The 2019 legislative session if officially wrapped up. It was a good year for some of AHA's priority issues but not everything ended the way we had hoped.
The Good News:
- Continued Medicaid expansion, HB 658, while not perfect, is a huge win for cardiovascular patients across Montana. Thank you all for your work calling your legislators, sending letters etc. Nearly 100,000 Montanans will get to keep their healthcare.
- We were able to defeat a major attack on the Clean Indoor Air Act, SB 179. This bill would have removed local boards of health ability to do extra provisions to the Clean Indoor Air act and roll back work they had already done. This would have resulted in the loss of some smoke-free/vape free places like parks and other community areas. We partnered with key groups across Montana including The League of Cities and Towns as well as American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to kill this detrimental bill.
hero_image_alt_text===Governor Bullock signing a bill into law. Two other lawmakers sitting at the table with him.
thumbnail_alt_text===Governor Bullock signing a bill into law. Two other lawmakers sitting at the table with him.
More Work to be Done:
- Stroke registry- We attempted to pass a bill requiring large hospitals to collect stroke data which we believe would have helped ensure the best care possible for stroke patients. Despite wide support, this bill was unfortunately tabled in committee. AHA plans to work on this in the near future through regulation.
- SNAP Incentives- We worked hard to get $200,000 appropriated for Double Snap Dollars Program at farmers markets. This program would have allowed Montanans on food assistance to buy more fruits and vegetables, helping to improve their health and support local farmers who grow the produce. This bill made it through 2 committees in the House, the full House, and then was killed in the Senate Public Health Committee. While it’s frustrating, we aren’t giving up and we will be back to work on this important issue next session.