2021 Legislature

Bill Positions

Support

HB 17 - Extend alternative energy tax credits to all income levels

Rep. Jim Hamilton (D-Bozeman)

HB 17 would revise the state alternative energy system tax credit (currently up to $500) to be fully refunded if the tax credit amount exceeds the tax liability of an individual. (In other words, if an individual only owes $100 in state income taxes, they could receive the remaining $400 of this tax credit as a refund.) Currently, the tax credit is lost for those who are required to pay little or no state income taxes, meaning this financial tool is reserved for the most affluent Montanans. This bill removes barriers to clean energy making it more feasible for middle and lower income families to go solar!

STATUS: Tabled in the House Taxation Committee on 1/15/21.


HB 35 - Protect indigenous communities by establishing a missing persons review commission

Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D-Crow Agency)

HB 35 would establish a permanent review commission housed within the Montana Department of Justice to examine the trends and patterns of missing indigenous persons in Montana; educate the public, law enforcement, and policy makers about their findings; and recommend policies, practices, and strategies – including collaboration between jurisdictions – to deal with this preventable crisis. Ensuring the personal safety of all Montanans is essential work before we can meaningfully and fully address issues of conservation and environmental protection.


HB 36 - Fund training for community-based missing persons response teams

Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D-Crow Agency)

HB 36 would establish a fund and program in the Montana Department of Justice for the purpose of training community response teams to address the preventable crisis of missing indigenous peoples. Ensuring the personal safety of all Montanans is essential work before we can meaningfully and fully address issues of conservation and environmental protection.


HB 94 - Expand support for Montana’s next generation of ag producers

Rep. Kenneth Walsh (R-Twin Bridges)

HB 94 would expand the Montana Agriculture Student Loan Assistance Program. If passed, the program would include assistance for student loans from private lenders beyond current law, which only provides assistance for federal student loans. College-educated farmers and ranchers who are Montana residents can apply for loan assistance from the state for up to 5 years at a rate of $5,000 per year (up to $25,000), with a sum not to exceed 50% of the total loan amount. This bill would give young farmers and ranchers a leg up as they begin their careers, extending Montana’s ag traditions into the next generation! 


HB 98 - Keep Montana’s Indigenous communities safe while extending LINC grant

Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D-Crow Agency)

Similar to SB 4, HB 98 would extend the Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force until 2023 in order to improve cooperation and accountability between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement while addressing jurisdictional barriers. This bill would also include a LINC (looping in native communities) grant, which would fund efforts and coordination by Montana tribes to identify, report, and find missing Native American persons. The disproportionate threat to indigenous peoples’ health and safety must be addressed before we can meaningfully tackle conservation issues.


HB 99 - Defend Montana energy customers from pre-approval

Rep. Denise Hayman (D-Bozeman)

HB 99 would repeal the “pre-approval” process from state law. Pre-approval allows Montana’s largest monopoly energy utility, NorthWestern Energy, to get permission from the Public Service Commission to shift the costs of operating and maintaining power generation facilities to customers. This creates a dynamic where captive ratepayers assume the financial risks of these acquisitions while executives and shareholders enjoy the profits. NorthWestern tried to use this scheme in 2020 to buy a larger share of the aging Colstrip Power Plant. HB 99 would protect consumers by ensuring power companies can’t shift all of their business risks and costs onto customers for generations to come.


HB 150 - $10/ton price on excessive climate pollution

Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell (D - Helena)

HB 150 would work to address the climate crisis by creating a tax for large-scale greenhouse gas polluters. Climate pollution harms human health, disrupts our agricultural systems, and is a drag on Montana’s economy. HB 150 would create a modest tax of $10 per ton of greenhouse gas pollution with funds going towards coal community transition, cleanup of contaminated energy production sites, state infrastructure, and other broad initiatives. The tax would only apply to entities producing 25,000 metric tons of carbon pollution or more each year.  HB 150 would also require the state to implement a plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by specific percentages with targets set for 2035 and 2050.

 


SB 4 - Keep Montana’s Indigenous Communities Safe

Sen. Jason Small (R – Busby)

In Montana, indigenous peoples are 4 times more likely to go missing than non-indigenous people. SB 4 would extend the Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force until 2023 in order to improve cooperation and accountability between federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement while addressing jurisdictional barriers. The disproportionate threat to indigenous peoples’ health and safety must be addressed before we can meaningfully tackle conservation issues. Personal safety for all is a prerequisite for accomplishing any other work.


SB 7 - Expand and extend alternative energy tax credits for all

Sen. Jill Cohenour (D - East Helena)

Similar to HB 17, SB 7 would revise the state alternative energy system tax credit to be refunded if the tax credit amount exceeds the tax liability of an individual. SB 7 would also increase the tax credit from $500 to as much as $800 per individual. As an example, if an individual only owes $100 in state income taxes, they would receive the remaining $700 of this tax credit as a refund. This bill increases incentives and expands access to clean energy to all income levels!


SB 59 - Enable more efficient energy planning

Sen. Mary McNally (D - Billings)

SB 59 would allow energy utilities to submit 20-year resource plans every two or three years, rather than the more prescriptive 3 year mandate currently in law. This flexibility would allow utilities like Montana Dakota Utilities to coordinate their planning with other states, making for a more efficient and beneficial regional planning system.


Oppose

HB 176 - Diminish Montanans’ democratic right to vote

Rep. Sharon Greef (R – HD88)
TAKE ACTION

HB 176 would make it harder for Montanans to register to vote, diminishing our democratic right to have a say in who represents us and what decisions are made that affect our lives. HB 176 would ban voter registration after 5 p.m. the Friday before an election and ban same day voter registration. Diminishing these voting rights could disproportionately affect working people, single parents, and other Montanans whose busy lives and work schedules bring challenges to accessing polling places during regular hours. Ensuring citizens have a say in the policies that affect our land, water, and lives is a fundamental value of Northern Plains. Any effort to curtail voting rights is a threat to our core values.

TAKE ACTION: Call (406) 444-4800 and ask to leave a message for the House State Administration Committee. Tell them to VOTE NO on HB 176!


SB 85 - Kill renewable energy with excessive taxation

Sen. Duane Ankney (R - Colstrip)

SB 85 would double the taxes required by wind energy developments in Montana, essentially ensuring that this renewable energy source would be too costly to develop in our state. Wind energy in Montana is needed to transition the entire Northwest region to renewable energy and is essential to addressing the climate crisis. This excessive and burdensome tax on wind would box out future development and result in a loss of tax revenue and new jobs for local counties and communities.