Business taxes, education, campaign finance, health insurance top week's hearings

2013-02-03T00:05:00Z Business taxes, education, campaign finance, health insurance top week's hearingsGazette State Bureau The Billings Gazette
February 03, 2013 12:05 am  • 

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock’s business tax cut as well as bills on school funding, campaign finance, power lines and health insurance top this week’s hearings agenda at the Montana Legislature.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up at the Capitol:

TAXES: Gov. Steve Bullock’s proposal to eliminate property taxes on business equipment worth up to $100,000 is before the House Taxation Committee on Wednesday. Rep. Mary McNally, D-Billings, is the sponsor of House Bill 332. Room 152, 9 a.m.

EDUCATION/SCHOOL FUNDING: On Monday, the House Education Committee will hear HB307, which contains the governor’s proposal to increase state funding for public schools by an inflationary amount, totaling $22 million over two years. Rep. Edie McClafferty, D-Butte, is the sponsor. Room 137, 3 p.m.

McClafferty also is sponsoring HB15, which authorizes spending for $11.3 million in school construction projects. It will be heard Monday before the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Long-Range Planning, Room 317B, 8 a.m.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jean Price, D-Great Falls, will present HB219, which requires all public school districts in Montana to establish an anti-bullying policy. House Education Committee, Room 137, 3 p.m.

POWER LINES: On Tuesday, Sen. Debby Barrett, R-Dillon, will present Senate Bill 180, which abolishes a two-year-old law that expressly gives power-line developers the right to condemn private property to build a line. Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Room 317, 3 p.m.

HEALTH INSURANCE: HB87, which would give the state auditor power to review health insurance premium increases, will be heard Monday before the House Business and Labor Committee. Rep. Jeff Wellborn, R-Dillon, is the sponsor. Room 172, 11 a.m.

SEX OFFENDERS: Attorney General Tim Fox’s proposal to require sexual and violent offenders to submit a DNA sample to a state database will be heard Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Cliff Larsen, D-Missoula, is the sponsor of SB213. Room 303, 11 a.m.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: The House State Administration Committee on Monday will hear two bills from Rep. Rob Cook, R-Conrad, on campaign spending by outside groups.

HB254 would require any campaign material funded by anonymous donors to state that fact on the material, and HB255 would require political committees to file reports summarizing which candidates they spent money to oppose or support. Room 455, 9 a.m.

PENSIONS: Rep. Franke Wilmer, D-Bozeman, on Monday will present HB97, which caps the amount by which public employees can increase their pay in their final years to determine their pension amount. House State Administration Committee, Room 455, 9 a.m.

On Tuesday, Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula, will present HB167, which reforms the Teachers Retirement System by increasing employee contributions and raising some retirement ages. Joint Selection Committee on Pensions, Room 317A, 8:30 a.m.

HUNTING AND FISHING: Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman, on Tuesday will present SB204, which is a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit using the initiative process to pass any hunting, fishing or trapping laws. Senate Fish and Game Committee, Room 422, 3 p.m.

PRIVACY/SOCIAL MEDIA: On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB195, which would prohibit employers from requiring job applicants or employees to disclose their password or allow undue access to their social-media accounts. Sen. Anders Blewett, D-Great Falls, is the sponsor. Room 303, 9 a.m.

COAL: On Monday, Rep. Jonathan McNiven, R-Huntley, will present House Joint Resolution 9, which would put the Legislature on record supporting continued use of coal-based power in the United States and the expansion of ports to ship Montana coal overseas. House Federal Relations, Energy and Transportation Committee, Room 472, 3 p.m.

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