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  • Margie MacDonald

ACT NOW for Montana's Long-Term Care

Legislative Bulletin #6: Governor's long-term care budget; Landlord/Tenant bills

Voting on Montana’s Long Term Care Crisis begins Tuesday, February 14.

The Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will begin executive action to adopt and amend the Governor’s budget.

Montana's long term care facilities are in a deep crisis. Only the Legislature can fix it.

  • The actual daily cost of providing care in a skilled nursing facility in Montana is approximately $379.

  • The $2.7 million provider rate study, commissioned by the Dept. of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and authorized by the legislature, used “multipliers” to reduce that number to a benchmark $278/day. Read the rate study here.

  • Skilled nursing facilities currently only receive $212/day (or less).

  • Due to the gaping shortfall, many facilities are closing their doors, sending their residents hundreds of miles down the road, distancing them from loved ones, caregivers, and their community.

  • Nearly a dozen Montana nursing homes closed in the past year.

The Governor's proposed budget falls far short of both the actual costs of caring for our elders and the benchmark.

The Legislature can fix this by boosting the long-term care provider rate to at least $278, if not $378, to keep the doors open and our communities and loved ones close.

Montana seniors deserve to live in dignity.

Tell your lawmakers to keep Montana's long-term care skilled nursing facilities open. Ask them to vote to fully fund, at a minimum, the benchmark set by the study, or to fully fund the actual costs of providing this vital community service. If the legislature does not step up, we will see many more closures, and our seniors and their families will suffer.

Click here to send your message to Montana lawmakers.


Landlords 2 - Tenants 0

Two bills that tip the balance against renters in favor of landlords passed the House this week.

Lady Justice:

Rep. Steve Galloway (R-Great Falls), a longtime landlord, sponsored both HB 282 and HB 283.

  • HB 282 drastically shortens the timelines that protect renters from being evicted on short notice, and timelines to seek redress in justice court.

  • HB 283 exempts landlords from local ordinances. This is a legislative overreach that undercuts local governments’ capacity to provide for public health and safety.

Current Montana landlord-tenant laws were negotiated several decades back, with Legal Services (which often represents low-income renters), consumer advocates and landlord organizations ALL at the table.

  • The current laws were carefully negotiated to balance the needs and rights of both landlords and tenants.

  • Unilateral, one-sided changes brought by the Montana Landlords Association will upset this balance at the expense of renters.

  • Rep. Dave Fern (D-Whitefish) noted that while landlords have associations and lobbyists, many of his constituents are service workers and renters who don’t have their own lobbyists and must rely on their elected representatives to look out for them. Read more in this article.

The stakes:

A Columbia Falls veteran with disabilities lost his rental when his landlord bumped the cost from $1,000/ month, utilities included, to $1,800/month without utilities. He is now homeless. Read the story here.

  • As housing markets are heating up across Montana, the story is not unusual.

  • Many older Montanans downsize out of a larger home and into apartments or duplexes to simplify their lives and accommodate their changing needs and abilities, making them more vulnerable to unfair landlord tenant legislation.

HB 282 passed 62-37 on 3rd reading. See how your Representative voted here.

HB 283 passed 63-34 on 3rd reading. See how your Representative voted here.

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