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Volume 26, Issue 5
Published January 31, 2021

Wow. Week 5. Sorry, But How’d We Get Here?

Thoughts Provided by Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director & Unofficial (Yet Still Official) Editor of MACo’s Legislative Update

(If you’re not interested in the meandering thoughts of a rambling lobbyist
and just want to check out the next issue of MACo’s Legislative update, I sympathize. Click the button below for instant access to Issue 5.)

Access Latest Legislative Update Here

Helena – Welcome to week five of the 67th Legislative Session! Holy cannoli folks, we are ONE MONTH IN and one month down. It’s been . . . an adventure. A quiet, yet loud, slow, yet busy, calm, but chaotic adventure. Rest-assured that your ever-faithful, never-tiring MACo lobbyists and friendly local government advocacy groups are holding the line, presenting the facts, and keeping you folks informed.

We are officially one month away from transmittal, so the temperature is rising. The budget subcommittees should be wrapping up their work in the next couple of weeks, and the next significant deadlines on the legislative calendar are as follows:

  • Feb. 17: Last day for Committees to request General Bills & Resolutions (Day 36)
  • Feb. 20: Last day to introduce General Bills, ex. Committee Bills (Day 39)

This Week’s Bills-of-Note

In an effort to provide you with some useful information regarding proposed legislation, I’m going to try and make a habit of pointing out some bills that are scheduled for hearing in the upcoming week. Keep in mind that hearings continuously reveal themselves as the week unfolds—it’s very exciting; every day is like Christmas.

As of now, some noteworthy legislation on the schedule includes (but is not limited to) three MACo bills (listed below), an election proposal on list maintenance (SB 170) and another changing the primary date (HB 248), and Senator Hertz has a couple on property taxes: one regarding the property tax appeal process (SB 133) and another focusing on property tax exemptions (SB 138).

For those of you who have been around for at least the last three sessions, you likely remember the CPACE bill? It’s back, but it’s not just a re-incarnation, so be sure to give it a read if you’re interested in a commercial property assessed capital enhancements program (SB 147).

There are several other important bills scheduled this week. To see them all, click the link in the blue box above or below to open Issue 5 of our Legislative Update. Each bill is linked to a page that provides additional information including the bill itself, any proposed amendments, fiscal note(s), and more. It’s magical. What’s even more magical? We have this handy dandy schedule on our website, and it’s updated nightly (no applause necessary).

I think it goes without saying (so I’m of course going to say it) that we can expect more to happen on the public health front as well as in elections, land use, guns, and taxes (#montanalife). It’s fair to say that we (your MACo staff) live and breathe legislative dragon fire breath right now, so rest-assured that we have your best interests in mind and will work diligently toward the most beneficial solutions.

MACo Bills Scheduled This Week
  • HB 104, Revise county leasing authority – Marty Malone (R) HD 59 (MACo Resolution 2020-10)
  • HB 201, Revise prevailing wage district laws and dispatch city designations – Kenneth L Holmlund (R) HD 38 (MACo Resolution 2020-09)
  • HB 220, Allow special district to receive funds from federal revenue sharing programs – Brian Putnam (R) HD 9 (MACo Resolution 2020-11)

You can review the status of other MACo-proposed legislation in the Legislative Update. Or you can contact me, Jason, and/or Eric, and we’ll happily give you the deets (that’s millennial for “details”—nice, right? It’s legit—that’s another good one). Our cell numbers are listed at the bottom of this post. Pro-tip: We are pretty responsive via text and can quietly respond during zoomies and hearings, so send us a quick message if we don’t answer.

Reminder

As a reminder, be sure to check your email often for any “calls to action” we might blast your way. As the legislature and lobbyists collectively march toward transmittal, bills will be flooding in from every which way, and we may need you to reach out to your legislators. You (our members) are MACo’s most powerful allies. Your voice carries weight, and it can have quite an impact, especially when we move cohesively. Every county, border-to-border, represents the entire state. Keep that in mind—you formidable force you. (Why can’t I get Reddit’s WallStreetBets vs. The Hedge Funds out of my head?)

And Finally . . .

There you have it: a synopsis of the upcoming week and some rambling words and meandering thoughts from yours truly.  As always, if you’re still on uneven footing, no worries. We’re here to help keep you apprised of what’s happening on the hill. Every week until Sine Die during these trying and perplexing times, we’ll be releasing a new issue of the MACo Legislative Update (linked below and above).

Each issue always has an up-to-date session calendar, information about participating virtually, and an easy-to-print bill hearings schedule for the upcoming week. Pro Tip: Our website’s hearing schedule will be updated daily as the week progresses and new hearings are added, so be sure to check that out. It also has links to testify remotely and/or submit written public comment.

As mentioned previously, don’t forget to check out the bills section, where you’ll be able to follow the status of MACo’s legislation, as well as track the growing list of bills in which we are monitoring and/or actively participating.

Click the button below to check out the new issue.

For other pertinent information regarding the legislative session, visit the policy section of our website.

See you either virtually via the internet highway or in the halls!

PS: 70 legislative days remaining

(The Legislative Update is linked below.)
Questions? We Got you!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Eric Bryson, MACo Executive Director:  406-461-2084, ebryson@mtcounties.org

Jason Rittal, MACo Deputy Director:  406- 698-3255, jrittal@mtcounties.org

Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director:  406-925-1134, shantil@mtcounties.org