The Montana Legislature transmittal break starts tomorrow and a lot of work has already been done during the first half of the session. According to House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, they have already had great success when it comes to strengthening the economy.

“An example of that is Representative Kassmier's House Bill 303,” Vinton said. “That increases the business equipment tax exemption. We also had House Bill 252 from Representative Lew Jones providing employer tax credits for creating career and technical education opportunities.”

Vinton said they have also worked hard on bills protecting individual rights. In particular, House Bill 102 expanded on an individual’s ability to defend themselves.

“We have also worked on reining in some of those local emergency health declarations and offered a bill from Representative Beatty that would provide additional oversight from local elected officials when those mandates are made,” Vinton said.

Before the session even started, Vinton said they heard from a lot of their constituents that were very unhappy with local health officials mandating whether business could be open, whether people could attend their children’s activities, and whether people could go to church.

“We discovered, due to this pandemic, that those local health officials don't necessarily have any oversight,” Vinton said. “They don't answer to the citizens in their particular areas. So we've worked to provide some oversight, so that they are held accountable to the people whose lives they are affecting.”

Vinton said one of their goals is to create more jobs in Montana, but that can’t be done until more businesses open.

“We passed Senate Bill 65, which allowed businesses some protections from frivolous lawsuits,” Vinton said. “So we have been actively engaged in reopening our economy, and that's going to provide jobs and spur people to get back to work as we believe they should.”

After the transmittal break is over, Vinton said they will spend an ample amount of time focusing on the budget and examining recreation marijuana very closely.

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