Update: Tribal Sovereignty During COVID-19

Our previous blog, Tribal Sovereignty During COVID-19, covered the actions tribal nations have taken in reservations across Montana to protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. While Montana has moved closer to reopening, tribal nations have continued to prioritize public health through measures that include extended stay-at-home orders and travel checkpoints.

Tribal nations are now faced with an increase of coronavirus cases on their reservations because surrounding areas and travelers have not adhered to the same measures.

It is not too late for thousands of Montanans to receive their Economic Impact Payments

This spring, millions of Americans automatically received Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to help relieve the hardships caused by the coronavirus public health emergency. Taxpayers who had filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 received their payments automatically either through direct deposit or a check in the mail. An estimated 25,000 Montanans, however, live in households who are not required to file taxes due to their low incomes. These individuals are those at most at risk of not receiving their payments.

The Coronavirus and Child Care: Montana Must Do More for Workers and Families

Montana went into this pandemic with inadequate support for the child care industry and the state is at a crossroads. Montana lawmakers can decide to improve the long-standing issues with our child care system, supporting families and workers, or ignore the realities of this pandemic, leaving families without care for the foreseeable future and further weakening our economy.

Tribal Sovereignty During COVID-19

Tribal nations are showcasing leadership during COVID-19 by prioritizing the safety and health of vulnerable populations, tribal citizens, and non-citizens. To fight the spread of COVID-19, many tribal nations have exercised their sovereign right to regulate the movement of peoples on their lands. This includes opening travel check points and shelter-in-place orders.

Despite Montana’s decisions to enter phase two of reopening, some tribal nations have extended stay-at-home orders and continued to implement travel checkpoints to protect their citizens and non-citizen travelers.

Children are going hungry with school closures. Montana can help.

Montana can help thousands of low-income students get enough to eat during school closures, but it must act swiftly.   

A new program established through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Coronavirus Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), allows states to provide assistance to families with children who would otherwise be receiving free or reduced-price school breakfasts and lunches if schools were in session.