A legislative committee will take a first look next week at potential bill drafts related to its studies of senior and long-term care services and the child protective services system. 

The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee will meet by videoconference at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 29. 

In addition to the bill drafts, the committee will hear about public health efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect, review ideas for legislation related to a uniform guardianship law, and receive numerous updates on activities of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Committee members will review four bill drafts related to the senior and long-term care study. The bills would: 

•    clarify requirements for qualifying for Medicaid under the Medically Needy program;
•    require a 30-day notification before a person's participation in a home and community-based services waiver is terminated;
•    require that DPHHS adopt rules, rather than internal policies, when it makes substantive changes to waiver services; and
•    establish legislative intent for waiver services, including that waiver services together -- rather than individually -- must prevent placement in a higher level of care.

For the study of child protective services, members agreed in May to review a bill draft related to the concept of "shelter care" hearings for children who have been removed from their homes. Committee members will be given three options for a possible bill draft: adding a new hearing within 72 hours of a child's removal; reducing the time frame for a show cause hearing from within 20 days to within 5 days of the filing of an abuse or neglect petition; or requiring review of pilot projects currently underway in some district courts to determine if those efforts should be expanded throughout the state.

The committee will take public comment on all the bill drafts before deciding whether to proceed with any of them. Based on the comments received, the committee members may ask that revised versions of the bills be brought back to their Aug. 27-28 meeting.

Members of the public can offer written comment in advance of the meeting or join the meeting by phone or computer to offer comment on June 29, as outlined in the Public Participation Instructions posted on the committee's website. 

The meeting will be streamed live at http://leg.mt.gov and will be broadcast on the Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN). For more information about the meeting, including an agenda and related materials, visit the committee's website or contact committee researcher Sue O'Connell by e-mail or at by phone at 406-444-3597.

The Legislative News.