Montana’s Pro-Housing Reforms Reach Milestone
After receiving some initial skepticism from the House Local Government Committee earlier in the session, Committee members united this week to pass reforms which would begin the process of ending strict California-style zoning in the Last Best Place.
This week was an exciting week in Helena. Nearly every Key Bill we have been tracking made significant progress in the Legislature.
While progress on all of these bills is good news, I am most excited to share with you that three Pro-Housing bills reached an important milestone this week. After receiving some initial skepticism from the House Local Government Committee earlier in the session, Committee members united this week to pass reforms which would begin the process of ending strict California-style zoning in the Last Best Place.
SB 323, a bill which would broadly restore landowners’ right to build affordable starter homes like duplexes passed out of the House Local Government Committee on a 13 to 3 vote.
SB 245, a bill which would give landowners in Montana cities more freedom to build mixed use and multifamily homes in commercial areas, passed out of the House Local Government Committee on a 14 to 2 vote.
SB 382, a bill which is a major overhaul of Montana’s zoning laws that takes a comprehensive approach to tackling strict California-style zoning regulations, passed out of the House Local Government Committee on a 16 to 0 vote.
Now that these bills have passed out of Committee they will head to the House floor for a vote.
These reforms have come a long way, but there is certainly more work to be done. Stay tuned as I will continue to provide you updates on the Key Bills making their way through the Legislature.
The State Of Forest Management
At a time when we need to be scaling up forest restoration to protect Montana’s forests from catastrophic wildfires, getting this work done just became more difficult. Last week, a partial legislative bandaid, known as the Cottonwood temporary fix, that shielded the Forest Service from expensive and time-consuming litigation expired. PERC Policy Director, Hannah Downey explains the situation in her latest column.
“The expiration of the temporary fix is a serious setback to forest restoration in Montana and around the West. Congress should act now to correct the decision and help fix our forests.”
Protecting a Different kind of Mining from Government Overreach
Last week the House Business & Labor Committee passed SB 178 on a 15 to 4 vote. The bill encourages this nascent industry by protecting at-home and commercial cryptocurrency mining from discriminatory utility rates and stipulating that crypto used as payment will not be subject to additional taxes.
Our Take: As we outlined in our 2022 Montana Energy Strategy, Montana’s abundant natural resources have uniquely positioned the state to become a leader in energy production. A growing cryptocurrency industry can help increase the resilience and reliability of the energy grid and enhance Montana’s ability to be a leading energy exporter.
Graphic Of The Week