Montana State Legislature
Member Topics & Emerging Issues
Member Topics & Emerging Issues
Interim committees may take up other matters related to the agencies and topic areas they oversee. Depending on whether members put greater or less emphasis on their statutory duties related to interim studies and agency monitoring, they have more time to focus on EAIC-relevant member issues.
Members may propose investigation of emerging issues at any time during the interim. Agencies may also request that the Committee study an emerging issue that has resulted from court decisions, federal actions, or another cause.
Emerging issues are not necessarily member issues and may be raised by an agency or by staff. However, to be on the agenda, the presiding officer or other EAIC member must request agenda time.
Department of Labor & Industry Unemployment Technology Solution
The Committee chose to incorporate this member topic with the HJ 49 study on benefits cliffs. At the November 2021 meeting, the Committee asked the Department of Labor & Industry to provide an analysis on several options for a new unemployment technology solution, and include in the analysis what the cost would be for each solution, the timeline to implement, the benefits to the agency, and the benefits to the end user. The Department plans to provide the analysis by the February 2022 meeting.
At the February 2022 meeting, the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) provided the Committee a memo indicating the project to modernize its unemployment insurance technology has been incorporated into the State IT Plan. Staff suggested the Committee invite DLI to the June 2022 meeting during the joint work session with the Section A Interim Budget Committee in order to allow DLI time for additional research.
At the June 2022 meeting, the state CIO, Kevin Gilbertson, gave testimony on the project and indicated the procurement process was nearing an end, and the agency was likely to contract with a vendor by the end of the fiscal year. The committee was satisfied with the hearing and decided not to take further action on this member issue.
Department of Livestock Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program
The Department of Livestock gave a presentation on the status of the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program at the February 2022 meeting. As part of the presentation, the Committee received a timeline of the actions taken by the Department to date on getting approved for the CIS program. The committee asked questions on the difference between the CIS program and the Interstate Cooperative Meatpacking Compact, as established in House Bill 336 during the 2021 session. The full hearing is available in the February 9, 2022 minutes. After the hearing, the Committee decided not to take further action on this member issue.
Alcoholic Beverage Control Division - Brewery License Transfer Process
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Division gave a presentation on the brewery license transfer process at the February 2022 meeting. As part of the presentation, the Committee received a copy of the domestic brewery license application, heard about the application process, and asked questions about why some license transfers are more cumbersome than others. The full hearing is available in the February 9, 2022 minutes. After the hearing, the Committee decided not to take further action on this member issue.
Montana State Lottery & Board of Horseracing: HB704 implementation
At the November 2021 meeting, a statement was given from the bill sponsor for HB704 regarding the implementation status of the bill. The Committee received public comment from the Board of Horseracing and the Committee requested the State Lottery attend the next meeting in February 2022 to address the lack of rulemaking and implementation of the bill.
At the February 2022 meeting, staff provided a legal analysis of the intent of HB704 and the bill sponsor gave testimony on the history of the bill and interaction with the State Lottery regarding the implementation status to date. The Director of the Lottery then gave a presentation to the Committee, which included a historical overview of the relationship of the Lottery and the Board of Horseracing, and the Lottery's plan to implement HB704. After the hearting, the Committee decided not to take further action on this member issue.
Occupational Licensing for Military Spouses
In August 2021, staff from the Department of Defense (DOD) contacted both the State Administration and Veterans' Affairs and Economic Affairs Interim Committees to share DOD priorities for military families for the upcoming year, highlighting occupational licensing for military spouses and licensing compacts. Both committees directed staff to gather information about the issues and how they are currently being addressed in Montana.
Staff briefed the Committee at the November 2021 meeting, presented a paper on Interstate Compacts for Occupational Licensing, and provided a memo and data sheet from the Department of Labor and Industry on current practices. The Committee also heard public comment on the subject. Based on the information provided, the Committee decided to review the topic again during the April 2022 or June 2022 meeting.
At the June 2022 meeting, the Committee heard presentations by the Council of State Governments, the Defense State Liaison Office, and the Department of Labor and Industry on the efforts made to address the issue. Staff members and committee members indicated they were attending the NCSL Occupational Licensing Conference the week after the meeting and would learn more on the subject, and bring back ideas for a possible committee bill.
June 2022 Meeting Materials:
- CSG Presentation: National Trends in Military Spouse Licensing Policy
- NCSL Handout: Barriers to Work
- CSG Handout: Promising Practices on Occupational Licensing
- CSG Handout: Interstate Licensure Compacts & Universal License Recognition Laws
- DSLO Presentation: Working with State Policymakers to Support Military Families
- DSLO Handout: Licensing Compacts Discussion Points
- DSLO Handout: Enhanced Military Spouse License Portability
- DSLO Handout: Military Spouse Occupational Licensure Access
- DLI Proposed Amendment for 37-1-138, MCA
Home Foreclosure Process
During the November 2021 meeting, a request was made for the Commissioner of Banking to review the home foreclosure process at the February 2022 meeting. At the February 2022 meeting, the Commissioner provided an overview of the foreclosure timeline in Montana and the process for foreclosures based on the Small Tract Finance Act and the Montana Mortgage Act. The Committee heard testimony from several consumers relating to financial transactions by one credit union. The testimony alleged the credit union potentially engaged in predatory lending and illegal foreclosure procedures.
Based on the information provided, the Committee moved to request the Attorney General consider investigating the credit union under its consumer protection jurisdiction. On March 3, 2022, the Attorney General's office responded to the Committee's request, indicating while the DOJ has authority to investigate consumer protection claims, under 32-3-101, the Department of Administration is responsible for compliance examinations related to credit unions. The Attorney General's office chose not to pursue further action on the matter.
Constitutional Initiative 121
The Committee received a letter from the Revenue Interim Committee (RIC) regarding Constitutional Initiative 121. CI-121 would amend the constitution to limit annual increases and decreases in valuations of certain residential property and limit total ad valorem property taxes on residential property. RIC requested the Committee discuss and request public comment on how CI-121 would affect the Committee's policy areas. The Committee heard testimony from several industry groups and based on the information provided, chose to write a letter requesting RIC continue to examine the issue.
A committee member requested the Department of Labor and Industry present information regarding Montana's Registered Apprenticeship Program, specifically about changes to the rules regarding the required ratios of master journeymen to apprentices. DLI provided answers to submitted questions to the committee and gave testimony at the June 2022 meeting. The committee heard public comment from the industry, and decided not to take further action on the topic.
Prevailing Wage Study
The committee received a request from the Local Government Interim Committee (LGIC) regarding its SJ13 study on prevailing wages. As part of its study, the LGIC is requesting the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to research a compliance system for prevailing wages. Because DLI is under the purview of EAIC, the LGIC asked the committee to send the request to DLI as a courtesy. The committee agreed to send a letter and supplemental information on LGIC's behalf to DLI, and requested any results of the exploratory process for the compliance system be reported back to EAIC by LGIC.
Board of Funeral Services
The Board of Funeral Services attended the August 2022 meeting to give a short presentation regarding the implementation of House Bill 139, which revised death certificate fees to provide an additional funding source for the board. A requirement of HB139 is a report to the committee on the status of the special revenue account, which was included in the presentation.