Opinion

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Letter

Bills of Interest to the Flathead Valley

It is the halfway point of the 90-day session

The 66th Montana Legislative Assembly reached its midpoint known as transmittal. This is when general bills in the Senate and House have to be transmitted to the other chamber. It is the halfway point of the 90-day session. The general bills that were tabled in committee would require rule changes to advance so most likely are dead. The following are some bills of interest to the Flathead Valley that were passed by the Senate and are on their way to the House for their approval.

SB 300 will prevent homeowners’ associations (HOA) from imposing more onerous restrictions on a property owner’s basic rights than when the property owner acquired the property. It will prevent an HOA from changing the covenants after a person buys a house unless the owner wishes to have the changes. SJ 12 is a joint resolution of the Senate and House supporting the payment of compensation to Montana for losses incurred and benefits realized downstream due to the construction of Libby Dam. The Kootenai River enters the U.S. by Eureka and flows by Libby and back into Canada by the Idaho border. Canada has been able to build generating facilities below Libby Dam because of the flood control that the dam provides. SJ 12 asks for compensation for flooding from Lake Koocanusa and for the economic benefit it provides to Canada. SB 286 would prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to have a microchip implanted in the employee’s body as a condition of employment. Some companies use embedded microchips for security purposes. SB 286 would not allow that unless the employee consents. SB 217 revises the taxation of Social Security benefits. It changes the exempt base amount to $30,000 for individuals filing a single or head of household income tax return, $60,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return and $30,000 for individuals with a married filing separate return. At full implementation, SB 217 would leave $21 million in seniors’ pockets.

Bills can be tracked through the legislative process at leg.mt.gov.

Sen. Keith Regier
R-Kalispell