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Montana Legislature Report for Timber Harvesters and Haulers – Week 6

Montana Legislative Session Update - Week 6

By Jason Todhunter, MLA’s hard-working representative.

Below are some highlights from week six of Montana’s 68th Legislative session, including some bills to monitor in the coming months that will have an impact on MLA members:

SB 121 – Reduce the top marginal income tax rate and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC (Becky Beard)

Update: This bill passed in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and is headed to the House for consideration. Support - This bill, which you may hear referred to in the news as a “tax break for the rich,” will reduce income tax for everyone making more than $20,500 per year. It reduces the top rate from 6.5% to 5.9%. Montana has extra money this year, and this bill will put a little bit more back into the ole paycheck.

HB 212 – Increase the business equipment tax exemption (Joshua Kassmier)

Update: This bill will be heard in the Senate Tax committee this week. Support - This bill will raise the tax exemption from the current $300,000 level to $1 million of your class 8 business equipment tax. It is a great bill that will backfill the counties and help businesses grow without raising taxes on your home. It is a true exemption that will give everyone a break from this regressive tax.

SB 47Revise Commercial Driver's License laws to comply with federal requirements (Theresa Manzella)

Update: This bill was killed on the Senate floor on Monday, February 13. If this law is to be fixed, the House must do it. If they don’t fix the law, it will be interesting to see what happens. Support - This bill requires the DMV to check to see if someone applying for a first-time Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is cleared on the Entry Level Driver Training requirements and drug/alcohol clearinghouse. Currently, federal law already requires this check. This bill failed last session, and now that the federal law is in effect, this needs to be fixed! If Montana issues CDLs without checking, they could be issuing CDLs to an ineligible driver, and the business hiring them would be hung out to dry by the feds and lawyers if this isn’t fixed.

Keep an eye out for more updates on comparable legislative proposals in the coming months. In the meantime, for those of you with the time/passion for following the legislative process:

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