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Big Sky News Flash (01.17.2023)

    January 17, 2023

    Every Bill that is introduced before the Montana Legislature is headed for a hearing before a Committee. Certain Committees (e.g., business/labor and judiciary) tend to hear a lot of HR bills. Therefore, the best way to effectively monitor Legislative action is to monitor the hearings of those (and other) committees. 

    The goal of these News Flashes is to give you timely information about upcoming hearings so you can participate in the legislative process. With this in mind, here are the currently-scheduled hearings on bills that may affect HR management in Montana:

    Date Time Committee Room Bill Type - Number Short Title
    19-JAN-23 0830 AM (H) Business & Labor 172 HB 115 Consolidating & Clarifying Penalties for Unlicensed Practice
    18-JAN-23 0830 AM (H) Business & Labor 172 HB 152 Revise Laws Related to Professional and Occupational Licensure
    17-JAN-23 0830 AM (S) Business, Labor & Economic Affairs 422 SB 146 Review Laws Relating to Wage Transparency
    19-JAN-23 0830 AM (S) Business, Labor & Economic Affairs 422 SB 22 Generally Revise Independent Contractor Laws
    20-JAN-23 0830 AM (S) Business, Labor & Economic Affairs 422 SB 140 Revise Union Membership Laws



    January 17, 2023 

    How to Participate in the Legislative Process 

    • Watch the Hearing. This link will take you to the webpage that allows you to watch/listen/zoom in to hearings. 
    • Provide Public Comment. This is easy. The table above (and each bill’s page, if you’re doing your own tracking) identifies the Committee currently considering the bill. Go to this link and select the Committee (or Legislator) you want to communicate with, and provide the required identifying information. Then enter your comments.
      • Because comments are limited to 1250 characters, I tend to draft my comments in Word and then cut/paste the final version to the online form. 
      • See for more information. 

    Providing Effective Public Comment 

    1. Introduce yourself – A quick sentence describing yourself and your interest in the bill. 
    2. Share your Technical Expertise – These are citizen lawmakers, and you have expertise most of them don’t! For example, sometimes proposed bills will conflict with laws that are already on the books. And, many lawmakers are unfamiliar with HR’s best practices. Don’t be afraid to (tactfully) tell lawmakers what they don’t know! 
    3. Point Out Unintended Consequences - Unintended consequences result in unintended errors. Frequently, unintended consequences will only come to light from public feedback. 
    4. Make sure the comment is specific to the bill being heard
    5. If there is a problem, suggest a solution – While it’s important to explain why a bill doesn’t work (or will work, but may cause a problem), it’s also important to suggest alternatives and substitute language that will fix what the bill is going to break. 
    6. Tell the legislator(s) how to vote. Even though the online form will ask you whether you support or oppose the bill, don’t forget to tell the lawmaker(s) the action you want them to take. 
    7. If room permits, thank the legislator(s) for their service. 

    ***The legislative calendar is usually scheduled 3 days in advance. Be on the lookout for frequent Big Sky News Flashes.