Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Legislators fullfiling conservative mandate

by Wylie Galt, Casey Knudsen and Sue Vinton
| March 7, 2021 12:00 AM

The Leadership of the Montana House of Representatives is proud of the early accomplishments the Legislature has achieved on behalf of the people of Montana. The session has received robust participation and we have done our work in a safe environment for everyone involved.

Several key pieces of legislation have been signed into law. These include House Bill (HB) 102 which expands the right to self-defense and Senate Bill 65 which prevents frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits allowing Montana’s economy to safely open up. Montana voters sent legislators to Helena with a conservative mandate, which we are fulfilling.

Other priority bills are close to being sent to the governor. Bills to strengthen jobs and the economy that have passed the House include HB 303 to increase the business equipment tax exemption and HB 252 which creates employer tax credits for career and technical education opportunities. Addressing health care, we passed HB 43 to expand telehealth and HB 231 to eliminate burdensome certificate of need laws. The House has worked to rein in local and state health emergency powers by passing HBs 230 and 121. These bills require the Legislature to be involved with emergency declarations at the state level and elected officials at the local level. Both protect religious activities during emergency declarations.

We are protecting Montana’s checkbook by critically reviewing state agency budgets. We have passed responsible tax cuts that will spur economic growth. Legislation is headed to the governor which expands individual rights and freedoms. Bills to reform the FWP, DNRC, and provide additional outdoor opportunities are moving forward.

Education and health care reform packages are going to expand options for Montana families to stay healthy and succeed.

Finally, House Republicans have blocked numerous bad bills which would raise taxes, hurt jobs and weaken our local economies.

In the second half of the legislative session, we will be focused on passing a conservative state budget for the coming biennium. The Appropriations Subcommittees are finishing their reviews of state agency budgets and will come together after transmittal to begin crafting House Bill 2 which is the state’s budget.

Rep. Wylie Galt, R-Martinsdale, is House Speaker; Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, is House Speaker Pro Tempore; Rep. Sue Vinton, R-Billings, is House Majority Leader