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State House passes resolution aimed at meth problem

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MISSOULA, Mont. - The Montana House of Representatives advanced a resolution Tuesday aimed at curbing Montana's growing problem with methamphetamine.

House Joint Resolution No. 6 requests an interim legislative study of methamphetamine use in Montana.

The latest numbers aren't pretty.

According to the resolution methamphetamine cases statewide have more than tripled annually between 2010 and 2015, jumping from 68 to 232. Child abuse and neglect cases increased from 1,009 in 2009 to 2,466 in 2016. More than a third of the 3,000 children in foster care in 2015 were placed there because of meth use by their parents.

Resolution sponsor State Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) says all branches of the criminal justice system and social services are strained.

"We need more District Court judges, we need more jails, we need more law enforcement," Hill said. "What our counties are telling us is that it's the meth crisis in Montana. I'm hoping that we can take a big-picture look at it all and try to find some real solutions for next session."

The resolution now moves to the Senate.

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On Wednesday's legislative agenda a measure to set up public charter schools in Montana is scheduled for a vote. Another bill scheduled for debate would keep Montana in Mountain Standard Time year-round, which would mean no Daylight Saving Time.

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