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WPLI Agenda: Equal Pay, Medicaid and Indian Country

PHOTO: Women from around the state are gathering in Helena today and Saturday for the annual Women's Policy Leadership Institute. Photo courtesy of Montana Women Vote.
PHOTO: Women from around the state are gathering in Helena today and Saturday for the annual Women's Policy Leadership Institute. Photo courtesy of Montana Women Vote.
April 11, 2014

HELENA, Mont. – Today kicks off the annual Women's Policy Leadership Institute in Helena.

Women from around the state will be discussing equal pay, domestic and sexual violence, LBGTQ concerns and issues in Indian Country.

One workshop will offer advice on how Montana women can learn to negotiate their wages, with the note that Montana has one of the widest gender pay gaps in the nation.

Montana Women Vote sponsors the conference, and its director, Sarah Howell, says agendas will be set for the 2015 legislative session.

"We will be talking about Medicaid expansion and our efforts to expand coverage to 70,000 low-income Montanans across the state," she explains.

Those 70,000 could not sign up for coverage during the Affordable Care Act sign-up period, which ended last month, because they made too little to qualify for subsidies.

The original ACA design intended them to be covered under Medicaid, but the state has to agree to it.

Several sessions on Indian Country topics are planned.

Howell says it's an opportunity to understand environmental concerns, such as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and examine how state spending decisions affect Indian people.

"Understanding some of the ins and outs in the relationship between our state budget and programs and services and infrastructure in Indian Country," she adds.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana is scheduled to speak at a conference event tonight. The conference runs through Saturday.


Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT