2017 Montana Legislature

Final Session Update – May 1

The 65th Montana Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Friday, April 28, 2017. As expected, the budget for the next biennium was the prevailing focus throughout the session, but there were numerous successful outcomes on bills of importance to Montana grain growers. The following list is a recap of bills we’ve been reporting on this session – note that some bills are awaiting signature by Governor Bullock before becoming law.

Bills that survived:

HB 2 – General Appropriations Act
Includes $100,000 each year of biennium for Montana Seed Lab manager; and $2.0 mil additional spending authority for Montana Wheat & Barley Committee to transition from fiscal to calendar year budget.
Status: Signed by Speaker

HB 115 – Revise agricultural implements and machinery appraisal laws
Revises which guides are to be used for valuing ag implements and machinery.
Status: Chapter number assigned

HB 126 – Generally revise the Montana pesticides act
Revises pesticide registration and licensing fees; fund MSU Extension private applicator education program.
Status: Transmitted to governor. 

HB 131 – Revise reports and fees for produce, seed, feed, fertilizer
Revises reporting and fees and sets penalty for late payment.
Status: Transmitted to governor.

HB 365 – Revise underground utility laws
Revises laws regarding excavations or soil disturbance near underground facilities like pipelines.
Status: Transmitted to governor.

HB 466 – Allow credit and debit card purchases as evidence for ag use estimate
Allows use of credit or debit card purchases to estimate ag use of special fuel.
Status: Transmitted to governor 

HB 541 – Revise small brewery laws
Increases the annual number of barrels a small brewery may produce from 10,000 to 60,000.
Status: Transmitted to governor

HB 614 – Exempts pulse processing equipment from property taxation
Exempts pulse processing equipment placed into service after Dec 31, 2017 from property taxation until Dec 31, 2027.
Status: Transmitted to governor

SB 155 – Prohibit local government regulation of agricultural seeds
Allows consistency of agricultural seed regulation by the state.
Status: Returned from enrolling

SB 285 – Establish the Montana Pulse Crop Committee
Creates a Montana Pulse Crop Committee to replace the current Pulse Crop Advisory Committee.
Status: Transmitted to governor

Bills that died:

HB 158 – Revise commercial fertilizer assessment laws
Exempt companies from paying the fertilizer assessment on product delivered into Montana and intended for final sale out of state.
Status: Missed transmittal

HB 284 – Revise funding for food and agriculture development centers
Increase amount of annual distribution from Board of Research and Commercialization to the Montana Food and Agricultural Development program.
Status: Missed transmittal

HB 410 – Increase funding for noxious weed trust fund
Increase vehicle registration fees in order to increase funding for noxious weed control.
Status: Missed transmittal

HB 631 – Provide student loan forgiveness for new farmers
Use Montana Growth Through Ag money to fund an assistance program to allow direct repayment of educational loans for eligible farmers/ranchers.
Status: Died in Senate

SB 247 – Prohibit neonicotinoid insecticides and require state pollinator report.
​Prohibit the outdoor use of neonicotinoid insecticides.
Status: Missed transmittal

SB 327 – Reduce the Montana business equipment tax
Increase the Class 8 business equipment tax exemption for a person or business entity from the first $100,000 to the first $350,000 of market value.
Status: Missed transmittal

SB 328 – Generally revise alcohol tax laws
Increase excise tax on beer, wine and liquor.
Status: Missed transmittal

LC 2190 – Limit liability for trespassing livestock
Exempt livestock owner within a herd district from liability for damage caused by a trespassing animal unless the owner was negligent.
Status: Draft cancelled