Welcome to the first edition of our weekly Legislative Update. Throughout the 2021 Legislative Session we’ll keep you informed on what is going on in the upcoming week. You’ll get information on:
  • Major topics of interest
  • Upcoming bills we’re watching
  • Schedule of upcoming videoconferences
  • How you can testify remotely
  • Additional resources and info
We know you’re busy with your business and don’t have time to track everything that’s going on in Helena. This newsletter is a great quick reference to keep you up to date.
Last week, Governor Gianforte debuted his budget proposal. It provides an outline of priorities that goes to the legislature for consideration, debate, and passage before returning to the governor’s desk in the form of enrolled bills awaiting his signature. Coming in at $100 million less than Governor Bullock’s previous proposal, it helps to address an issue we all knew was coming as a consequence of Covid–a reduced budget.
The four key points of focus for the governor’s budget are: tax relief, trades education, teacher pay, and substance abuse treatment–each an area our business community is interested in. Below are some of the highlights:
  • Reduces the top marginal income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.75%.
  • Approximately 4,000 businesses will not have to pay business equipment tax with a proposed raise to the exemption threshold.
  • Nearly a half billion dollars is proposed to go toward infrastructure.
  • Revenue from cannabis sales and a tobacco settlement, expected to total $23.5 million, will go to substance abuse treatment.




Due to Covid-19, the session is functioning a little different this year, with the addition of virtual participation by the public. While Montanans would rather meet face-to-face, the inclusion of a virtual option makes it much easier for Billings and eastern Montana residents to participate in the process without making long drives and taking time away from work.
When you log onto the Zoom meeting, your camera and audio will be turned off. Once the chair calls for proponent and opponent testimony, you can click the “Raise Hand” button and wait for staff to turn your audio on. At which point you can give your testimony. Be sure to stick around in case members of the committee have questions for you.