2017 MT Legislature

A meeting to come up with a list of candidates to nominate the state’s next Commissioner of Political Practices was canceled  this week, after Montana’s top legislative leaders couldn’t come to agreement. The meeting originally scheduled for Monday afternoon was postponed indefinitely.

Resort taxes in Montana could go up a bit under a new bill at the state legislature. Senate Bill 343 had its first hearing today. The bill’s sponsor argued resort towns need it to help fund more affordable housing for locals.

Dillon Republican Jeffrey Welborn’s bill would give resort communities the option of increasing the tax on luxury items and non-essential goods.

A bill designed to save county governments half a million dollars or more is facing a time crunch in the state legislature. It would allow them to conduct mail-in only balloting. If it’s going to have any impact on how voters select the state’s next U.S. congressman, it must pass out of what one lawmaker is calling a kill committee.

Jackie Yamanaka

The Republican controlled House Judiciary, on an 11-to-8 party line vote, passed a bill that would ban the application of foreign law in Montana courts. Senate Bill 97 now moves to the House floor for debate.


Jackie Yamanaka

Schools, the state of Montana, and local governments all benefit from revenue from coal, directly and indirectly.  Besides income and property taxes, there’s also the severance tax on coal.  Half of that tax revenue goes into the permanent Coal Severance Tax Trust. That money can’t be spent without approval from at least three-fourths of both the Montana House and Senate. The other 50% goes to the state’s general fund and a myriad of projects, including for the long-range building program, conservation districts, the state Library Commission, and the cultural trust.


National Park Service

Tourism opportunities can be better promoted in Indian country, said Senator Lea Whitford of Cut Bank.  Her Senate Bill 309 seeks to make sure Native voices are included on the Tourism Advisory Council and there’s money to help promote Indian Country because there is more to see than teepees and powwows.

Whitford said there’s also casinos, campgrounds, trails, fishing, heritage centers, museums, and art galleries.  


Legislative Services

This week our topics from the 2017 Montana Legislature are:  coal and prohibiting state courts from considering foreign laws.  

Guests:  Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip, and Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell.


Montana Senator Steve Daines
Jackie Yamanaka

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, R-MT, was greeted by supporters and protesters during his visit to the state Capitol.

Such stops to the Montana Legislature generally are routine for members of Montana’s Congressional Delegation. This year is different. Daines is among other federal lawmakers who’ve been besieged by constituents upset about the agenda promoted by President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress.


Jackie Yamanaka

The Republican House majority refused to bring a bill to the floor for debate that would give legal recourse to LGBTQ individuals in cases of discrimination.  House Bill 417 would have added sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to Montana’s Human Rights Act.


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