Halftime Update! Sprunger bills moving forward in the 68th session
Representative Sprunger successfully guides five bills to Senate in first half of 68th session
Governor Gianforte to sign Sprunger’s $100 Million SAFER Act on March 13
HELENA, Mont. (March 9, 2023)—In the first half of the 68th session of the Montana Legislature, Representative Courtenay Sprunger (Kalispell-R) advanced seven bills, all of which have transmitted to the Senate or progressed to the House Appropriations Committee for review. Bills range in topic from adoption and education to infrastructure and community safety; these priorities were identified through input Sprunger received while campaigning in Montana House District 7.
Closest to the finish is the House Bill 267, The SAFER Act, which Governor Gianforte will sign on Monday, March 13. The SAFER Act is a $100 million transportation fund to be used for state matches for one-time-only federal grant monies and reauthorization dollars. The estimated benefit to Montana is $750 to $850 million in funds for road, bridge, and safety projects throughout Montana over the next five to seven years.
In addition to the existing seven, Sprunger will also introduce legislation in March that provides a innovative “floating liquor license lease” option for communities that have a county population growing at least 5 percent faster that the urban areas where services are provided. In the Flathead, this bill could provide an additional four full liquor licenses for Kalispell through the lease program and one each for Whitefish and Columbia Falls. Licenses would come from the county quota, if available, and would not include gambling.
“These bills are borne from the people, for the people – each idea came from conversations at the doors and kitchen tables where constituents shared their priorities,” stated Sprunger. “It’s a privilege to be trusted with this responsiblilty and my focus the second half of the session is getting these priorities across the finish line.”
Status of Representative Sprunger’s Sponsored Legislation
HB 91 State Library Aid (Status: Transmitted to Senate)
HB 91 is a bill to continue and expand funding to all qualifying local libraries in 82 counties throughout the state.
HB 225 Establishing a Montana Adoption Tax Credit (Status: House Appropriations, still active)
HB 225 is to establish a refundable tax credit for families who choose to grow their family through adoption. It proposes a tax credit of $5,000 for private or out-of-state adoptions and $7,500 for families adopting from Montana’s foster care system.
HB 256 Allows Auxiliary Officers the Ability to Carry Weapons (Status: Transmitted to Senate)
HB 256 provides additional clarity for local law enforcement agencies with volunteer auxillary forces. On average, auxiliary officers complete approximately 200 to 300 hours of training each year and undergo evaluation with the authorizing law enforcement agency. Auxiliary officers provide more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to the Flathead community each year.
HB 257 CTE Advanced Opportunities (Status: Transmitted to Senate)
HB 257 authorizes funds to pay for out-of-pocket costs families would incur as a part of internships, apprenticeship or other learning opportunities outside the school’s brick and mortar walls. This bill also provides funding to schools to oversee and administer these hands-on opportunities. This bill is supported by schools across Montana, Montana Federation of Public Employees, and Americans for Prosperity.
HB 790 - Generally Revises Electronic monitoring and Victim Notification Laws (Status: Transmitted to Senate)
HB 790 offers victims of domestic violence the ability to opt-in to monitoring alerts through victim notification technology if court-ordered. The direct notification of the victim enhances the effectiveness of this life-saving service. It also requires that the monitoring alert the county attorney within one business day of an offender’s violation of geographic restrictions—for instance, approaching the victim’s home or workplace so that necessary action can be taken.
HB 791 Generally revise drug crime sentences – mandatory minimums for entanyl trafficking (Status: House Appropriations, still active)
HB 791 proposes a mandatory minimum sentence of two years, a $50,000 fine or both for anyone caught trafficking fentanyl in Montana. Overdose deaths related to fentanyl have increased by 1100% since 2017. This bill is brought in partnership with the Montana Attorney General Knudsen and the Montana Departmnet of Justice. It provide Montana law enforcement officers and county attorneys with more tools to remove traffickers and slow the spread of fentanyl.
Representative Courtenay Sprunger (www.courtenayforkalispell.com) serves on behalf of Montana House District 7, the heart of downtown Kalispell.