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Bill to repeal Montana’s energy policy up for third reading in House, other updates

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Bill to repeal Montana’s energy policy up for third reading in House, other updates

Jan 23, 2023 | 9:00 am ET
By Daily Montanan Staff
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Bill to repeal Montana’s energy policy up for third reading in House, other updates
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Clean energy illustration (Photo illustration via Wikimedia Commons | CC-BY-SA 4.0).

Here’s the status of some of the legislation the Daily Montanan has covered this session so far. Follow bills through the Montana Legislature’s website

A bill to repeal Montana’s energy policy is up for its third reading on the House floor Monday. It passed 67-32 on second reading. The energy policy was first adopted in 1993 and most recently revised last session. Sponsor Rep. Steve Gunderson, R-Libby, said wiping out the policy would give Gov. Greg Gianforte a better chance at putting his own energy vision into place. Opponents objected for a variety of reasons, including the wholesale repeal, which will leave the state with a policy at all, and to ceding legislative control of energy policy to the executive branch.

House Bill 204, an “alienation of affection” law that would have said spouses could recover financially if their significant other cheated was tabled in the House Judiciary committee. An opponent said the law the bill attempted to revive hearkened back to a time when women were property.

After being amended twice, House Bill 213 for “certificates of nonviable birth” passed the House Judiciary committee on a 12-7 party-line vote with Republicans in favor. One amendment removed proposed changes in the bill to controversial section three, which would have stricken the specific description of a fetus as weighing 300 grams or reaching 20 completed weeks of gestation. Opponents said deleting that language would mean any miscarriage would need a death certificate. The committee also adopted an amendment saying the certificate is a private commemorative document, not a public record. An amendment to prohibit use of the certificate to establish criminal charges for nonviable birth failed.

Two bills to change court injunctions passed the Senate Judiciary committee. Senate Bill 136, which states a person may still protect their construction site even if the court issues an injunction, passed unanimously. Senate Bill 134, which would tighten up language that limits an injunction to 10 days if not extended, passed 7-4.

A series of agriculture-related bills deemed part of the “Red Tape Relief” plan appear slated for quick approval this session. House Bill 94, which would repeal a law that tried to force people who sold huckleberry products to prove their product contained the real deal or be subject to a misdemeanor, passed the House 96-2. House Bill 84, which says businesses can’t feed pigs “garbage,” or waste with animal products, passed 95-4 in the House and had its first reading in the Senate. House Bill 93, to consolidate a couple of noxious weeds boards, passed the House on third reading 98-0. And House Bill 66, to streamline reporting and payment deadlines for owners of livestock, passed third reading in the House 99-0.

A bill to eliminate “unnecessary financial qualification procedures” by the Office of Public Defender has received no opposition in the House. House Bill 111 passed unanimously in committee and on the House floor twice.

Senate Bill 34 to revise laws related to adult protective services passed through the Senate with flying colors on a 50-0 vote, and it’s had its first hearing in the House. The bill updates language in code from “older person” and “developmentally disabled person” to “vulnerable adults.” It would also allow people who work with vulnerable adults in facilities the ability to provide emergency services themselves instead of calling for law enforcement. Senate Bill 4 to require the state health department to provide reports of abuse and neglect at the Montana State Hospital to the state protection and advocacy program also received no opposition in the Senate and has been transmitted to the House.

Senate Bill 26, to exempt fentanyl testing strips from the definition of drug paraphernalia, has been tabled in committee. It was requested by the Department of Public Health and Human Services.