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Montana 2021 Legislature

Montana Commission Approves $75 Million In Federal Coronavirus Health Spending

Supplies for COVID-19 vaccinations including bandages and syringes.
Jess Sheldahl
Yellowstone Public Radio
Supplies for COVID-19 vaccinations including glitter bandages and syringes.

A special state legislative commission Thursday approved an estimated $75 million in federal coronavirus aid for public health spending in Montana.

The health advisory commission, made up of state lawmakers and governor’s office officials, approved more than $13 million to support local vaccination efforts and stand up a media campaign to challenge anti-vaccine messaging.

State health department Director Adam Meier spoke to the commission during its meeting to decide how to spend money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“Currently, only 48 percent of eligible Montanans have received their first dose of vaccine. And demand has significantly decreased despite consistent vaccine supply from the federal government,” Meier says.

Montana ranks 33rd among states for the percent of residents who’ve received at least one shot, according to NPR.

The commission also approved spending millions on low-income food assistance, substance abuse and mental health block grants, family violence prevention grants, and school COVID-19 testing.

All spending proposals passed with bipartisan approval.

The commission is expected to continue appropriating relief money through the summer.

Kevin Trevellyan is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America statehouse reporter.