February 5, 2021
The 2021 Legislature continues to move through the process of reviewing and adopting (or rejecting) legislation. This week, Governor Gianforte announced his package of bills aimed at attracting businesses and their associated high-paying jobs to Montana.

These bills propose a number of measures including adjustments to the personal income tax, capital gains exemptions, tax incentives for training trades employees, and increasing the exemption for the business equipment tax.

The Missoula Chamber's government affairs committee is busy reviewing these proposals as the bill language is released. The committee has met regularly over the past couple weeks to respond to requests for advocacy support. One of the good things to come out of the pandemic is our greater understanding of, and use of video conferencing technology. This allows the Government Affairs Committee to pull together special meetings quickly and be more nimble in responding to advocacy needs during the fast-moving legislative session.
Local advocacy
The Missoula Jr. Bruins Hockey Team has been forced to play all games outside of Missoula due to Covid-19 restrictions put in place by the Missoula City-County Health Department. While these athletes have seen high school sports take place throughout the community, they've been forced to travel and rent ice for every game they've palyed - including those considered their "home" game. This has put significant financial strain on the team and forces families and fans to travel to communities with less-strict Covid rules in place. The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce reached out to the health department and encouraged them to work with the team to find a way for them to host home games at Glacier Ice Rink. This is good for the players, their families and fans and ensures the economic viability of the team going forward. The Health Department is working on a plan to submit to the Health Board for approval soon.
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 - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
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
HB 282 - Revise labor laws relating to the employment of minors
HB 284 - Provide living wage
HB 288 - Provide business property tax exemption during state of emergency or disaster
HB 303 - Revise business equipment tax laws: Business Investment Grows (BIG) Jobs Act
SB 11 - Increase minimum corporate income tax - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
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!