Legislators propose thousands of new bills every session…many that affect real estate.
MAR reviews them all, so we can support the good ones and oppose those with negative impacts for our industry.
The 67th Montana Legislature convened Monday, January 4th, 2021.
MAR's focus is on five key areas this session. Land Use, Septic Systems, Property Taxes, Water Rights & Meth Contamination.
All of MAR’s priority pieces of legislation are moving through the process or signed into law.
HB 116 – Requires owner disclosure and creates a new decontamination standard and process for properties contaminated from smoking meth. The bill has passed the House and the Senate committee. It is now awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.
HB 153 – Clarifies that only active real estate brokers and salespersons are required to have errors and omissions insurance. This bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. We thank REALTOR® member Rep. Ross Fitzgerald for sponsoring this legislation.
SB 211 – Protects property rights from misuse of subdivision review for impacts to agriculture. The bill had a good hearing and was supported by both the development community and farmers and ranchers. It has been passed by the Senate and awaits a committee hearing in the House.
SB 161 – Creates an expedited subdivision review that is mandatory for cities and optional for county areas with infrastructure. It has passed the Senate and moved to the House.
HB 269 – Requires local board of health regulations on septic systems to be approved by local elected officials. Local regulations on septic systems can have significant impacts to land use and real estate transactions. It is critical that REALTORS® and property owners can make their case to their elected county commissioners or city council. This bill has passed the House and awaits a hearing in the Senate.
These are some of the bills MAR has SUPPORTED in the first half. Each is alive and transmitted:
HB 21 – Authorizes an additional $15M in loans from the coal tax trust fund for affordable housing
HB 49 – Increases document recording fees to fund Cadastral and other digital library services
HB 195 – Limits lookback periods for homeowner’s insurance policies
HB 252 – Creates a tax credit for employer-paid trade education
HB 259 – Prohibits local governments from placing price caps on home sales prices and rents as a condition of development approval
HB 554 – Requires legislative approval of National Heritage Areas on state lands
HB 304 – Makes community land trusts easier to operate in Montana
HB 397 – Establishes tax credits for low and moderate income housing
SB 114 –Protects homeowner equity by increasing the homestead exemption to $350,000
SB 133 – Allows successful appellants of a residential property tax valuation to collect attorney fees
SB 135 – Allows county commissioners to review all aspects of a county zoning appeal decision
SB 136 – Overturns a District Court decision that held that water right permits need to review water quality
SB 165 – Addresses issues with DEQ sanitation review for subdivisions
SB 260 – Broadens the scope of what constitutes a government taking of property
SR 29 – Confirm the appointment of REALTOR® Adam Hertz to the Montana Board of Housing
Below are some of the bad bills MAR has OPPOSED. Each is dead at this point:
HB 123 – Removes peer-reviewed science as a consideration for local septic regulations that are more stringent than state regulations
HB 134 – Allows up to fourplexes in certain currently single family residential neighborhoods
HB 148 – Returns Montana to a six-year property tax reappraisal cycle
HB 327 – Bans short term rentals in many HOAs by inserting default definitions into covenants
HB 470, HB 528, HB 529, LC 2793, LC 2798 – Each of these bills would have made county zoning less predictable for property owners, more cumbersome, and were riddled with technical issues
SB 10 – Creates an unfunded property tax circuit breaker program
SB 268 – Allows local governments to use eminent domain to condemn mobile home parks to preserve affordable housing
SB 362 – Requires the board of housing to approve certain rent increases for mobile home parks
We thank the members of the MAR Government Affairs Committee for their outstanding work, and in particular, our committee chair Mike Nugent and vice chair Hattie Graham. Most of all, we thank you, our members, for allowing us to represent you in our State Capitol.
Here's a look at the work MAR did during the interim, the work between the end of the 2019 session and the start of the 2021 session