May 10, 2013 Issue
NOTE: This issue of Capitol Connection will be our last until the Legislature reconvenes in 2015. In June we will begin publishing our Interim Update on a monthly basis. Thank you for taking the time to read Capitol Connection over the past five months. Your time and input is appreciated.
Roadmap to Jobs Agenda Final Status Summary
Please visit the Montana Chamber website to read a summary of the final status of our Roadmap to Jobs agenda.
It Ain't Over 'til It's Over
The departure of legislators on April 24 did not mark the actual end of the lawmaking process, as hundreds of bills were transmitted to Gov. Bullock for his consideration after adjournment Sine Die. Per law, Gov. Bullock is granted 10 calendar days to consider whether to sign, veto, amendatory veto, line-item veto, or allow a bill to become law without his signature. On May 6, Gov. Bullock took action on numerous proposals that included the long-range building plan, infusions of cash into public pension programs, education funding reform, and tax cut measures, just to name a few. Here is a helpful compilation of these proposals and the Governor's action.
Chamber Encouraging Veto Overrides
Gov. Bullock vetoed a couple proposals - HB 408 and SB 240 - that would eliminate or reduce the tax on pollution control equipment citing significant fiscal impacts to the general fund. For the coming biennium, HB 408 and SB 240 would reduce revenues by $150,000. Because of HB 408's effective date for fiscal year 2015, its fiscal impact doesn't occur until the 2016-2017 biennium and amounts to about $8 million. The Montana Chamber joined Montana's Taxpayers, Contractors', Petroleum, and Wood Products associations, and the Treasure State Resource Industry Association in a letter urging legislators to support an override of the Governor's vetoes. 2/3 of each body of the Legislature must vote to override the veto to succeed. Please contact your legislators and encourage them to vote for an override, as well. Gov. Bullock also vetoed HB 218, a bill that would create a $35 million fund for infrastructure projects in Eastern Montana. The bipartisan, Interim-developed bill passed the House 93-6 and Senate 48-2. The Montana Chamber is also encouraging legislators to stick to their original vote and override the veto. This will provide infrastructure support for further development of the Bakken.
With action complete on all but a handful of bills facing possible veto overrides, it's now time to start looking ahead and preparing for the Legislative Interim - the 18-month-long period between Montana's regular legislative sessions. What will set the stage for the coming Legislative Interim are the ranking of numerous study resolutions that passed in the 2013 Session. The ranking will occur over the next couple weeks. We will report in our June Interim Update what the various interim committees will have on their plates for the next year and a half.
Register for Legislative Webinar
Government Relations Director Glenn Oppel will provide an overview of key legislation affecting the business community on Tuesday, May 14 from Noon to 1:00. Click here to register.
Voting Review Coming
The Montana Chamber is compiling our traditional Voting Review, rating legislators and the Governor on their work during the Session. That report should be complete by the end of June.