Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Letters to the Editor: Let health boards do their jobs

| March 11, 2021 12:05 AM

Let health boards do their jobs

Winston Churchill said, “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

When my car needs repair I go to a mechanic. For tax advice I go to a financial professional. When I need health care I go to a doctor. I don’t go to a legislator for these needs.

County health boards are staffed by people qualified to establish protocols to protect public health. For instance, if municipal water supplies become contaminated in a disaster event, they can take action by creating an order. We should let them do their job.

House Bill 257 before the state legislature aims to protect businesses from income loss by transferring the decisions to the government rather than allowing county health boards to create public safety orders. The worst public health disaster in 100 years has been with us for a year. Businesses have suffered. The entire world has suffered. Throwing out public protection measures isn’t the answer. Programs to help businesses, like Paycheck Protection Program, are in place to offset business losses. The health board is not the enemy of businesses; it’s the protector of the public and should be allowed to do its job.

Please contact your legislators at leg.mt.gov

— Stephanie Brancati, Big Arm

So much for personal responsibility

The Republican Party has campaigned on freedom for individuals, more local control and decreased involvement of government in our daily lives. Why, then, are we seeing so many bills in our state legislature that bring the state into our lives — in some very intimate ways?

As a retired nurse practitioner (four years of school for a BSN, three more for a masters), I am astonished that Republican legislators feel qualified and at ease intervening in complicated medical judgements and treatment, which have long been private between individuals and well-trained medical providers.

Considerable knowledge and understanding goes into difficult decisions made with patients about such things as abortions, end-of-life care and treatment for gender dysphoria — but our state legislature has seen fit to intervene. There was even a proposed bill (HB 171) to govern the use of misoprostol — a drug that already has careful medical protocols. Just visualize for a moment that you are facing a difficult decision about your health; you are talking with your doctor about it, and who shows up? Your legislator.

— Gail Trenfield, St.Ignatius

GOP hypocrisy

The party of small government, personal responsibility and local control has leaned into passing laws that are not part of their stated values. The transgender and anti-abortion bills go against personal responsibility. The legislature is very busy trying to rule over municipal regulations to negate local control. The party of small government is trying to consolidate power in the governor’s hands by letting him appoint judges when the legislature is not in session without the input of the bipartisan Judicial Nominating Committee. That is a pure authoritarian executive power grab. The legislature is looking to gerrymander the election of our supreme court judges.

All of these actions and laws smack to this Democrat, as a clear case of government overreach.

— Mary Stranahan, Arlee

Big-government GOP

The Republican Party campaigned on individual freedoms, local control, less government. Why, then, are there so many bills that decrease our personal freedoms and our local control.

For example:

HB 121 would remove the authority of our local health boards to make health regulations. Our health department is vital to a community not only in a pandemic but keeping the public safe from e-coli outbreaks to sexually transmitted diseases.

There are numerous bills that would limit a woman’s right to health care, including doctor/patient privacy, birth control and safe abortions.

HB 427, dealing with transgender procedures, would be removed from the oversite of the individual, parents, doctors and counselors; all who work together to make the best medical decision for the minor. Do you want the government to tell you what is best for your child?

The Republican Party is even trying to legislate how tips are split up in bars and restaurants. Where will it end?

The party of individual freedoms and less government no longer exists.

— Gerry Browning, Polson

New gun law

The governor has signed into law a bill that allows concealed firearms to be carried in most places in the state without a permit. The Montana University System was among the opposition to this bill, citing important safety concerns.

Under the new law, guns can be carried on college campuses, in bars and too many other places. Alcohol, young people and guns; what could possibly go wrong? Our Lake County legislators — Sens. Greg Hertz and Dan Salomon, and Reps. Linda Reksten and Joe Read — supported this bill. I hope that nothing goes wrong.

— Kathleen Farmer, Polson