Spotlight on the 2021 Legislative Session

May 19, 2021

This spotlight focuses on HB235 (“Double SNAP” bill), SB 199 (“Food Choice” bill) and the myriad energy and climate related bills that made it through this legislative session.

Double SNAP: After making it through the legislature, Governor Gianforte chose to veto HB235. Click the Learn More button below to read the Governor’s letter on why he chose not to invest $95,000 to increase the purchasing power of Double SNAP beneficiaries. If you want to write a Letter to the Editor, MT Food Bank Network can help. They are organizing earned media efforts to bring attention to the Governor’s decision. Learn  more.

SB 199 “MT Local Food Choice Act”: This bill sailed through the legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. Unfortunately, SB199 was not vetted by food safety agencies or a public process, and ignores and overrides existing state laws and federal regulations designed to protect Montana consumers from unsafe food, including labeling for ingredients and common allergens. SB199 also is directly at odds with the MT Food Policy Modernization Act, (aka “MT’s Cottage Food Law”), which became law in 2015 following unanimous bipartisan legislative support, and which was vetted through a two-year public process that brought consensus and support from food safety agencies, consumers and potential cottage food producers. 

AERO has been closely associated with MT’s Cottage Food Law from the beginning. Since 2015 AERO has worked closely with the agencies, MSU Extension and producers around the state, educating potential and existing cottage food operators on compliance with the law and best practices; gathering feedback on the law and agency regulations, and identifying opportunities for rule enhancements and harmonization.  We’re glad our current funding through WERME (Western Extension Risk Management)allows AERO to continue working with DPHHS’s Food Safety Office this summer, finding coherency to support MT’s cottage food operators and Farmers Markets.

Read AERO’s Letter to Governor Gianforte here.

The Energy and Climate-related bills that passed: This is big list. Anne Hedges of MEIC will report on the new laws at Climate Smart Montana’s upcoming monthly gathering on June 3, 12p-1p. Join the session here.

 

Alternative Energy Resources Organization

Mailing address: PO Box 1558, Helena MT 59624

Physical address: 32 S Ewing St #333, Helena MT 59601