Legislative Week in Review
April 17 - April 19, 2023
Legislative Mid-Week in Review
This week’s review comes a couple days early owing to the schedules of your intrepid legislative observers. Plenty of action is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, including House Bill 2 on the Senate Floor and HB 5 in Senate Finance and Claims. Look for full updates next week. In the meantime, there is no shortage of new information to pass along.
HB 2 (General Appropriations Act)
With the MUS budget still unchanged, the Senate Finance and Claims Committee last week voted 19-0 to send HB 2 to the Senate floor for debate, consideration of amendments, and a 2nd Reading vote. The full Senate is expected to consider HB 2 on Friday.
HB 5 (Long-range building appropriations)
The Senate Finance and Claims Committee heard HB 5 on 4/14 and is expected to act on the measure later this week. Funding and authority for MUS projects remain unchanged. Information about any amendments adopted by the committee that affect MUS projects will be included in the next update.
HB 10 (Long-range information technology financings and appropriations)
The Senate Finance and Claims Committee voted 19-0 on 4/13 to send HB 10 to the Senate floor. The bill has been amended but continues to include an appropriation of $6.1 million to the MUS for the University of Montana’s cybersecurity initiative. A date for debate on the Senate floor has not yet been set.
HB 288 (Tuition waivers for Native American students)
The Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee will hear HB 288 on 4/19.
HB 496 (Provide for health care preceptor individual income tax credit)
The MUS testified in support of HB 496 at its early April hearing in the Senate Taxation Committee. Last week, the committee voted 7-5 to send the bill to the Senate Floor for debate. The Senate concurred in the bill on a 27-23 vote and referred it to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, which on 4/19 tabled the measure 12-7.
HB 517 (Constitutional amendment regarding Board of Regents)
The MUS stood in strong opposition to HB 517 during its hearing on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary committee voted 7-4 along party lines to send the bill to the full Senate for consideration. The Senate has not yet scheduled the bill for 2nd Reading.
HB 749 (Revise Montana digital academy laws)
Last week, the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee concurred in HB 749 and the full Senate followed suit on a 32-18 vote. If enacted, this bill would require participation on the digital academy governing board by a member of the Board of Regents or a designee and would require detailed reporting to the Legislature’s Education interim policy and budget committees.
HB 797 (Requiring reports to the Office of Budget and Program Planning on information
related to financial assistance to tribal entities)
HB 797 requires designated agencies, including OCHE, that have distributed funds to a tribal entity or have received or retained funds related to a program that indirectly or directly provides financial assistance to a tribal entity to report that information to OBPP. This bill is through the process and being prepared for the Governor’s signature.
HB 944 (Establish the Montana in-demand skilled trades investment pilot program)
After passing in the House on an 80-19 vote, HB 944 has been transmitted to the Senate and referred to the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee, which will hear the bill on 4/21.
HB 946 (Implement provisions of HB 2 – Section E)
This bill, which will be heard in Senate Finance and Claims on 4/20, requires OCHE to report to the Education Interim Budget Committee on the funding provided to the tribal colleges for High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) preparation.
HB 949 (Generally revise education laws related to data governance)
HB 949 easily cleared the House on a 92-5 vote and the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee voted 11-0 last week to send the bill to the full Senate for debate, which is scheduled for 2nd Reading on 4/19.
HB 950 (Establish the Student and Administration Equality Act)
After passing the House on a 65-34 vote, HB 950 has been referred to the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee, which will hear the bill on 4/21. A Legal Review Note, prepared by the Legislative Services Division’s legal staff, discusses potential constitutional concerns associated with Article X, section 9(2) of the Montana Constitution.
Legislative Day: 77
Percent complete: 85.56%