Montana Legislature Opens its 2023 Session

Date: January 02, 2023

Lawmakers off to a flying start with 300 bill draft requests

State Director Ronda Wiggers reports from Helena on the January 2 opening of the Montana Legislature’s 2023 session.

The watch list for NFIB is fairly long – over 300 bill draft requests. Most of these will never even be introduced in bill format. A lot of them will end up being something we only monitor, as the change is just to a process – like allowing electronic signatures on a state form. I do expect to see bills to reduce business equipment tax, make some changes in workers’ compensation and a few bills addressing employment law. Unlike sessions of old, many of the committees will begin hearing bills on Tuesday.

Hearings of Interest This Week

  • Wednesday, January 4, (H) Business & Labor – HB 41 Revise laws to expand incumbent worker training eligibility and awards. This bill would eliminate the requirement that a business have 50 full-time employees in order to use the program. It will also increase the available grant amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per employee trained. NFIB Position: Support
  • Friday, January 6, (H) Business & Labor – HB 142 Revise laws related to unemployment insurance theft and penalties. This bill appears to be closing a small loophole where people falsely claimed UI benefits, but did not do so in sworn statement, but with a fraudulent invoice. NFIB Position: Monitor

Bills NFIB is Watching

  • HB 55 Establishing a tax on electric vehicle charging stations. This bill would require a business that operates an electric vehicle charging station to collect and remit 3 cents per kilowatt to the Department of Transportation as road tax. NFIB Position: Monitor
  • HB 136 Adopt Montana revised Unclaimed Property Act. Because any gift certificates that are unused are considered unclaimed property, NFBI generally keeps an eye on these bills. They are expanding the definition of unclaimed property and changing a few of the procedures. NFIB Position: Monitor
  • HB 161 Generally revise computer crime laws. This expands Montana law to allow for computer hackers to be prosecuted if caught. NFIB Position: Monitor
  • SB 22 Revise independent contractor laws. This is cleaning up a bill from last session that had good intentions but was poorly written. The intent is that if an employer hires a contractor who holds himself or herself out to have an IC but does not, the employer would not be fined. However, it was written a bit too broadly and this bill defines it for only those that are truly IC situations. NFIB Position: Monitor
  • SB 95 Generally revise theft laws. This bill corrects a bad law passed a few years back that made the fine for theft – including bad checks – less than what the criminal benefitted and eliminated almost all chance of jail time. This is a good bill that brings the fines and jail time in line with the crime committed and should help to cut down on bad checks and shoplifting. NFIB Poistion: Support

This link will take you to the list of bills we are watching. It is an active link that will automatically update as information changes. Once a bill is drafted, you can click on the link to read the text. As the bill moves through the process, you can track its progress and even watch the recordings of the hearings through this page.


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