HELENA – A legislative interim committee will look on April 14 at the costs and regulations that affect about one-fifth of Montana's workforce, those people who must have state licenses for their profession. The Economic Affairs Committee also will hear about a proposal for Montana State Fund to buy from the City of Helena a parking garage next to the State Fund building. The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. in Room 137 of the Capitol. The public is welcome to attend.
The licensing board discussions will include information from a Federal Trade Commission attorney who will review, by phone from Washington DC, how a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision may affect Montana licensing boards in potential antitrust cases. Representatives of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, which oversees the licensing boards, also will comment on possible impacts of the ruling in the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners case, which found in favor of the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust complaint. Other topics related to boards include funding options, which is part of a study directed by Senate Bill 390 in the 2015 Legislature.
In other meeting topics, Montana State Fund President Laurence Hubbard and Helena City Manager Ron Alles will provide background on the costs and benefits of a sale of a multi-tiered parking garage to State Fund. State Fund currently leases about 350 spaces in the parking garage, located adjacent to the State Fund building at 855 Front St. One appraised value for the garage is $7.5 million. The city is considering either a sale or a revision to the terms for the bonds sold to build the parking facility.
The eight-member legislative interim committee also will continue its yearlong review of Board of Livestock budget concerns, hear more about broadband access and costs in rural Montana, and get an update from the State Auditor's Office on a working group related to air ambulance costs. The work group is exploring solutions to high balance bills that have threatened to bankrupt some Montanans who have needed air ambulance services.
The public will have an opportunity to comment; any comment will be archived as part of the committee's public record. Members of the public interested in listening in on the Internet or watching via TVMT local television channels may visit the legislative home page at www.leg.mt.gov for more information on streaming or broadcast.
Members of the committee are: Presiding Officer Ryan Lynch, D-Butte, Vice Presiding Officer Gordon Vance, R-Bozeman, and senators Tom Facey, D-Missoula, Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek, and Lea Whitford, D-Cut Bank, plus representatives Mike Lang, R-Malta, Nate McConnell, D-Missoula, and Vince Ricci, R-Laurel.
For more information contact staff for the committee, Pat Murdo, at 406-444-3594, or firstname.lastname@example.org.