Introducing Montana’s New Housing Task Force
"Governor Gianforte’s new Housing Task Force marks the beginning of Montana’s united effort to address the regulatory barriers standing in the way of affordable housing."
“Owning a home is part of the American dream, but for more than a decade, it’s become harder and harder for Montanans to afford to own or rent a home. Burdensome, restrictive, and unnecessary regulations have left Montana with a longstanding shortage of housing that continues to drive up the prices Montanans pay for their home.” – Governor Gianforte
Last week Governor Gianforte announced the creation of The Housing Task Force, to address Montana’s housing crisis.
I am thrilled to announce that Frontier President and CEO, Kendall Cotton, has been invited to serve on the newly created task force. Composed of state and local officials, economists, researchers and advocates, the task force has been charged with providing recommendations the legislature could consider to make housing more affordable and attainable.
After the announcement, Frontier President and CEO, Kendall Cotton, released this statement:
“Governor Gianforte’s new Housing Task Force marks the beginning of Montana’s united effort to address the regulatory barriers standing in the way of affordable housing. We are honored to be included in this new task force, and we look forward to working alongside others to give Montana landowners more freedom to build affordable homes where they are needed most.”
The Housing Task Force met for the first time yesterday, at which the Governor told the group that as they look at the barriers to the creation of affordable housing, they should “leave no stone unturned.”
Stay tuned as I will be providing the latest updates on the work being done by the Task Force.
Montana Can Avoid Becoming Like California
What makes Montana so unique is our easy access to the outdoors, but that may be at risk as many Montana cities have California-style zoning codes, causing cities to grow out into rural areas and open space. Frontier President & CEO, Kendall Cotton, explains the steps that can be taken to stop this from happening in his latest op-ed for Lee Newspapers.
“Montana is at an important crossroads. We can either follow in the footsteps of California or chart our own path. Reforming our California-style zoning regulations will allow cities to grow denser instead of sprawling outward, helping to preserve access to the outdoors, maintain the special rural character of the surrounding areas and keep Montana feeling like Montana.”
Charting Our Own Path
The Economic Affairs Interim Committee met earlier this week to discuss potential facial recognition legislation. During the hearing, representatives from a number of Montana agencies including the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Justice, conveyed how an overly strict ban on the use of facial recognition could deprive Montanans of the technology’s beneficial uses.
Our Take: Protecting the privacy of Montanans is of the utmost importance, however Montana should take care in deciding where to draw the line. Montana should chart its own path by establishing limitations on how and when facial recognition technology can be used, enabling Montanans to receive the benefits of the technology without violating their privacy rights.
Cutting Apprenticeship Red Tape
Last winter Governor Gianforte proposed rule changes to relax the apprentice-to-journeyman ratio, in order to allow for more apprentices. While critics opposed the change, recent data from the Department of Labor and Industry showed the impact of the changes – more apprentices were added in the first six months of this year than in the first six months of 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined.
Our Take: This is yet another example of how red tape can get in the way of Montanans ability to thrive. Just as we said last winter, Governor Gianforte was right to reform the apprentice-to-journeyman ratio, and we congratulate him on taking the steps needed to provide more Montanans access to apprenticeship programs.