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Reflections Academy, outside Thompson Falls, has been the subject of three civil lawsuits since October by families alleging program administrators misrepresented the type of therapy they would provide and failed to protect their daughters from a supervisor who groomed them for inappropriate sexual relationships. 

A Senate panel's tie vote has, for now, killed a proposal to shift regulatory oversight of residential treatment programs for troubled teens to the public health department. 

The bill had support from the programs' current oversight board, the Department of Public Health and Human Services and Gov. Steve Bullock — as well as an admission by the the Department of Labor and Industry that it lacked experience to oversee the programs.

But Republicans on the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee on Monday went against giving the health department another burden.

"Dealing with the [DPHHS], we are finding challenges dealing with how we regulate our youth as is," said Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell. "I am just concerned about taking on more burden to the department when they need to fix some of the stuff they have been working on currently."

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The bill's sponsor, Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, said after the tie roll call vote she would try to blast the bill to the floor. She was not immediately available for comment after the hearing.

Blasting a bill is a way to pull a bill that's died in a committee back onto the  floor for consideration. 

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