House Passes State Budget, Turns Attention to Marijuana

Date: March 26, 2021

Legislation affecting independent contractors to be debated next week

State Director Ronda Wiggers reports from Helena on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending March 26

The session is winding down with policy bills and is now pretty much focused on spending the federal American Rescue Plan money and determining if Montana is allowed to pass any tax reduction bills. 

If you are interested in how they are currently thinking of spending the funds, this document is a pretty good and concise explanation. Under the economic stabilization portion, they are setting up committees to administer grants to businesses and giving some money to Economic Development agencies to administer. The specific details were not outlined in the conversation. 
After passing House Bill 2 – the state budget – on Monday, the House Business Committee spent much of the week focused on a very large bill to implement the recreational marijuana program. Thus, executive action on bills in their committee was delayed. We should see votes on most of the remaining bills in committee early next week.

On Friday, April 2, the Legislature will take an Easter Break and return Tuesday, April 6.

Update on Events from This Week

  • Senate Bill 367, a measure to revise labor laws relating to independent contractor certification has passed out of the House Business Committee and will likely be debated on the House floor next week. Under current law, if someone is found to be working without an IC license, they are automatically assumed to be an employee. SB 367 would allow for more investigation. If someone were to tell you that they had an IC license, act as an IC, and then it is discovered that their license had lapsed, as long as they were truly acting as an IC, it would not be a violation.
  • House Bill 121 would require elected-official approval of local health board and officer actions. This is a compilation of all the different proposals. This has passed through the Senate without amendments and is now working its’ way to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.
  • House Bill 407 would establish a statewide uniformity for auxiliary container regulations. This bill would prevent a local government from passing any law that bans single-use or any particular type of packaging. It was heard in the Senate Business Committee this week and passed out of committee. It should be debated on the Senate floor next week.

You can track legislation at this link.

Previous Reports and Related News

Photo snip courtesy of the Montana Public Affairs Network


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