End of 2023 Montana Legislative Session Is In Sight- Update
There is about one week left in the 2023 Montana Legislative session and currently many bills are being discussed. Rachel Cone, Director of State Governmental Affairs for Montana Farm Bureau Federation talked to Central Montana Radio Network about the current legislative activities that are tied to agriculture.
House Bill 2- Budget Bill
Rachel: We are nearing the end of the session. I think today is legislative day 81 or 82. House Bill 2 was heard on the Senate floor on Monday and that did pass under the Senate floor and will be on third reading today. Once it's passed by the Senate, it'll have to go back to the house to get whatever amendments that were put on in by the Senate, those will have to be approved by the House. Then that bill is wrapped up with the legislature. House Bill 2 is the state's budget for the next biennial, so it is a very important bill and that's what makes the state run for the next two years. Section C, It is also where a lot of our main agencies are housed under, the Department of Livestock, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, things of that nature.
House Bill 906 Taxes for Agriculture Land
It was one of the many bills, about this concept, of how do we make sure Agricultural Land is staying in production and where can we use taxes to encourage people to not come in and buy that land. There is a lot more details to this one specifically, but this one had made it over to the Senate and was tabled yesterday in Senate Tax. We look forward to working in the interim to really solve this question. I think the general idea of keeping Ag land in production is really important to Farm Bureau. Really important to our members, but of course the devils in details, so we want to make sure it's done right. We are not harming agriculture and farmers and ranchers by doing this. We, of course, want to protect them and make sure they're benefiting the most.
Senate Bill 442
Another big bill that is still alive will be on the third reading in the house today is Senate Bill 442. This one talks about using money from the marijuana state special revenue account to increase rural roads. Everything from managing noxious weeds to fixing potholes and making sure people in rural areas, rural communities have a safe way to use their roads, whether it's transporting their product or just getting from their house to town. We want to make sure those roads are in good shape. This bill was really interesting. It had a ton of support. I think there were over 40 organizations that were able to stand up in support of this one. We supported this one a couple weeks ago and it was heard in house tax and then it went from house tax to the floor. It passed the floor with a huge majority and it went to appropriations. It was passed out of appropriations with no amendments, which is great. Then it'll be heard on the house today on third reading. So that one's in really good shape. We are feeling good about that.
Projected End Date- May 6th
They're still in the same legislative day calendar. The only thing that's different is on (last) Monday, the House and the Senate voted to suspend the rules to push the transmittal date back, of when amendments on revenue bills had to be passed. So that was supposed to be earlier this week and it got moved to Friday. So that gives them a little bit more time. That shouldn't change the ending date.
If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Is Almost here- Are You Ready?