Legislative news from Rep. Knudsen
April 14, 2021
The House passed three comprehensive recreational marijuana implementation bills this week. These bills take different approaches to the regulation of recreational marijuana but they all respect the will of voters and ensure proper safeguards are in place. These bills will now go to the Senate, and most likely a conference committee, to decide the safest and most effective way to open the recreational marijuana market in Montana that voters approved. Local control is important and communities will get to decide whether they want sales in their jurisdiction or not.
The House sent a series of important House Bills this week to the Governor now that they have passed the full Legislature. These include House Bill 43 to expand telehealth, House Bill 163 to expand the membership of the FWP Commission, House Bill 176 to roll back late voter registration, House Bill 252 to provide a Career & Technical Education employer tax credit, House Bill 349 to protect campus free speech, House Bill 223 to prevent Montana from becoming a sanctuary state, and House Bills 543 and 611 to ensure that American Flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the U.S. Constitution are in schools.
The House also passed several Senate Bills that are important to rural Montana. These include Senate Bill 233 which moves the Environmental Review Board’s responsibilities to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Senate Bill 358 which requires the DEQ to issue new nitrate standards, Senate Bill 306 which requires at least two of the FWP Commission members to be landowners, and Senate Bill 199 which is the Local Food Choice Act giving Montanans more food freedom.
The Senate passed HB 2, the state budget, this week. It keeps state spending below inflation and population growth which is what free-market think tanks recommend. The budget now goes to a House and Senate conference committee. As the Legislature winds down to our final few weeks, Republican leaders remain committed to reining in state spending and growth.
Casey Knudsen (R-Malta) is the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Montana House of Representatives