Politics · May 19, 2021 0

Montana Governor: 4 Commissions To Distribute ARPA Funds

HELENA, MT (STL.News) Governor Greg Gianforte announced four commissions to provide recommendations for allocating federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The commissions – focusing on infrastructure, communications, economic stabilization/workforce, and health care – are comprised of three members of the Montana Senate, three to four members of the Montana House of Representatives, and three appointees from the executive branch.

The commissions, their purposes, and their members are as follows:

Infrastructure Advisory Commission

The Infrastructure Advisory Commission will review applications for funding for state capital projects and state and local government water and sewer infrastructure projects and provide recommendations to the executive on which projects should be funded.  Commission members include:

  • Sen. Doug Kary (R-Billings)
  • Sen. Mike Cuffe (R-Eureka)
  • Sen. Ellie Boldman (D-Missoula)
  • Rep. Dan Bartel (R-Lewistown)
  • Rep. Sue Vinton (R-Billings)
  • Rep. Jim Keane (D-Butte)
  • Amanda Kaster, Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Chris Dorrington, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality
  • Rachel Meredith, Counsel to Governor Gianforte

Communications Advisory Commission

The Communications Advisory Commission will review recommendations for projects related to broadband infrastructure. Commission members include:

  • Sen. Dan Salomon (R-Ronan)
  • Sen. Jason Ellsworth (R-Hamilton)
  • Sen. Janet Ellis (D-Helena)
  • Rep. Mike Hopkins (R-Missoula)
  • Rep. Ed Buttrey (R-Great Falls)
  • Rep. Katie Sullivan (D-Missoula)
  • Misty Ann Giles, Director of the Department of Administration
  • Scott Osterman, Director of the Department of Commerce
  • Scott Sales, Director of the Montana Lottery and former state legislative leader

Economic Transformation and Stabilization, and Workforce Development Advisory Commission

The Economic Transformation and Stabilization, and Workforce Development Advisory Commission will review proposals for economic transformation and stabilization, and workforce development programs from the departments of commerce, agriculture, and labor and industry.  As currently outlined by HB 632, appropriations include $50 million for mortgage assistance, $152 million in emergency rental assistance, and nearly $11.5 million for the HOME program.  Commission members include:

  • Sen. Mark Blasdel (R-Kalispell)
  • Sen. Ryan Osmundson (R-Buffalo)
  • Sen. Ryan Lynch (D-Butte)
  • Rep. Wylie Galt (R-Martinsdale)
  • Rep. Llew Jones (R-Conrad)
  • Rep. Kim Abbott (D-Helena)
  • Laurie Esau, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Chris Heggem, Chief of Staff to Governor Gianforte
  • Kurt Alme, Director of the Office of Budget and Program Planning

Health Advisory Commission

The Health Advisory Commission will recommend how funds allocated to the Department of Public Health and Human Services are to be used.  As currently outlined by HB 632, appropriations include $11 million for SNAP, $112.5 million for child care block grants, and $22.5 million for vaccine distribution and supply.  Commission members include:

  • Sen. Bob Keenan (R-Bigfork)
  • Sen. Carl Glimm (R-Kila)
  • Sen. Mary McNally (D-Billings)
  • Rep. Matt Regier (R-Kalispell)
  • Rep. Terry Moore (R-Billings)
  • Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell)
  • Rep. Mary Caferro (D-Helena)
  • Adam Meier, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services
  • Anita Milanovich, General Counsel to Governor Gianforte
  • Charlie Brereton, Health Care Policy Advisor to Governor Gianforte

The governor will allocate ARPA funds in compliance with federal rules and House Bill 632.

The eligible uses of the funds are subject to change based on federal regulations and guidance regarding ARPA.

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