Legislative Update, January 8

Legislative Update, January 8

Hello Members, the Montana Legislative Session is underway! We have two new faces on our government relations team, Kim Mangold and Rachel Prevost. Many of you know Kim from her days as the Deputy Director for the Montana Department of Agriculture. Rachelis a recent graduate of Carroll College. She grew up on a farm and ranch near Lambert, Montana. Rachel spent the 2019 Legislative session as a legislative intern with Northern Plains Resource Council. Rachel and Kim are always available to our members. We encourage you to reach out to Kim or Rachel with questions, or if you would like to volunteer to help with the legislative work. Welcome Rachel and Kim!

Kim Mangold, Government Affairs Director
Rachael Prevost, MFU Lobbyist

Each week MFU will bring you a legislative update provided the MFU government relations and communications team. These updates will include information on bills MFU is monitoring. In addition, the legislative updates will include bill status, position statements on legislation, samples of testimony, hearing information and a preview of the following week’s legislative action.

Legislative Update for the week of January 4-8:

MFU Legislative Priorities:

  • Country-of-Origin Labeling: LC0371; Sponsor: Rep. Frank Smith — Generally revise certain labeling laws: Country of Origin Placarding bill. This bill will require a placard identifying the Country-of-Origin to be placed near beef and pork products in retail locations. This is a top priority bill for MFU. We are working with Rep. Frank Smith, Rep. Willis Curdy, and Sen. Tom Jacobsen on this bill.
  • Right to Repair: LC1562; Sponsor Rep. Katie Sullivan – Generally revise laws related to equipment repair: This bill would provide that the manufacturers of electronics enabled equipment provide farmers and ranchers, as well as independent repair shops, the tools necessary to repair their own equipment. We working with Rep. Katie Sullivan, Sen. Mark Sweeny, and Rep. Willis Curdy on this bill.

Bills of Support:

  • Product of USA resolution: Resolution to provide a “Product of the USA” label for beef and pork born raised and processed in the United States.  This will align with the current federal mandate enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. 
  • Appropriate Funds for Doubling SNAP Dollars: LC1424; Sponsor: Rep. Andrea Olsen — The Double SNAP Dollars program allows for Montanans who face food insecurity to afford more local fruit and vegetables. State investment would not only provide stability for current operating sites (participating farmers markets and farm share markets), but also allow the program to improve food security for vulnerable families and improve health outcomes. Montana Farmers Union supports this bill because it will boost local food systems and prevent food insecurity among vulnerable Montanans.  
  • Commercial Property-Assessed Capital Enhancements Programs: LC0662; Sponsor: Mary McNally–This bill creates a financing program that would allow Montana producers to make energy efficiency upgrades to their property. Montana Farmers Union supports this bill because it encourages energy conservation practices and creates more jobs.
  • Soil Health Study:LC1256; Sponsor: Sen. Pat Flowers – This bill would dedicate an interim committee to study the viability of a comprehensive soil health program in the state of Montana. This Soil Health Study bill will help guide and educate an interim committee on soil health measures in order to develop policy recommendations state and federal decision makers. Montana Farmers Union supports this bill because it will allow stakeholders within the state to develop a plan of possibilities that will work for Montana.

Bills of Interest Coming up In Committee:

Clarify use of tribal agreements for livestock producers within reservations: SB 26; Sponsor Sen. Bruce Gillespie  ***Hearing scheduled for January 12 at 3:00 PM

              This bill is to make sure that those who have livestock loss and use tribal land to run their cattle will not be exempt from the livestock loss program.  

              Specific changes include:

Section 1. Section 2-15-3112, MCA, is amended to read: “2-15-3112. Livestock loss mitigation program — definitions. The livestock loss board shall establish and administer a program to reimburse livestock producers for livestock losses caused by wolves, mountain lions, and grizzly bears, subject to the following provisions:

(1) The board shall establish eligibility requirements for reimbursement, which must provide that all Montana livestock producers are eligible for coverage for losses by wolves, mountain lions, and grizzly bears to cattle, swine, horses, mules, sheep, goats, llamas, and livestock guard animals on state,        federal, tribal, and private land and on tribal land that is eligible through agreement pursuant to2-15-3113(2).

(2) (a) Confirmed and probable livestock losses must be reimbursed at an amount not to exceed fair market value as determined by the board.

(b) Before the board may issue a reimbursement for losses to a livestock producer eligible for coverage for losses, the department of revenue shall certify that the livestock producer has paid per capita fees as required by 15-24-921. Except for a tribal member or tribal entity participating in an authorized agreement pursuant to 2-15-3113, a livestock producer may not receive a reimbursement for losses until the producer has paid any delinquent per capita fees.

  • Allow multiplier reimbursement for loss of livestock: SB 27; Sponsor: Sen. Butch Gillespie  ***Hearing scheduled for January 12 at 3:00 PM

                Specific changes include: Section 1. Section 2-15-3112, MCA, is amended to read:

2-15-3112. Livestock loss mitigation program — definitions. The livestock loss board shall establish and administer a program to reimburse livestock producers for livestock losses caused by wolves, mountain lions, and grizzly bears, subject to the following provisions:

(1) The board shall establish eligibility requirements for reimbursement, which must provide that all Montana livestock producers are eligible for coverage for losses by wolves, mountain lions, and grizzly bears to cattle, swine, horses, mules, sheep, goats, llamas, and livestock guard animals on state, federal, and private land and on tribal land that is eligible through agreement pursuant to 2-15-3113(2).

(2) (a) Confirmed and probable livestock losses must be reimbursed at an amount not to exceed fair market value as determined by the board Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), the board may reimburse confirmed and probable livestock losses at an amount not to exceed the fair market value of the livestock.

(b) The board may reimburse confirmed and probable livestock losses by paying a multiplier of the fair market value of the livestock based on a board-determined region.

(b)(c) Before the board may issue a reimbursement for losses to a livestock producer eligible for coverage for losses, the department of revenue shall certify that the livestock producer has paid per capita fees as required by 15-24-921. Except for a tribal member or tribal entity participating in an authorized agreement pursuant to 2-15-3113, a livestock producer may not receive a reimbursement for losses until the producer has paid any delinquent per capita fees.

(3) Other losses may be reimbursed at rates determined by the board.

Contact us with questions and to volunteer with our legislative efforts!

Visit our website at montanafarmersunion.com to keep up with all the legislative action, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for legislative news and updates!

Important Dates:

Please join us Wednesdays at 2 p.m. for a legislative webinar update presented by Kim Mangold and Rachel Prevost. Also on Wednesday, January 13 @ 2 p.m. we will hold a legislative advocacy training for members: Your Voice in the Legislature 101.

 

Cattlemen U Live Event

July 22, 2021 - July 25, 2021