From Senator Mike Lang On SD 17
March 3, 2021
This week marks the mid-way point of the legislative session, 45th day. It corresponds with a deadline requiring bills that do not have money associated with them to be sent to the opposite chamber of the legislature.
Many great bills survived the “transmittal” deadline, but others did not. One that did pass the Senate is SB 100, it adds fraud prevention measures to Montana’s welfare programs. This will make it harder for those individuals trying to take advantage of our system that was set up to provide support for the members of our communities that truly need a hand up. A recent audit found that DPHHS may have paid $84 million in benefits to ineligible people.
Another great bill that passed, SB 182, creates triggers that lower the personal income tax rate once certain funds are sufficiently filled. SB 182 will prevent government waste on unnecessary spending and keep more money in taxpayer’s pockets.
This week in Senate agriculture we had to bills dealing with labeling of meat products. These bills failed, but we are telling the Montana Livestock Department to get active with processes which will help the meat producers create a labeling process that shows born, raised and processed in the USA. I hope we can provide the funds to develop this program. Always remember though that USDA labeled meat products are safe.
We were real busy this past week. I presented SB 355, a bill to create fairness for Daniels County as 24% of their land is state land and 9% is tribal. These are lands which Daniels receives no property tax revenue, while Montana receives $3M from those state lands. SB 307 and SB 326 will help all irrigation districts in the state. SB 338 will protect all property owners from liability injustices. SB 230 will return 10% of the mitigation expenses created by sage grouse mitigation, to the general fund. We the taxpayer gave that fund $10M in 2015. The Senate has passed to the House, pro-life bills, which have been vetoed by the previous Governor.
While there were many successes like these, there was also some great bills that did not make it. A bill that I sponsored, SB 279, creating a custom meat processing exemption to allow for retail sales, did not survive. SB 279 would have made it easier for our livestock producers to sell meat and given consumers more options to buy local Montana product. If you agree with this concept, I encourage you to reach out to your local agriculture and livestock groups as well as our Congressional delegation; this is a very important issue that needs addressed. Another timely bill was HB 414; I co-sponsored this bill which would have prohibited discrimination based on vaccination status as well as prohibited immunity passports. This is a very important issue for the times we are living in; unfortunately, it did not survive on a tie vote. The first half of the legislature was an overall success and I look forward to helping pass great legislation in the remaining two months. Thank you for your continued support.
Call or contact me, [email protected]
Senator Mike Lang
MT SD 17
Blaine, Hill, Daniels, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley Counties
PO Box 104
Malta, MT 59538