On economic recovery

April 27, 2009

Thank you for your interest in the 61st legislative session and the work we’ve been doing to help our hometown.

You and I know the economy is a serious concern. Statewide, the unemployment rate recently increased to 6%. It’s important to remember there are real families behind these numbers. When someone loses their job they often lose their health insurance, their pension and their sense of security.

That’s why I have been closely monitoring the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA is an investment in our economy that will create jobs, cut taxes on 97% of Montanans and improve our infrastructure. Economists agree, this is the best way jumpstart the economy and create the good-paying jobs we need to get out of the recession.

The funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being appropriated through House Bill 645. HB 645 contains funding for school facility upgrades, highway repairs, and health and human services programs. In Yellowstone County, infrastructure funds will go to Clapper Flat and Vandaveer Road repairs and for Courthouse repairs. Some of the projects covered in Billings include $1,676,045 for reconstruction of Alkali Creek Road; $1,300,000 for a building addition to the Oil and Gas Office; $243,775 for heating system improvements to the Academic Center and McMullen Hall at MSU-Billings and $542,275 for additional facility repairs at the campus.

In addition, we will see ARRA funding for K-12 schools, Forest Service projects and US Highway repairs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HB 645) passed the House of Representatives last week and is currently in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. Please feel free to contact me your ideas and concerns as the Legislative Session continues.

Sincerely, Rep. Margie MacDonald

HB 407 Protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse becomes law

April 23, 2009

As the primary sponsor for House Bill 407, I’m very pleased to report that it has been signed into law.

Advancements in technology have allowed young people to experience and learn things in ways that previous generations could not even imagine. However, these developments have also exposed young people to many dangers, and this is why a bill is being put forth that aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. Although current law provides a certain level of protection to Montana’s children in regards to online predators, it’s simply not enough. With so many means of online communication, children are very vulnerable to contact by the wrong people.

House Bill 407 provides law enforcement with more tools to go after online predators, and makes it mandatory for law enforcement to report any images, movies, or other materials relating to their cases to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, thereby increasing the database and helping to bring more awareness to a growing problem.

 

Top row, left to right: Rep. Jill Cohenour, Rep. J.P. Pomnichowski, Rep.

Top row, left to right: Rep. Jill Cohenour, Rep. J.P. Pomnichowski, Rep. Edith McClafferty. Front row, left to right: Mike Batista, Division of Criminal Investigation, Rep. Margaret MacDonald, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Attorney General Steve Bullock

Senate Bill 88 clarify school speed zones becomes law

April 22, 2009

I was proud to carry SB 88 on the House Floor.  This bill helps make the areas around our children’s schools much safer.  

Senate Bill 88 signed into law

Left to right: Sen. Mitch Tropila, Rep. Margaret MacDonald, Mr. George Littlefield, Great Falls, Governor Brian Schweitzer

Stream Access bill becomes law.

April 17, 2009

 In House District 54, at a footbridge in Riverfront Park with youngsters fishing nearby, Governor Schweitzer signed House Bill 190, the bridge-access bill, into law on April 14, 2009. 

sb88

From left to right: Representative Margie MacDonald, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Jag, Senator Gary Branae, Representative Wanda Grinde, and Representative Kendall Van Dyk.

 

Billings Gazette Opinion: Perseverance pays off for teen’s public-safety bill

April 16, 2009

[Note from Representative MacDonald: I was proud to carry Senate Bill 268 on the Floor of the House, where it was passed. Here’s to a big win for Montanans and safer highways.]

At 17, Luke Anderson knows more about how the Legislature operates than most Montanans do. The Billings teen has worked through four consecutive regular sessions to pass a bill that would help spare other people from the type of highway crash that left him with serious injuries. Luke, a home-schooled high school junior and a part-time Montana State University Billings student, finally saw his legislation pass both chambers this session. Read more

Back Home in Billings!

We are citizen lawmakers in Montana which means that I am home in Billings, for the most part, except for periodic interim committee meetings in Helena. You can call me at 652-6625 and leave a message. I like to hear how laws that we pass make a difference or impact you. I also like to hear your ideas on how to make our communities stronger and better. I will be attending community meetings and events to keep my ear to the ground for the needs of our neighborhoods and city. Please come up and say "Hello" when you see me around town.

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