January 29, 2021
A lot has happened since the last time I wrote to you. The 2021 Legislature has kicked off their biannual session. As the session advances, the Chamber is monitoring a number of bills (you can see the list below) and we're ready and available as a resource for our local legislators.

On a local level, we continue working with local officials to address concerns by Missoula businesses. We've worked with local officials to address concerns around the impact of local Covid-19 restrictions on business as well as bans on the sale of products.

As Missoula's voice for business, the Chamber continues to advocate on behalf of its members and connect government leaders with those most impacted by legislation. We bridge the gap between the public and private sectors in order to foster communication and collaboration - building a better community to live, work and play.
Local advocacy
Hair/Nail salons - In April of 2020, the Chamber sent a letter to the City-County Health Department and Missoula Mayor John Engen to ask for clarification about Missoula's health order for reopening after the initial Covid-19 shutdowns in March. That letter resulted in amended rules allowing hair/nail salons to reopen their businesses while maintaining safe environments for both employees and their customers.

Bars and Restaurants - In November of 2020, the Chamber sent a letter to the City-County Health Department along with county commissioners and Mayor Engen to encourage them to work with local bars and restaurants to adopt rules that would protect the public and allow these important community businesses to keep their doors open. Restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic and their ability to bring in revenue is essential to their survival. The Chambers letter brought the bar/restaurant group to the table with the Health Department and they were able to reach an agreement which was eventually put in place after former Governor Bullock's order was rescinded by Governor Gianforte in January 2021.
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 79 - Revised definition of beer to include other fermented-style beverages
HB 103 - Revise cooperative laws to provide for remote participation
HB 112 - Require interscholastic athletes to participate under sex assigned at birth
HB 113 - Provide for youth health protection (This bill was voted down on third reading)
HB 121 - Require elected official approval of local health board and officer actions
HB 134 - Allow zoning for duplex, triplex, and fourplex housing in certain municipalities
HB 137 - Generally revise vaping and alternative nicotine products laws
HB 148 - Revise property reappraisal cycle for class three and four property
HB 157 - Generally revise alcohol laws for licensing, brewery shared space
HB 187 - Provide for local option sales tax
HB 205 - Provide tax credit for employers of volunteer first responders
HB 226 - Generally revise alcohol laws to provide for curbside pickup
HB 234 - Remove sunset on requirement that massage therapy businesses display licenses
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 265 - Phase out use of Styrofoam in food-related businesses
SB 11 - Increase minimum corporate income tax
SB 91 - Require fiscal notes to include business impact
SB 118 - Revise laws relating to false statements to employers and workers' compensation
SB 142 - Increase the number of children who can be present in day-care homes
SB 161 - Allow certain subdivisions to qualify for an expedited review
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!