February 19, 2021
The Legislative Session is hitting full speed now as we begin approaching the transmittal deadline. That's the last day that non-budget bills have before they have to be transmitted to the other legislative body. Any bill that has not been approved by the House or Senate before that deadline is dead and can no longer be considered.

There are several bills the Chamber is supporting (see the list below). If you would like to add your support to those bills, visit the Chamber's Advocacy page where you can quickly and easily send an email to your elected representative in Helena letting them know that you too support these bills.

Bills are moving quickly now and it's easy to get overwhelmed. That's why we're doing everything we can to keep you informed and give you an opportunity to share your thoughts with legislators. We want you to be involved during this legislative session as the bills that pass will impact you and your business. The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce will continue to strive toward our mission to keep Missoula a great place to live, work and play.
Local Advocacy
Construction/Development industry
The Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce recently held a round-table discussion with members of the construction/trades industry to discuss the challenges they’re facing. It was a great discussion with several members sharing a desire to work with the city to find ways to speed up the permitting process and allow them to get houses built and onto the market sooner. This would cut costs and allow more Missoula workers to find new homes they can afford.

The Chamber set up a meeting between that group and the city’s new head of Development Services, Eran Pehan. That meeting was positive and Eran shared with the group the plans that department has to get permitting to a more reasonable time-frame. The final plan for how that is to be accomplished should be complete in the next couple weeks at which point she indicated she would reach back out to those in the industry to get their thoughts before presenting it to city council. The Chamber offered to help collect that feedback.

Efforts like this meeting are just one piece of the advocacy work the Missoula Chamber does on behalf of Missoula businesses. We will continue to connect business leaders with government officials to help find ways to make our community a better place to live, work and play.

Missoula Jr. Bruins Hockey
The Missoula Chamber recently sent a letter to the Missoula City-County Health Department asking them to work with the Missoula Jr. Bruins Hockey Team to find some updated health guidelines that would allow them to safely host home games at Glacier Ice Rink.

This group of athletes has been forced to travel outside of Missoula to play all of their games this season - even home games. The cost burden this was putting on the team was significant. It also forced families and fans to travel outside of Missoula to attend games and support the players.

After our letter, and thanks in part to fewer active cases of Covid-19 in the community, the health board accepted the recommendations of the health department and eased restrictions on event attendance. Thanks to these changes, the Missoula Jr. Bruins Hockey Team will be able to, once again, host home games in Missoula. They have a plan in place to maintain social distancing between teams and spectators and will provide a safe environment for hockey fans. We were proud to be a part of reaching this conclusion and getting the players back on home ice.
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.
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
HB 303 - Revise business equipment tax laws: Business Investment Grows (BIG) Jobs Act
HB 338 - Repeal Class D Motor Carrier Certifications - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
HB 340 - Revise the MEDIA Act film tax credits
HB 348 - Generally revise film tax credit laws
HB 372 - Eliminate business equipment tax - 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
SB 142 - Increase the number of children who can be present in day-care homes - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
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 187 - Increase the minimum wage - TABLED IN COMMITTEE
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!