by the Judicial Nomination Commission for reappointment as workers’ compensation judge. Gov. Steve Bullock has 30 days to make the appointment, which will be for a six-year term subject to Senate confirmation at the next regular or special legislative session.


Tester calls for transparency for insurance costs

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is calling on the state’s health insurance companies for clarity as they prepare to set health insurance costs for 2018.

In a letter to the three health insurance companies participating in the Marketplace, Tester urged Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, PacificSource, and Montana Health CO-OP to provide transparency regarding health insurance premiums and answer specific questions about what impact the secret attempt to rewrite America’s health care system will have on Montanans who buy their insurance on the Marketplace.

All three insurance companies are required to set their premiums in the coming weeks, but the process faces uncertainty as the Trump Administration continues to play politics with critical cost-sharing payments, which help bring health care costs down for thousands of Montanans.

“It is important to me that Montanans have clear information about decisions that affect their pocketbooks,” Tester wrote.  “Unfortunately, some lawmakers are creating unnecessary uncertainty by pushing a secretive proposal that has left many in the dark.  This uncertainty has reportedly caused your businesses and others across the country to propose to increase Americans’ premium rates for 2018.”


Daines announces community health center funding

U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced $11,822,536 in funding for Community Health Centers in Montana to provide improved continuity of care, mobile services to rural locations and increased access to affordable care.

“Montana’s Community Health Centers provide reliable access to affordable healthcare close to home,” Daines stated. “I’m glad that Montanans from Hardin to Havre to Helena will continue to have quality care.”

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded grants to five centers in Billings, Hardin, Havre, Helena, and Missoula.

The funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Evacuations ordered in Landusky

The Phillips County Sheriff has issued a mandatory evacuation order for the town of Landusky as a result of the spreading July Fire. The fire, as of July 6, spans 2,100 acres and is listed as 25 percent contained. The fire was transferred to a Type 2 Incident Management Team on Thursday, July 6.


Daines calls for cancellation of August recess

U.S. Senator Steve Daines asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the Senate’s scheduled August state work period if meaningful progress has not been made on the following five priorities: fixing health care, funding the government, dealing with the debt ceiling, passing a budget resolution and improving the tax code.

Daines outlined his request in a letter sent Leader McConnell, which included a countdown of the remaining scheduled work days until the end of the fiscal year, September 30.

“Our current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year,” Daines wrote. “This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention. Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work.”

“Delivering meaningful results was never assumed to be easy, but the millions of Americans who placed their confidence in our leadership expect our full and best effort,” concluded Daines.


UM law students place third at international competition 

University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law students Frans Andersson and Kirsi Luther recently took third place at the International Negotiation Competition held in Oslo, Norway.

The competition, which was hosted by the University of Oslo, invited 32 teams from 28 countries worldwide to negotiate simulated oil drilling agreements between various entities. The third round included a unique four-way multilateral scenario.