Republican legislators vote against mental health efforts, MT veterans

HELENA -- A large group of Republican legislators tried to block efforts in the Montana Legislature today to support veterans and extend mental health services in this state.

There was wide bipartisan support for both of the mental health bills introduced by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, going into committee today. House Bill 117 will provide local grants for suicide prevention for veterans. And House Bill 118 would provide additional funding for state suicide prevention efforts.

The veterans’ suicide prevention bill came out of the House Administration committee 20-0 before a vote on the House floor today where a shocking number of Republicans voted against it on second reading, 82-18.

The grant program for local suicide prevention also received bipartisan support in the House Administration committee last week 20-0, and had 28 Republicans voting against it on the second reading today.

Some of those Republicans voting no on one or both of the bills include: Jeff Essmann, Matt Regier, Adam Rosendale, Nancy Ballance, Dan Bartel, Becky Beard, Steve Lavin, Seth Berglee, Denley Loge, Lola Sheldon-Galloway, Carl Glimm, Randy Brodehl, Theresa Manzella, Bob Brown, Steve Gunderson, Tom Burnett, Mike Cuffe, Dale Mortensen, Barry Usher, Mark Noland, James O'Hara, Kirk Wagoner, Peggy Webb, Kenneth Holmlund, Mike Hopkins, Kerry White, Donald Jones, Daniel Zolnikov, and Alan Redfield.

“It’s a shame to see Republicans putting partisanship ahead of Montana’s veterans and those with mental illnesses,” said Amanda Frickle, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. “Far too many Montanans, especially our veterans, are suffering from mental health illnesses and Rep. Windy Boy’s bills are aimed at putting just a few more resources in the hands of those who can help the most. It’s shameful to think just one person voted against these bills, let alone 28 Republicans.”


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