Legislative Committee Adds Economic Development, Milk Fees to Feb. 4-5 Meeting Topics - news.mt.gov

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Legislative Committee Adds Economic Development, Milk Fees to Feb. 4-5 Meeting Topics

Thursday, January 28, 2016/Categories: Legislative Branch/Tags: Economic Affairs Interim Committee


HELENA – The legislative interim committee assigned to monitor state agencies dealing with a broad range of business activities will continue its study of air ambulances and add economic development and a review of proposed fees on dairies and manufacturers of cheese and ice cream to its Feb. 4-5 meeting agenda.

The Economic Affairs Interim Committee will meet starting at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 in Room 137 of the State Capitol. The public is welcome to attend.

The air ambulance study will focus at this meeting on how air ambulances decide whether to be in an insurance network, to offer memberships, and in general how they interact with insurance companies on billing. Insurance company representatives will provide their side of that relationship. Earlier meetings addressed how hospitals interact with air ambulances and various costs that contribute to air ambulance bills.

Other topics on Thursday, Feb. 4, include reviews of:

  • the State Auditor’s Office, including actions taken to phase out the Insure Montana program;
  • the Department of Livestock’s budget, including meeting the new chief executive officer of that department, Mike Honeycutt. This portion of the agenda also will include discussion about the committee’s concerns with a proposed milk assessment that would hike costs on Montana dairies and impose new fees on processors of cheese and ice cream.
  • broadband expansion in Montana, in particular how the communities of Bozeman and Missoula have handled broadband expansion as an economic development activity. This topic also will feature information from representatives of school technology offices.
  • collaborative activities between the Montana University System and the state Department of Labor and Industry, looking at efforts to increase interaction between employers and the curriculum at Montana colleges

On Feb. 5 the committee will start at 8 a.m. and hear about the state’s economic development activities from the state’s chief business officer, John Rogers. This is a followup to a presentation last year and will include more specifics on state grants made available through the Growth through Agriculture program, the Big Sky Economic Development program, workforce training grants, and incumbent worker grants.

An update on the Department of Agriculture’s activities will include an overview of one of Montana’s major industries plus a review of the Board of Hail Insurance.

The public will have an opportunity to comment and is advised that any comment made will be archived as part of the public record of the committee. Members of the public interested in listening in on the Internet or watching via TVMT local television channels may visit the legislative home page for more information.

Members of the committee are: Presiding Officer Ryan Lynch, D-Butte, Vice Presiding Officer Gordon Vance, R-Bozeman, and senators Tom Facey, D-Missoula, Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek, and Lea Whitford, D-Cut Bank, plus representatives Mike Lang, R-Malta, Nate McConnell, D-Missoula, and Vince Ricci, R-Laurel.

For more information contact staff for the committee, Pat Murdo, at 406-444-3594, or pmurdo@mt.gov.


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