Speaker Regier Prioritizes Protecting the Next Generation of Montanans
There is a reason Montana is the Last Best Place in the country. Over the last decade, the Montana Republican Party has made tremendous progress in advancing our priority of protecting the future generation. This continues to be a priority for House Republicans as we advance SB 99 this legislative session. SB 99, a bill that prevents gender transition surgery until our children become adults is an important step in safeguarding our youth. Within the last few years, the medical industry has taken a new approach which has pushed a far-left agenda to treat minors with gender dysphoria. It is crystal clear that healthcare professionals have an incentive to promote sex change surgeries for minors. A “bottom surgery” costs between $25,000 and $100,000, the hormones prescribed to transgender individuals cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. By promoting invasive, drastic, and elective surgery the medical industry can sell a lifetime of medication and other interventions.
In addition to the expensive procedure, data shows there have been multiple negative effects as well as suicide rates increased among individuals that get a sex change surgery. Suicide is the fourth-largest cause of death amount 15-to 19-year-old globally each year. Within that age group, a recent study shows that nearly 34,000 transgender teens in the United States have shown alarming high rates of suicide attempts, depression and anxiety across liberal and conservative regions.
As Republicans in Montana, we must prevent these elective procedures for our children’s physical and mental health. Montana’s youth should not be able to make life altering decisions before they are even eligible to vote or legally get a tattoo. We heard Montanans who identify as transgender express remorse about participating in a life-changing body alteration. Montana Republicans have seen other states and countries recognize the threat that gender affirmation surgery has posed on adolescents. In total, there are 8 states that have passed policies restricting sex change surgeries for minors as well. We have even seen progressive European counties such as England, Sweden and Finland block child transgender surgeries. I hardly ever agree with liberal European countries, but in this case, it’s time for Montana to follow suit and pass SB 99, which is compassionate and protective of our youth.
By Matt Regier
Taking Care of Injured And Killed Officers And Their Families
In recent years talk of defunding the police has been popular in other states, but our Montana values run contrary to that line of thinking. We believe in supporting those who put their lives on the line to protect citizens every day. To that end I have recently introduced Senate Bill 294. SB 294 establishes the End of Watch Trust.
The purpose of this End of Watch Trust is to make sure that we are taking care of police officers and their families if something awful should happen and an officer is killed or suffers a catastrophic injury in the line of duty. It is our responsibility that we are protecting those who protect us, and SB 294 is a very clear way to do that.
The Trust will provide a benefit that last for five years from the date of the event. The benefit will be a monthly stipend during that five-year period. The purpose of this is to help support officers who may not be able to provide their family with an income after the injury, and presumably with added medical expenses.
The bill also helps to enroll officers’ spouses and dependents in COBRA continuing coverage. The officer’s employer will cover the premiums for the first four months following the injury at which point the officer or family will be responsible for covering the premiums. After that the officer and or his family will be responsible for the payments. This is important because in addition to making sure these families are taken care of financially, they also need to have their medical needs met.
In Montana we back the blue and it’s time for us to codify that support. SB 294 and the End of Watch Trust are a very important way for us to do that. Police officers are risking their lives for us every time they put on the uniform. It’s critical that we remove any doubt or fear from their minds that they and their families will be taken care of if the worst should happen, and that’s what SB 294 is all about.
By Senator Barry Usher
Safety Of Bozeman Bikers
Driving on the congested streets of Bozeman is an exhausting task. The added danger of running over a biker makes it all too important to pay attention while driving. On many intersections (like the intersection on Garfield and 19th Street) you must merge into the bike lane to turn right onto the next street. This makes city biking — and driving — a dangerous endeavor. Biking at night is a treacherous experience if you do not wear the appropriate equipment, i.e. a “lamp on the front emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front”, reflective wear, and a lamp facing the rear. While biking day or night in Bozeman you seem like an invisible pedestrian within a growing city of around 55,000 people (as of the census 2021).
Passing the Senate Bill No. 137 will support the safety of bikers within the city of Bozeman. The bill proposes the right of way for bikers to be protected and the enforcement of protective equipment during night biking. With thousands of cars adding to the growing congestion of Bozeman’s streets it’s more important now than ever before to protect the safety of the community of bikers in Bozeman..
By Keelin Monaghan