The Economic Affairs Interim Committee (EAIC) adopted a work plan at its Sept. 11 meeting to include studies of alcohol laws and broadband along with studies of how the lodging facility use tax is distributed and whether changes in occupational licensing laws might improve work opportunities for those convicted of crimes.
The committee will decide the scope of each of its studies at its Nov. 7 meeting. Although assigned to study meat inspection laws, the committee voted not to do that study and will return House Joint Resolution 29 to the Legislative Council for either reassignment or agreement with the committee’s determination not to undertake a study of federal meat inspection laws that set the base requirements for state meat inspections.
In choosing to study alcohol laws, the committee asked first that stakeholders strive to determine if agreements are possible among themselves. If no agreement is reached by mid-February, the committee members said, they would want to look at what changes might be possible for laws affecting manufacturers of liquor, wine, and beer, as well as alcohol retailers, distributors, and related interests.
One of the member issues elevated to an interim study status will involve a look at workers’ compensation premiums in light of Senate Bill 160, which created for firefighters affected by certain health conditions an ability to claim presumptive coverage for workers’ compensation rather than being required to prove a link between the disease and their work. The other member issue accorded study time is access to and cost for broadband in Montana.
The committee members also heard from three of the state entities assigned to the EAIC: the Department of Livestock about conditions and concerns of Montana ranchers, the State Auditor’s Office regarding insurance and securities activities in Montana, and Montana State Fund, which provides the guaranteed market for workers’ compensation coverage in this state.
As part of its routine duties, the committee accepted two reports on rules for the agencies the EAIC monitors. For one of the just-released rules, the committee decided to send a letter to the Department of Labor and Industry asking for more information on a Board of Dentistry rule affecting denturists. That information will be presented at the EAIC’s Nov. 7 meeting. Information on the meeting is available on the committee website or from committee staff.
Committee website: https://leg.mt.gov/committees/interim/2019eaic/
Committee staff: firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-444-3594.