For the legislative week ending January 9

Date: January 09, 2015

Session Composition
The 64th Montana Legislature convened January 5, 2015 with many organizational duties and numerous joint sessions of the House and Senate.
The 100-member Montana House of Representatives is comprised of 59 Republicans (a loss of two seats from the 2013 session) and 41 Democrats. The Montana Senate has 29 Republicans and 21 Democrats, the same ratio as in the last session in 2013. 
The president of the Senate is Sen. Debbie Barrett (R) of Dillon. The Senate Majority Leader is Sen. Matthew Rosendale (R) of Glendive. The Senate Minority Leader is Sen. Jon Sesso (D) of Butte. 
In the House, the House Speaker is Rep. Austin Knudsen (R) of Culbertson; the House Majority Leader is Rep. Keith Regier (R) of Kalispell. The Minority Leader of the House is Rep. Chuck Hunter (D) of Helena.
Session Length
The session will be 90-days in length, with an expected ending date of April 27.
Most of the week was taken up with orientations for the lawmakers, organization session for the committees in both houses, and a lot of bi-partisan speeches and commentary between the two political parties. 
It is yet to be seen, if these words will rein within the halls of the Capitol for the next four months.
Bill Introductions
There were only a few bills heard in committee this week, with nothing of importance to NFIB/Montana. The first bills of interest to NFIB are coming out for hearings next week. 
Of particular interest will be a bill that would allow the state Department of Labor to draft a proposal to take over the federally-run OSHA safety program currently within the state. Another hot issue will be a resolution to the U.S. Congress to call a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution. There are already three bills drafted on such a convention call. 
Other bills of concern to its members (of which there are nearly 6,000 in Montana) that NFIB/Montana will be following include:
  • workers’ compensation
  • unemployment
  • private property
  • business equipment taxes
  • income taxes
  • health care
  • controlled substances oversight in the workplace
  • regulations aimed at small business
  • Medicaid expansion
  • human resource and employment laws. 
Stay tuned each week as NFIB/Montana will be issuing these legislative reports on bills affecting small business in Montana. If you’d like to receive these reports, send an email to Riley Johnson, or call him at 406-443-3797.
Getting Involved
      
Getting involved in the 2015 Legislature is easy. The best way to have your voice heard quickly is to phone 406-444-4800. Operators are on hand in the Capitol Building to take messages up to five legislators on each call, and delivery is within a half an hour. For those wanting more information on locating legislators, getting an e-mail address, looking to view committee meetings and floor sessions on television or over computers, and just to review all hearings and reading of the actual bills can go to www.leg.mt.gov

Related Content: Small Business News | Montana

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