I am delighted the governor vetoed SB 304 and HB 325. Both bad gun bills. Unfortunately, the governor cannot veto HB 357. HB 357 does the same thing as HB 325. It is, however, a legislative referendum. So it will go to a vote of the people in the November 2020 general election. We are right now working with public school and local government organizations to consider our legal and ballot campaign options. In short, we will do what it takes to defeat the intent of HB 357.
I am disappointed the governor vetoed HB 323. As introduced HB 323 was nasty, provocative extension of the Janus decision. But as we carefully amended it, HB 323 did nothing more than state the obvious: public employee unions may no longer bargain and enforce non-member agency fee payments. Janus ruled agency fee payments unconstitutional. End of story. The governor’s veto has no legal effect but it does permit unconstitutional language to linger around in Montana law inviting future legislative proposals to strike what is unconstitutional and while at it craft further nasty, provocative extensions. Please know, I asked the governor NOT to veto the bill.
The governor has signed and vetoed and will yet sign and veto other bills of consequence (see the papers) that we lobbied for and against that are not on this priority list. Further the bills I have marked with VR are the bills that will likely constitute our voting record for this legislature. Stay tuned. And hope that spring has finally sprung.
MFPE 2019 Legislative Priorities (as of May 3)
Bills we supported that passed
- HB 159 (Grubbs) - Funds k-12 schools (absent prek). Signed by Governor. VRR
- HB 175 (Dooling) - Ratifies union negotiated state and university employee base pay, health insurance, and per diem. Signed by Governor. VR
- HB 351 (McKamey) – Provides incentives for school districts to implement “transformational” learning. Passed Legislature. VR
- HB 387 (Jones) – Expands personalized opportunities for students to accelerate career and college readiness. Signed by Governor. VR
- HB 638 (Bedey) - Inflates special education funding for the biennium. Passed Legislature. VR
- HB 658 (Buttrey) - Repeals Medicaid Expansion sunset with work-related requirements. Passed Legislature. VR
- SB 60 (Salomon) - Dedicates $2 million in lottery net revenue to MUS STEM scholarships. Passed Legislature. VR
- SB 92 (Salomon) - Provides greater local school district funding capacity to address school safety issues. Signed by Governor. VR
- SB 338 (Gauthier/Cohenour) - Montana Museums Act: Provides funding for Montana Heritage Center and museums around Montana with a 1% tax increase in accommodations tax. Passed Legislature. VR
Bills we opposed that failed
- HB 303 (DeVries) – Abolishes compulsory education. Tabled House Education.
- HB 396 (M. Regier) – Prohibits public employees from supporting or opposing ballot issues and political candidates. Tabled House State Administration.
- HB 755 (Moore) - Governor's prek bill that creates taxpayer funded public and private charter pre-k schools governed by a department of early childhood independent of local school districts, board of public education, and office of public instruction. Tabled House Education - Failed two attempts to amend into SB 352 Free Conference Committee.
- SB 234 (Fitzpatrick) – Steps toward privatization of Montana State Fund. Passed Senate - Failed 2d Reading House. VR
Bills we watched that passed
- HB 211 (Jones) – Establishes new hire debt repayment. Passed Legislature.
- HB 323 (Tschida) – Codifies Janus. Vetoed. Veto Message
- HB 567 (Skees) – Creates public school marshal program. Passed Legislature.
- SB 139 (Lang) - Incentivizes teachers to retire at 27 years, draw full retirement, and continue to teach in 2d and 3d class sized school communities. Passed Legislature.
Bills we supported that failed
- HB 27 (Funk) – Inflates special education funding. Tabled House Appropriations.
- HB 209 (Funk) – Authorizes state employee career ladders. Tabled House Appropriations.
- HB 235 (Fern) – Creates opportunity for school districts to create statewide school employee health care trust. Tabled House Health and Human Services.
- HB 298 (Pope) – Provides ANB funding of certain students with disabilities up to age 21. Passed House - Tabled Senate Education.
- HB 339 (Moore) – Creates and funds loan repayment for Child Protective Specialists. Tabled House Appropriations.
- HB 455 (Windy Boy) – Qualifies eligible classified school employees for unemployment compensation. Tabled House Business and Labor.
- HB 477 (Funk) – As amended in House Judiciary requires OPI to develop model firearms safety training policies and procedures. Passed House - Tabled Senate Judiciary.
- SB 128 (Cohenour) – Repeals state employee longevity pay break in service penalty. Tabled Senate State Administration.
- SB 152 (Barrett) – Makes 6-mill MUS levy permanent. Tabled House Tax. VR
Bills we opposed that passed
- HB 325 (M. Regier) – Repeals a local government’s power to regulate the carrying of concealed weapons and authorizes a person with a concealed weapon permit to carry anywhere in public buildings including schools. Vetoed. Veto Message VR
- HB 357 (M. Regier) – Legislative Referendum – same intent as HB 325 but not subject to gubernatorial veto. Passed Legislature. VR
- SB 304 (R. Webb) – Authorizes legislators to conceal carry on state property, including the Capitol building. Vetoed. Veto Message VR