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Big Sky News Flash (01.23.2023)

    January 23, 2023

    In general, the legislature is not heavily focused on HR issues. However, here are some currently-scheduled hearings on bills that may affect HR management in Montana:

    Date Time Room Committee Bill Type - Number Short Title Primary Sponsor
    24-JAN-23 8:30A 172 (H) Business & Labor HB 254 Revise alcohol laws relating to curbside pickup. Katie Zolnikov (R) HD 45
    24-JAN-23 8:30A 172 (H) Business & Labor HB 279 Revise alcohol laws related to server training. Scot Kerns (R) HD 23
    24-JAN-23 8:30A 172 (H) Business & Labor HB 250 Review alcohol laws related to server training. Kelly Kortum (D) HD 65
    24-JAN-23 10:00A 455 (H) State Administration HB 216 Generally reviews laws related to public employees and labor organizations. Bill Mercer (R) HD 46
    25-JAN-23 8:30A 422 (S) Business, Labor & Economic Affairs HB 142 Revise laws related to unemployment insurance theft and penalties. Jennifer Lynch (D) HD 73
    25-JAN-23 8:30A 422 (S) Business, Labor & Economic Affairs SB 177 Revising allowed local government employer benefits. Daniel Zolnikov (R) SD 22

    **Note: If a bill with an “HB” number is being heard a Senate Committee (or vice versa), it means the bill has passed the first house and is being considered in the second house and is, therefore, more likely to become law. 

    In other news: SB 13 “Revise DUI laws related to admissible test for presence of drugs”, as amended, is scheduled for its second reading today. It would allow the use of oral fluid tests to determine the presence of drugs for purposes of DUI laws. 

    If this bill passes, it will be important for CDL employers to remember that at this point, the federal motor carrier drug testing rules do not include oral fluids as an approved testing method. 

    How to Participate in the Legislative Process 

    • To identify upcoming Hearings: Go to the Laws Committees and Hearings Page
    • To Watch Hearings. This link will take you to a webpage which allows you to watch/listen/zoom in to hearings. 
    • To Provide Public Comment: Go to this link and follow the instructions. 

    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.