2017 Montana Legislature

Jackie Yamanaka

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives rejected an attempt to revive a bonding measure that would pay for public school building projects, university buildings on 3 campuses, and help the Southwest Montana Veterans Home break ground.

Representative Mike Cuffe, R-Eureka, offered a technical motion to suspend the rules to reconsider his House Bill 645. It failed April 6, 2017 to get the votes necessary to be transmitted to the Senate.


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A bill to increase the fuel tax continues to advance down the road as the Legislative session is moving closer to adjournment.

“And I find myself in the middle of Montana in the 65th Legislative Session in a very odd position where I feel the need to quote Mick Jagger,” said Representative Frank Garner, R-Kalispell. “And that is you don’t always get what you want.”

MSU Billings

Two Montana campuses will be allowed to have the public sample the wares from their brewing science and brewery operations programs, so long as the tasting rooms are off campus.

Flathead Valley Community College and Montana State University Billings are the two campuses with this program. But the Senate amended the bill to only recognize FVCC. Representative Don Jones, R-Billings, wanted MSU Billings to be recognized, as well.

Jackie Yamanaka

Jackie Yamanaka

Motorists will pay a little bit more at the pump under a bill that appears headed for the finish line. The additional money raised is earmarked to fix the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

House Bill 473 sought to raise the tax on a gallon of gasoline by 8 cents a gallon, but an amendment lowered that to 4 ½ cents. 


A Republican lawmaker says if the Legislature doesn’t take action, property taxes are going to go up for homeowners, farmers and ranchers because of property reappraisal. 

Jackie Yamanaka

Representative Jim Keane often refers to his infrastructure bills as “vehicles” that he's steering  through the legislative process.  This morning’s stop was at the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

Keane uses the “truck” metaphor often. He says all of these infrastructure bill are loaded with money to help pay for projects all across Montana to help communities fix their crumbling water and sewer systems and bridges, as well as fund other long range needs.

Jackie Yamanaka

The House Education Committee approved an interim study bill to review the current structure of the Montana University system.

In 1994, the Montana Board of Regents took the separate campuses and consolidated them under either the University of Montana or Montana State University.

Representative Kathy Kelker, D-Billings, said House Joint Resolution 27 would look at how that reorganization has fared over the past 2 dozen years.

Montana State University

Lawmakers gave preliminary approval to two bills that issue bonds to pay for numerous public works and building projects. Changes to House Bill 645 now make the proposal closer to the Senate’s bonding bill.


Jackie Yamanaka

Senate Bill 331, like Montana’s existing resort tax, would have allowed larger municipalities to ask their voters whether to impose a sales tax on so-called luxury goods and services purchased by tourists and visitors.  This bill had a twist in that it would sunset after the identified infrastructure project was completed.


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