UPDATE on MSHA in the 2021 Legislature

MSHA has had more success in the legislature this session and continues to follow other bills which concern healthcare professionals and the clients we serve. Here is a summary of bills we are currently following. Please watch for updates in the coming weeks.


UPDATE ON PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED BILLS:

The SLP/AuD Assistant bill (HB210) passed through both the House and the Senate and is scheduled to be signed by Governor Gianforte later this week. HB291, which requires coverage of amplification devices and services for kids with hearing loss passed the House and came out of Senate committee today with an 8-1 vote, so it is on to the Senate floor. Please consider contacting your Senator to urge support of this bill! Information about how to do that is located below.


OTHER BILLS MSHA IS FOLLOWING:

HB 233 is a bill that allows school funding for students receiving special education services up to their 21st birthday. This bill passed unanimously out of committee Tuesday and is also on its way to the Senate floor.


Two bills MSHA is following involve our transgender clients. These clients come to SLPs to help align their voices with their gender identity and this can greatly impact their quality of life, and even their safety (ASHA 2021). HB 112 would require transgendered kids to compete in school sports in the gender they were assigned at birth. MSHA supports healthy activity for all kids, including the transgendered persons SLPs work with on voice modulation. HB 427 prohibits health care professionals from providing or referring for transitional surgery for transgendered youth. We are opposing this bill to stand with our peers in the medical field because the bill has huge liability consequences for health care professionals with very vague language. Both of these bills could be on the Senate floor as early as Thursday, so if you would like to contact your Senator about either or both of these bills, please do so ASAP.


See information on other bills we are following below.


CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATOR:

The first preference is a direct call or email to your Senator. You can look up who your senator is at https://leg.mt.gov/map/. Once you know who your senator is, you can find their phone number and email here: https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-information/. A second option is to send a message through the legislative website, which you can do here: https://leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/. You can also call the switchboard and leave a message at 444-4800.


MSHA IS ALSO FOLLOWING:

1. HB 46: Revise Special Educaiton Funding (support)

2. HB 206: Revise education laws related to tuition and in-state treatment (support)

3. HB 328: Provide guidelines for assessing language development in deaf children (support)

4. HJ 19: Resolution designating May as ALS Awareness Month (support)

5. SB 236: Provide transparency in health care pricing (oppose)

6. SB 357:Generally revising requirements related to telehealth (monitor)

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