Legislative Update: Thursday, March 30

Sands

Freddy Monares

Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is carrying Senate Bill 300, which would require warnings on raw milk and products made with raw milk.

Senator pushes for warnings on raw milk

By Freddy Monares

In response to a House-approved bill that would legalize raw milk, lawmakers are considering a bill that would label raw milk.

Senate Bill 300 would require raw milk and products made with raw milk to have a warning label for consumers who are vulnerable to bacterial infections. That bill passed the Senate 29-to-21.

Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is the sponsor of the bill.

“As a historian I will tell one of the reasons pasteurization became common was because of the number of deaths of pregnant women and stillbirths related to the consumption of raw milk,” Sands said.

There were no proponents or opponents during testimony in a House committee on the bill Thursday.

Sen. Dale Mortenson, R-Billings, had questions about the extent of the labels.

“If my wife were to sell cookies at a bake sale that were made from raw milk, would she have to put up a warning sign?” Mortensen asked.

Sands’ answer to that was yes.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

Tax incentives for filmmakers still under consideration

By Cole Grant

A bill that would reinstate tax incentives for filmmakers shooting in Montana isn’t dying without a fight.

House Bill 602 would give production companies a tax credit for hiring Montanans and for certain expenses, like food and lodging.

The bill was resurrected after being tabled in committee. Then it died on a vote on the House floor, only to be reconsidered and passed Thursday on a preliminary vote of 53-to-47. It now needs a final vote in the House.

Rep. Bridget Smith, D-Wolf Point, said during the first floor debate, recorded by the Legislature, that it would help Montana businesses thrive.

“It’s like a grocery store coupon,” she said. “It encourages you to enter the store. Even if you don’t buy the 10 cans of soup, you bought the cookies.”

Rep. Alan Redfield, R-Livingston, opposed the bill, calling it a “tax credit for millionaires from Hollywood.”

Since it’s a revenue bill, it’s facing a Friday deadline to move over to the Senate.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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