Montana Chamber Completes Legislative Agenda
HELENA, MT- The 67th Session of the Montana Legislature adjourned sine die this afternoon on the 80th legislative day. Guided by our ten-year strategic plan, Envision 2026, the Montana Chamber of Commerce advanced pro-business legislation and defeated proposals that would have made it harder to do business in our state. With help from the Gianforte administration, legislators, and partner advocates, the Montana Chamber passed its entire legislative agenda this spring.
The Montana Chamber’s “core four” priority bills delivered meaningful reform to ensure a more predictable legal climate in our state:
- SB 65 (Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick – Great Falls) enacts COVID-19 liability protections for all Montana businesses;
- HB 254 (Rep. Ross Fitzgerald – Fairfield) modernizes Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act for the benefit of both employers and employees;
- SB 251 (Sen. Cary Smith – Billings) clarifies that medical expense damages in personal injury lawsuits are limited to amounts actually paid to health care providers; and
- SB 338 (Sen. Mike Lang – Malta) reins in property owner liability to unwanted trespassers.
The Montana Chamber also worked with the Gianforte administration on tax reform that will drive investment into our state. Business equipment tax relief, income tax reductions, and incentives to encourage startup companies are major victories for Montana’s economy. We also completed some unfinished business from a previous legislature by helping pass long-needed tax code simplification.
To address workforce development, the Montana Chamber removed barriers to work-based learning and advocated for career and technical education. Legislative victories included funding for trades education, clarifying workers’ compensation coverage in work-based learning, and lifting regulations to allow experienced tradespeople to teach.
The Montana Chamber and Montana Infrastructure Coalition (MIC) collaborated with lawmakers to fund critical-need infrastructure projects across the state. Funding bills this session were backed with federal COVID-19 relief money, providing Montana with an opportunity to chip away at its infrastructure deficit without having to issue bonds. This comes in addition to nearly $600 million in federal relief for local water and capital projects and $275 million for broadband infrastructure. The Montana Chamber and MIC will advise decision-makers during the interim on how to best spend these dollars.
As the only organization that represents the general interests of virtually all industries, the Montana Chamber was also a powerful voice for business when “playing defense”. We prevented impractical paid leave and minimum wage bills, legislation that would have increased work comp premiums, significant tax increases, and unnecessary regulation.
The Montana Chamber thanks the Gianforte administration, legislators, and staff for their service to Montana. With the 2021 Legislative Session wrapped up, we still have work to do. As your 24/7/365 business advocate, we will continue working toward achieving the objectives of Envision 2026.
For more information or questions about the Legislature or government affairs, please contact Bridger Mahlum at [email protected]
About the Montana Chamber
As the leading business advocate, the Montana Chamber of Commerce envisions a business climate that is optimal for Montana prosperity.