Red tape relief push in Helena
The three most prominent bills for Gov. Greg Gianforte’s red-tape relief push was heard before the House Business and Labor Committee on Wednesday and Thursday and drew both praise and pushback.
The bills’ main concern is with occupational licensing requirements for who may work in Montana as a doctor, electrician, accountant, massage therapist, or any other of the state-licensed professions.
Each licensing program has separate boards and administered occupations in an effort to protect the public from unqualified or incompetent practitioners. As the rules are not standardized, each licensing board has different requirements.
Republican and Democratic senators across the board have supported these initiatives.
Sponsored by Billings Republican Rep. Bill Mercer, these bills would make it easier for licensed professionals in other states to receive permission to work in Montana.
House Bill 152 is the largest of these three bills, sitting at 234 pages with an ambitious aim. If passed, it would repeal 400 sections of current law, amend 187 and insert 47 new ones in its standardization of professional licensing board authorization.
House Bill 87 standardizes how state licensing boards are organized and House Bill 115 standardizes penalties for those who practice without a license.
The intent of these bills is to promote efficient government by streamlining Montana’s code book — a campaign promise by Gianforte and currently spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Kristin Juras.
Juras introduced 159 of these bills to the committees. As of Jan. 24, 84% of the bills have passed the first committee and 58% have passed the first chamber.