Friday, May 14, 2021

Mitchell updates on session

| April 14, 2021 8:35 AM

In Helena, there are two things on everyone’s mind: the budget and implementation of I-190 which legalized recreational marijuana.

While no budget is perfect, there were meaningful changes in priorities after 16 years of Democrat control in the governor’s office. For example, we were able to eliminate funding for “free” healthcare for foreign refugees and stop millions of dollars in double-dipping within the Department of Administration’s budget request. The budget also added additional funding to the Legislative Audit Division which reviews state spending and program performance.

There have been three major recreational marijuana bills to come before the House. In the nearly 150-page House Bill 701, the legislature addressed both existing medical marijuana businesses and future recreational marijuana businesses. I supported amendments which addressed background checks and inspections, streamlined medical treatment for those suffering from cancer and epilepsy, and stops writing blank checks to hospitals because they refuse to publicly list their prices and provide transparency.

Last week I carried two successful bills on the House Floor that are now heading to the Governor’s desk. The first bill prohibits Local Governments from implementing a Carbon Tax which passed the house 70-30.

The second bill I carried states that laws regarding game birds may not be more restrictive than comparable federal regulations which passed the house 98-2. Both of these bills will be signed into law in the coming weeks.

A bill I sponsored early on in the session to allow an injured game animal to be dispatched by a citizen if ran over is now in the works of potentially being revived in the Senate. The Hungry Horse News reported that it was “all but dead” but that is far from the truth.

Lastly, Monday April 12th it was great to see and visit with former Representative and Senator Dee Brown on the House Floor who traveled from the Flathead to check out the session.

It’s been an honor serving as your voice in Helena this session, and I’m looking forward to the final weeks of the 67th Session.

Braxton Mitchell

House District 3