“There aren’t better advocates for Montana’s small businesses than Todd O’Hair and the Montana Chamber of Commerce and I look forward to continuing our work together to make Montana the best state in the country to do business.”

      – Governor Greg Gianforte from 2024 Business Days at the Capitol

Read the full press release here: https://bit.ly/3vDbW3r

For us, it was a privilege to facilitate a compelling discussion with Governor Gianforte at the sold-out 2024 Business Days at the Capitol. Being integral policy partners to our 2,000+ members, fostering collaboration with public officials is paramount in tackling challenges and capitalizing on opportunities for the business community in the Treasure State.

We deeply appreciate the robust relationship we maintain with the Governor’s office, members of his Cabinet, and our legislative Champions of Business, whose support played a pivotal role in the successful passage of our unprecedented 10 bills during the 68th Session.

Our policy 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

Be sure to save the date for next year’s Business Days, January 8-9, 2025 at the Delta Colonial Helena, to kick off the 69th Legislative Session.

The 68th Montana legislative SessioN


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.


  • Strengthen transparency and reporting requirements for ballot initiatives.
  • Ballot initiative filing fee.
  • Streamline agency review timelines.
  • Prohibit electronic signatures.

Why: These changes maintain trust in ballot initiatives by ensuring legitimacy of proposed ballot initiatives, improving transparency in the process, and mandating financial reporting compliance.


  • Allows comparative fault defense when other parties contributed to the injury.
  • Strengthens product misuse defense.
  • Creates defenses for compliance with government safety regulations.
  • Creates 10-year statute of repose.
  • Creates innocent-seller defense for retailers that sold the product unchanged from the manufacturer.

Why: Common sense reforms to current product liability law protect manufacturers and Montana businesses.


  • 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.


  • Requires that time-limited settlement demand letters reasonably describe the claim, include relevant records, and allow 60 days for acceptance.
  • Requires claimants provide reasonable records and information insurers need for timely, reasonable claims settlement.

Why: Trial lawyers frequently abuse time-limited settlement demand letters and withhold information necessary for insurance companies to settle claims fairly and expeditiously.


  • Requires claimants to cooperate with insurers investigating/adjusting claims.
  • Replaces common-law bad faith claims with statutory rights

Why: Expedite reasonable claims adjustment and limit abusive practices by trial lawyers.

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.


2023 Capitol Connection

Sen. Steve Kirkpatrick (SD 10 – Great Falls) received the “Most Valuable Policymaker” Award and Lt. Gov. Kristen Juras received the “Red Tape Eliminator” Award at the 2024 Business Days at the Capitol.

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