2023 Montana Legislature: Weeks Three & Four

January 31, 2023 / Comments Off on 2023 Montana Legislature: Weeks Three & Four

Blog Policy News

Welcome to MNA’s Legislative update. Although we are keeping an eye on several hundred bill draft requests, very few of them actually have language. Nonetheless we have been busy meeting with the Governor’s Office on issues related to government contracts/Grants and workforce. 


In early January we met with the Lieutenant Governor regarding the Red Tape Commission. The Administration has been focused mostly on making boards and commissions more efficient.  Our hope is to weigh in when the focus shifts to increasing efficiencies in government contracts and grants processes. Our initial recommendations are 1) streamline nonprofit grant writing procurement and reporting processes and, 2) include cost of living or other inflationary increases automatically in grants and contracts. If you have specific recommendations related to contracts and grants, please email MNA’s Membership Manager, Tylyn Newcomb. She is leading our efforts to understand more fully the policy needs of our members. 


Last week we met with Governor Gianforte and talked through several issues related to the nonprofit workforce. We made the point that nonprofit employers are not eligible for Small Business Administration services, and most nonprofits don’t interact with the Department of Commerce. And yet nonprofit employers are small businesses. Developing services for nonprofits that operate as small businesses will increase their functionality and efficiency.  One approach to this could be having a designated nonprofit liaison for any departments with more than $40 million in contracts/grants to nonprofits. 

As we discussed the need for additional childcare for employees, Governor Gianforte reviewed with us his proposed Child Tax Credit. The annual income limit on the $1200 per child credit is $50,000, which means many nonprofit employees would be eligible, particularly those in single income households. While the credit does not answer the childcare issue from our perspective, it may be positive for income eligible nonprofit staff and volunteers. 

Governor Gianforte also talked about the Office of Faith and Community Based Services which is part of DPHHS. Although the Office is still being developed, it may be an approach to the need for a nonprofit specific liaison within DPHHS.

Bill Watch

HB45 Provide Oversight and Standard for Community Benefits/Charity Care. HB45 would provide oversight and standard for community benefits/charity care for nonprofit hospitals. The bill was heard last week and has suggested amendments. MNA is monitoring pending amendments.

HB238 Provide for the Best Beginnings Scholarship Program. HB238 was heard on January 19. The bill has not been tabled and work is being done to clarify the request. MNA is monitoring pending changes.

LC2300 Require Local User Fee on Certain Exempt Property. LC2300 has not been introduced but has draft language available for review. This would essentially be a payment in lieu of taxes. If the bill moves forward, MNA would be likely to oppose. 

LC 1469 Establish the Hunters and Anglers Community Fund. LC1469 has not been introduced but has draft language available for review. This would create a grant fund for rural communities via a check-off box on the hunting/fishing license application. If the bill moves forward, MNA would be likely to support.

Not-yet-introduced bills we’re monitoring

LC1670 Scot Kerns Revise community benefit laws for NP hospitals
LC1820 Daniel Zolnikov Revise NP hospitals tax-exempt status laws
LC1821 Daniel Zolnikov Revise NP hospital community benefit spending laws
LC4171 Jeremy Trebas Revoke NP hospital property tax exemption
LC1381 Ross H Fitzgerald Generally revise land ownership tax breaks for certain NPs
LC1873 Amy Regier Revise laws related to NP organizations
LC1875 Amy Regier Revise laws related to NP organizations
LC3361 Matt Regier Revise laws for NP organizations
LC4024 Bill Mercer Generally revise laws pertaining to NP organizations
LC3187 Steve Gist Generally revise laws regarding NP governmental agencies
LC2214 Daniel Emrich Establish the NP and Charitable Organization Freedom Act
LC3382 Jeffrey W Welborn Revise gaming laws for NP and member organizations
LC4036 Ron Marshall Revise NP eligibility status laws
LC0337 Greg Hertz Generally revise laws related to conversion from NP to for profit
LC3270 Matt Regier Revise laws related to charitable trusts

Other Policy News

MNA 2023 Legislature Town Hall Recording

On January 27 MNA hosted a Town Hall session with Governor Gianforte’s Policy Director, Glenn Oppel. Director Oppel provided an excellent overview of Governor Gianforte’s budget and tax proposals. The recording is available here. 

Weekly Policy Call

Join Executive Director Liz Moore each Thursday, 12:30-1:00 p.m. throughout the Session for a Legislative Update. Register here.

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