March 5, 2021
We've reached the half-way point of the 2021 legislative session. Bills that have not made it through the first house are considered dead. The exception to this is any bill that appropriates money or impacts state revenues. Those bills get a little longer to get through the process. From here on out, we'll have a better sense of what will get through the Legislature and what will not.

The Chamber has taken positions on a number of bills. You can see the full list below. If you'd like to add your voice to ours, we've made it easier than ever. Visit the Chamber's Advocacy webpage and select the bill you'd like to comment on. You'll find a form that will allow you to add your own comments and have it sent directly to your elected representative. This is an easy way for you to be part of the legislative process and share your thoughts with local legislators. We hope you will take advantage of it and make sure the voice of Missoula business is heard in Helena.
Local Advocacy
Accommodations industry
As the Chamber has done with the Bar/Restaurant industry and the Construction/Trades industry, we recently held an industry roundtable discussion with members of the Accommodations industry. These businesses have been hard hit throughout the pandemic. In addition to the decrease in travel, meaning fewer rooms being used, they've seen challenges in booking and re-booking group meetings and conferences.

We had a good discussion with several Chamber members in this industry. They shared with us the many challenges they face as well as the ways they've changed their business practices to protect their employees and their guests. In the coming weeks we hope to highlight some of these changes to illustrate the great strides hotels in our area have taken to address concerns and make it safer than ever to host events in their buildings.
Bills we support
  • HB 21 - The re-authorization of the Multifamily Coal Trust Homes Program
  • HB 303 - Business Investment Grows (BIG) Jobs Act – Increases the business equipment tax exemption from the current $100,000 to $200,000.
  • HB 252 - Montana Comeback Trades Education and Training Act – Provides non-refundable tax credit to employers who pay trades education tuition for employees. The credit covers 50% of the cost of the training up to $2,000 per employee with a cap of $25,000 per company.
  • SB 159 - Personal Income Tax Relief Act – Lowers the top personal income tax bracket from 6.9% to 6.75%.
  • SB 182 - Economic Growth Income Tax Rate Trigger Act – Creates a system to automatically lower the top personal income tax bracket if certain economic factors are met each year.
  • SB 184 - Entrepreneur Magnet Act – Exempts the sale of employee-owned stock from capital gains for businesses relocated to, or started in Montana after Jan. 1, 2021.
  • SB 181 - Corporate Tax Modernization Act – Transitions Montana from a 3-factor corporate license tax to a single-factor, sales based system.
  • SB 161 – Expedited review of some subdivisions – Allows for an expedited review of subdivision applications in municipalities with zoning and infrastructure in place.
  • HB 340 - Revisions to the MEDIA Act. Chamber member JPS Real Estate Investment asked the Chamber to support this bill in the legislature that would remove the cap on a film/tv production tax incentive.
  • LC2079 - This bill will create a child care task force at the state level and includes representatives from business as well as two dedicated seats for Chambers of Commerce, one of which will likely to to the Missoula Chamber. This request for support was brought to us by the Funders for Montana's Children, a collaborative partner we have worked with over the past couple years.
  • SB 262 - Revise forest lands taxation advisory committee
  • SB 263 - Revise forest lands property taxes and rates - This bill and SB 262 are intended to address a decision by the Department of Revenue that would result in up to an 81% increase on property taxes for private forested lands.
Legislature 2021
The 2021 Legislative session kicked off at the beginning of January. As of this writing, there are over 3,000 bill requests submitted. The Chamber's GA Committee is continually monitoring bills and their potential impacts on the Missoula business community. Below is a list of some of the bills currently being monitored. This list changes daily as new bills are introduced.

If you would like the Chamber's Government Affairs committee to discuss a bill introduced during this legislative session, please reach out to Clint Burson, Director of Government Affairs at clintb@missoulachamber.com.
HB 43 - Expanding practice of tele-medicine
HB 103 - Revise cooperative laws to provide for remote participation
HB 112 - Require interscholastic athletes to participate under sex assigned at birth
HB 121 - Require elected official approval of local health board and officer actions
HB 137 - Generally revise vaping and alternative nicotine products laws
HB 157 - Generally revise alcohol laws for licensing, brewery shared space
HB 226 - Generally revise alcohol laws to provide for curbside pickup
HB 252 - Non-refundable tax credit for employer-paid education of trade professions
HB 257 - Revise laws relating to government mandates and businesses
HB 259 - Revise property and zoning laws
HB 261 - Constitutional amendment for taxpayer protection act to limit tax types
HB 282 - Revise labor laws relating to the employment of minors
HB 284 - Provide living wage - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
HB 303 - Revise business equipment tax laws: Business Investment Grows (BIG) Jobs Act
HB 340 - Revise the MEDIA Act film tax credits
HB 348 - Generally revise film tax credit laws - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
HB 397 - Establish workforce housing tax credits
SB 91 - Require fiscal notes to include business impact
SB 118 - Revise laws relating to false statements to employers and workers' compensation - PASSED BY LEGISLATURE
SB 161 - Allow certain subdivisions to qualify for an expedited review
SB 181 - Corporate Tax Modernization Act
SB 182 - Generally revise laws on state finance, reducing tax rate if conditions met
SB 184 - Montana Entrepreneur Magnet Act
SB 207 - Revise alcohol laws pertaining to hours for retail sales
We're here for you
The Government Affairs desk at the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce is here to help you, our members. Do you have questions you're having trouble finding answers to? We can help you find those answers. Are you running into problems with city, county, state or federal government? Reach out, we'll do our best to help you get past them.

We also welcome suggestions for policy manual updates. If you have an issue you believe is having a big impact on your ability to start or grow your business in Missoula, please let us know.
Thank you to our Visionary Members!