GOP cuts wings of MT public health councils, officials

GOP cuts wings of MT public health councils, officials

Hinkle sponsored House Bill 257, which was sent to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk for his signature Wednesday. It includes an amendatory veto added by the governor, so he’s expected to sign it. “These (mandates) put businesses between a rock and a hard place,” said Rep. Jedediah Hinkle, R-Belgrade. “They have customers who want to come into the business. They may or may not be wearing a mask, they may or may not be vaccinated. And it’s not the duty of the business to turn away those people.” Mike Dennison-MTN News

Gallatin County Public Health Officer Matt Kelley. Mike Dennison-MTN News

But a sponsor of one of the bills told MTN News that businesses were tired of being made to enforce mandates like wearing face-masks, or other restrictions, that antagonized customers. “It’s a little bit like having legislation and shaking your finger at people for driving while under the influence, and then telling local law enforcement that they’re not allowed to do anything about it,” says Gallatin County Health Officer Matt Kelley of Bozeman.

The other two bills are: · HB121, which says local public-health officers can issue orders in response to a public-health emergency, but that the order can be amended or rescinded by a “local governing body,” such as a county commission. The bill also says the local government cannot take any actions to enforce such a requirement.

HB257 says local governments, health boards or public-health officers cannot pass any ordinance or take any action that requires a business to deny access to a customer, or that denies a customer access to the business. MT Rep. Jedediah Hinkle, R-Belgrade.

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