The Montana Chamber uses the valuable partnerships it’s developed with elected officials, business leaders and associations to advocate for Montana businesses. We focus on specific public policy issues that will improve Montana’s economic competitiveness in the marketplace, and thus put our business community in a better position to thrive and prosper.
Our agenda is informed by the four pillars we’ve identified in Envision 2026, as well as our mission to create and sustain an optimal business climate, business prosperity, and a strong Montana economy.
The Montana Chamber represents a collective voice of more than 2,000 member businesses and their hundreds of thousands of employees, empowering us with the ability to be heard and to be a positive influence for the business community.
What: Increase the business equipment tax exemption from $300,000 to $1 million
Why: All kinds of businesses rely on expensive, specialized equipment for their operations. Under current statute, the first $300,000 of market value of business equipment is exempt from taxation. This change would increase that exemption to $1 million, meaning an additional 1700 Montana businesses would be exempt from paying taxes on their equipment.
Requires third-party litigation financers (TPLF) to register.
Limits interest rates TPLFs can charge plaintiffs.
Caps the share of recovery TPLFs can take from plaintiffs.
Requires TPLFs to disclose involvement to all parties.
Creates TPLF liability for court-ordered costs or penalties against the plaintiff.
Why: TPLF is a shadowy, $39 billion industry of hedge funds, wealthy individuals, and sovereign wealth funds investing in lawsuits in exchange for a share of any potential recovery. Without transparency, we can’t know the full extent of the problem or even when a third party is financing a case. These reforms protect consumers from predatory practices by TPLFs and improve transparency in our court system.
What: Align Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act (MCA 33-18-242) with model code and majority of states by eliminating application to captive insurers and self-insured where no conflict of interest exists between the insured and the insurer.
Why: Under current statute, a captive insurer or self-insured company can be subject to a bad faith claim merely for defending itself in a case. This amendment will remove unnecessary and counterproductive bad faith rules for captive insurers and self-insureds and will make Montana a more attractive captive-insured domicile.
What: Increase the fair offer-of-settlement threshold from $50,000 to $3 million
Why: This would incentivize parties in more cases to settle at reasonable amounts instead of pursuing a trial and further clogging our court system. With this change, if a party does not settle, but then the final judgement is lower than/less favorable than the original settlement offer, the rejecting party must pay the offering party’s costs and legal fees.
This rule currently applies to contract and real property claims below $50,000. The new rule would raise that threshold to $3 million.
What: Reduce the time for service of process (the amount of time to serve a case after the case has been filed) down from three years to two years.
Why: With a three-year service of process timeline on top of the three-year statute of limitations, this allows a long period of time after an event before the defendant must be served. Shortening this time frame will make the process fairer for defendants. Businesses can better provide evidence for their defense soon after it happens, rather than three years after the claim was filed.
What: Clarifies the statute of limitations for damage to real property to make clear that it does not reset with a new owner.
Why: This change clarifies that the statute of limitations starts when damage occurs and is known, regardless of whether the property changes ownership. This ensures that a damaged piece of real property cannot be sold simply to bring up a lawsuit if the statute of limitations has expired.
What: Explicitly states Montana’s position that the inclusion of a greenhouse gas and climate analysis in a Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review is not required.
Why: The courts have now decided that state agencies must analyze global impacts–but only inside Montana’s border. This is scientifically unworkable. MEPA is procedural. It is not regulatory, and it was never intended to be. HB971 is critical to clarify that MEPA, a procedural act, may not be used as a regulatory tool to stop properly permitted projects based on whether unregulated greenhouse gases were adequately analyzed.