I have been asked a few times recently what bills I have spoken on in front of legislative committees this session. With all the wild and crazy that seems to be defining the Montana Legislature this year, there certainly have been more than a few opportunities to speak up. As you likely know at this point, I help people buy and sell homes in my professional life. Like any industry with a trade association, there are times I agree with the stances they take and times I wish they would be more in line with my personal views. However, I have always felt that staying involved and being part of the conversation to try and make a difference where I can is important, and I would feel that way no matter what profession I was in. Rarely are there absolute easy answers, more often there is give and take on policy creation and I believe being pragmatic is a crucial skill, especially at the local level. Through those efforts, I feel we have been able to move our group forward in some areas and I had the opportunity to speak on several bills I feel strongly about. Here is a quick list I will update as the session wraps.
I spoke in Support of:
HB 21 - Authorize funding for the multifamily coal trust home loan program - This bill would expand on improvements made during the last session to authorize loans from the coal trust fund for low-income housing projects.
HB 116 - Indoor cleanup standards for methamphetamine - Entering this session, Montana had no cleanup standards for homes or properties that tested positive for meth residue but were not meth labs. This bill is a step in the right direction though more work needs to be done in this area.
HB 304 - Revise the definition of community land trust - I was happy to lend our voice to this bill clarifying the definition of community land trust in subdivision regulations so it can be better utilized as a tool in the efforts to provide affordable and attainable housing.
HB 397 - Establish workforce housing tax credits - This bill would establish a state of Montana tax credit similar to a federal program already in existence that would help our great local partners continue to provide opportunities for affordable housing development for low-income individuals and families.
I spoke in Opposition of:
HB 677 - Bill to limit non-profit entities abilities to purchase AG lands - This bill would greatly impact land conservation efforts of some of our favorite Missoula and Montana non-profit groups.
If you have any questions or want to discuss these or any other issue more in-depth, just reach out.