AARP e-activists were key throughout the session, sending thousands of messages to lawmakers asking for their support on measures important to Montanans age 50 and over.
The 2023 Montana State Legislative Session ended on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. During the session, AARP Montana reviewed dozens of bills on a wide variety of topics, testified before house and senate committees, and met with lawmakers, the Governor’s office, and key stakeholders to discuss legislation that impacts Montanans 50+.
Based on AARP Montana membership surveys and feedback, we focused our efforts this session on taxation issues, such as property tax relief, income tax relief and attempted to eliminate Montana’s taxation of Social Security income. We also strongly advocated for caregivers and additional funding for home and community-based long-term care services, since a vast majority of AARP Montana members want to stay in their own homes and communities as they age.
Montanans 50 and over will see some very tangible gains from the 2023 session, such as: much-needed property tax rebates; making Montana’s Property Tax Assistance Program available to more low- and moderate-income Montanans; providing an alternative property tax payment option that spreads payments out over 7 months; more housing options; and very significant across-the-board provider rate increases in Medicaid for long-term care services, including home health care and other community-based services that help seniors age in their own homes and communities.
AARP Montana wishes to thank state legislators and the Governor for their dedicated service to the state of Montana during the 2023 session.
AARP Montana’s 2023 Legislative Priorities — click on each bill title to see how your legislator voted
HB 2 – General Appropriations Act: Passed, pending action by the Governor. The Senior & Long-term Care budget within the DPHHS budget is estimated to increase by $91.5 million in state funding and pull down another $98.2 million in federal funding for a total of $189.7 million. Most of this increase is for an across-the-board Medicaid reimbursement rate hike for providers (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health providers, etc.). Status: Passed the House on 3/23/23 & Senate on 4/27/23. Signed by the Governor on 6/14/23.
HB 29 - Revise laws related to involuntary commitment of people with dementia or TBI Passed, vetoed by the Governor, overridden by the Legislature . This bill ends the involuntary commitment of individuals with dementia/TBIs into the State Hospital, transitioning them instead into community-based care. Sponsor: Representative Jennifer Carlson. Status: Passed the House on 2/14/23 & Senate on 4/18/23. Vetoed by the Governor on 5/11/23 and overridden by the Legislature on 6/9/23.
HB 189 – Revise the Property Tax Assistance Program (PTAP): Passed and Signed. A bill that updates income eligibility guidelines for Montana’s PTAP program, making it available to more low- and moderate-income Montanans. Sponsor: Representative George Nikolakakos. Status: Passed the House on 3/14/23 with amendments adding in the Veterans Property Tax Assistance Program & increasing the eligible home value of up to the first $350,000 from $200,000. Passed the Senate on 4/18/23. Signed by the Governor on 5/18/23.
HB 192 – Use surplus revenue for income tax refunds: Passed and Signed. A one-time tax refund to over 400,000 Montana taxpayers of up to $2,500 for persons filing jointly, including about 100,000 Montanans ages 50-64. Sponsor: Representative. Bill Mercer. Status: Passed the House on 2/21/23, the Senate on 3/1/23 & signed by the Governor on 3/13/23.
HB 222 – Provide rebates of property taxes paid on main residence: Passed and Signed. This bill provides for a tax rebate on a principal residence of up to $500 a year for tax years 2022 and 2023. Sponsor: Rep. Tom Welch. Status: Passed the House on 2/21/23, Senate on 3/1/23 & signed by the Governor on 3/13/23. Additionally, HB 816 sponsored by Representative Joshua Kassmier adds in another $100 million for property tax rebates and another $35 million for income tax rebates. It was passed on the last day of the session and signed by the Governor on 6/5/23.
HB 235 – Revise Social Security Income Taxation: Dead. This bill would have gradually increased the Social Security income thresholds that can be taxed. Sponsor: Representative Jonathan Karlen. Status: Heard in the House Taxation Committee on 3/15/23, tabled by the Committee on 3/20/23.
HB 246 – Allow for the zoning of tiny dwelling units: Passed & Signed. Authorizing Counties to allow zoning for “tiny homes” in areas that do not have zoning regulations. Sponsor: Representative Scott Kerns Status: Passed the House on 2/13/23 & Senate on 3/28/23. Signed by the Governor on 4/19/23.
HB 526 Repeal state tax on Social Security income: Dead. This bill would have repealed Montana’s taxation of Social Security income. Sponsor: Representative Paul Fielder. Status: Passed the House Taxation Committee on 2/28/23 and House 2nd reading on 3/14/23. Rereferred to the Appropriations Committee on 3/23/23, tabled by the Committee on 3/27/23.
HB 819 Create Montana community reinvestment act to fund workforce housing: Passed, pending action by the Governor. AARP Montana supported the portion of this bill that provides an additional $50 million from the Coal Trust Fund for low and moderate-income housing loans. Sponsors: Representative Paul Green. Status: Passed the House and Senate on 5/2/23. Signed by the Governor on 6/14/23.
HB 830 – Optional alternative property tax payment schedule for primary residences: Passed and Signed. A bill to allow the optional payment of property taxes in seven installments from November through May. Sponsor: Representative George Nikolakakos. Status: Passed the House on 4/3/23 and Senate on 4/28/23. Signed by the Governor on 5/22/23.
HB 922 – Require DPHHS to develop & implement an Olmstead Plan: Passed & Signed. Requires the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to create a plan that maps out how they will assure that disabled & older Montanans have the least restrictive community-based long-term care possible. Sponsor: Rep. Bob Keenan. Status: Passed the House on 4/4/23 & Senate on 4/20/23. Signed by the Governor on 5/18/23.
SB 34 – Revise Laws related to adult protective services: Passed & Signed. A bill that updates the definition of vulnerable adults & requires additional professional reporting of abuse & neglect. Sponsor: Senator Ryan Lynch. Status: Passed the Senate on 1/16/23 & House on 1/31/23. Signed by the Governor on 2/16/23.
SB 528 – Revise zoning laws related to ADUs: A bill that lifts zoning & regulatory barriers on the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Sponsor: Senator Greg Hertz. Status: Passed the Senate on 4/4/23 and House on 4/28/23. Signed by the Governor on 5/17/23.
For a full list of the bills AARP Montana supported and opposed, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story is provided by AARP Montana. Visit the AARP Montana page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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