Gov Signs Bill Increasing Montana Speed Limit

Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) signed a bill increasing Montana’s speed limit, according to Michael Wright with the UM Legislative News Service.  And he also, according to Rep. Mike Miller, vetoed yet another bill from one of the “moderate Republicans” who helped advance several of Bullock’s key initiatives…you find out who your friends are.  That, and more, is below.

Rep. Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) fudges facts in new op-ed on infrastructure; fails to point out her own failure to support infrastructure

From her piece:

The governor conceded one of his highest priorities, Early Edge for 4-year-olds, a program that demonstrably improves educational outcomes of Montana’s most at risk children. The result was SB 416. The agreement also assured the governor would sign House Speaker Austin Knudsen’s House Bill 402, which seeded $27 million for the impact counties beginning July 1, 2015, and diverted ongoing mineral revenues to that fund.

Except…that was never included.  And Gov Bullock’s “Early Edge” never had the edge, it was a non-starter. (And, oh yeah- MacDonald voted against infrastructure last session too) Gov. Bullock declared ‘winner’ after vetoing special needs students’ Education Savings Accounts

The front page headline of Montana’s largest newspaper announced “winners and losers” of the 2015 legislative session. 

Near the end of the list, school choice advocates are placed in an ill-defined limbo.  In spite of Bullock’s veto last Thursday of House Bill 322, the Gazette is undecided as to whether school choice won or lost.

HB 322 is titled “An act establishing the Montana Special Needs Education Savings Account Program.”  The bill would have allowed for what some call “backpack funding” for students identified as having special needs.

If you caught my post detailing the rise in emergency room visits *after* Obamacare, I got a follow up from our friend, and former state senator, Dave Wanzenreid (D-Missoula).  

Wanzenreid shared this article from and added this:

It is clear that e-r visits are on the rise in all states, including states that have not expanded Medicaid, like Florida. The correlation between that trend and to the ACA is not totally clear.

Here’s what stood out to me from the article:

Millions of Americans now have medical coverage, but because primary-care doctors are closing their offices and not accepting Medicare patients, even mild health crises are being pointed toward the ER, Mell said.

USA Today: Contrary to goals, ER visits rise under Obamacare

Experts cite many root causes. In addition to the nation’s long-standing shortage of primary care doctors — projected by the federal government to exceed 20,000 doctors by 2020 — some physicians won’t accept Medicaid because of its low reimbursement rates. That leaves many patients who can’t find a primary care doctor to turn to the ER — 56% of doctors in the ACEP poll reported increases in Medicaid patients.

Emergency room usage is bound to increase if there’s a shortage of primary care doctors who accept Medicaid patients and “no financial penalty or economic incentive” to move people away from ERs, says Avik Roy, a health care policy expert with the free market Manhattan Institute.

“It goes to the false promise of the ACA,” Roy says, that Medicaid recipients are “given a card that says they have health insurance, but they can’t have access to physicians.”


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