Regier gives update on bills

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The Montana Legislature has finished 60 days of its 90 day session. The following are some Senate revenue bills that have passed the Senate recently and are on their way to the House for their approval.

SB 125 establishes the Montana Reinsurance Association Program. This bill will assess 1.2 percent on health insurance premiums. These funds will be used to stabilize or reduce premium rates in the individual market and mitigate the impact of high-cost individuals. It should help those that have trouble getting insurance because of preexisting conditions.

SB 320 revises laws concerning animal welfare hearings. This bill will have animal owners accused of animal cruelty post a bond for the cost of the care for those animals. It allows for any inured or diseased animals to be euthanized if a veterinarian determines they are not likely to recover. It should help reduce the costs counties incur in these cases. If the owner is found not guilty of animal cruelty the animal will be returned as well as the full amount of the bond along with fair market value for any losses.

SB 256 revises harvested game animal transfer laws. A person licensed to hunt and authorized to possess a carcass of a game animal that requires mandatory department biological inspection may transfer possession of all or part of that game animal to any person at any time after leaving the site of the kill. A validated tag and statement of possession must accompany the carcass.

SB 318 provides for pre-approval of property tax abatement for new or expanding industry (NEI). Currently, a taxpayer requesting an NEI local property tax abatement must have a construction permit before the application can be approved by the local governing body. SB 318 would allow taxpayers to submit project plans in advance of construction application.

These bills and others can be tracked through the legislature at leg.mt.gov.

Republican Keith Regier represents Senate District 3 in the Montana Legislature.

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