By: Austin Trunkle | Business Outreach & Economic Development Policy Project Manager
With Montana’s 67th Legislature coming to a crescendo, there are still many decisions to be made and much work ahead of the legislators in Helena. One of the most pressing issues is how the legislature will deploy and appropriate funds that have come as a result of the American Rescue Plan. HB 632 is meant to do that work. While numerous hearings and amendments have taken place, more discussion is sure to follow as this bill makes its way through the process to become law. Big Sky Economic Development provide the Yellowstone County delegation with a list of recommendations where the ARPA dollars can make a significant difference for the region’s economic future. Some of those recommendations include investing in our local infrastructure projects (including the TEDD), assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs recovering from the pandemic, planning and constructing affordable/workforce housing, and bolstering healthcare education and bio-science innovations.
Another item expected to require lengthy discussion and debate will be the future implementation of recreational marijuana. Having been approved by the voters via an initiative in 2020, it is now up to the legislature to flesh out the details.
Three bills have risen to the top of this discussion and include HB 670 (Skees – R), HB 701 (Hopkins – R), and HB 707 (Tschida – R). Each of these bills proposes different methods of allocating tax revenue from sales and how the oversight and implementation will take place. The bills listed above were all passed by the House and will undergo additional review in the Senate.
With only a few more legislative days to go, the 67th Montana Legislature will be busy until the final day when they adjourn sine die.