Montana :: Newsletter and Updates

Newsletter and Updates

Montana Message - Fall Magazine 2017

Fall 2017

Summer in Montana means travel. Our highways are full of tourists and locals out to take in all that this amazing state has to offer. This July these road warriors were greeted at the pump with a 4.5 cent increase on the gasoline tax and 1.5 cents on diesel. Funding for infrastructure improvements was one of the most talked about and hotly debated issues before the 2017 legislature. The MPMCSA worked closely with the Infrastructure Coalition to craft a bill that would address the budget shortfalls for the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and attempt to minimize the impact felt by drivers and our association... Read More...

Montana Message - Summer Magazine 2017

Summer 2017

Greetings from the Big Sky state! We are wrapping up the 2017 Montana legislative session and it has been a whirlwind. Our biannual schedule for convening the session demands a lot of work gets accomplished in a short 90 days. Our group was on the forefront of a number of important issues this session, all with a major focus on increased taxation... Read More...

Montana State Report - Spring 2017

Spring 2017

This winter in Montana has been a wild one already. The bi-annual meeting of our 65th legislature convened in January and is proving to be as fast paced and action packed as always. There are a number of issues we are closely following. Already we have had success on a couple of key topics. Early in the session we were able to collaborate with the Bureau of Weights and Measures to continue with our current metering fees and change to a biannual review as opposed to annual. We were also able to partner with our colleagues from the Montana PMA to repeal the ethanol mandate and to eliminate the biodiesel credit. Both of these bills were tied to older legislation that had requirements that are no longer feasible, and by eliminating them we were able to clean up the current code. Read More...

Montana Message - Winter Magazine 2017

Winter 2017

In the midst of a fantastic fall we are excited for what the remainder of the year has in store for us. At the time I am writing this we are just a week away from the conclusion of this historic presidential election. Both candidates have had their share of issues and successes, but this race has proven to be highly confrontational in many aspects. This is also an election year for many of our top officials here in Montana including the race for governor and our lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as a number of important races within our state legislature. Once the races are finalized and the winners determined, the real work of getting out and meeting with them begins. Read More...

Montana Message - Fall Magazine 2016

Fall 2016

This particular issue of the WPMA News is usually representative of the "Changing of the Guard," as many of the state's officers and directors are stepping down or stepping up - whichever the case may be. In the case of the Montana Association, the officers are in the second year of their two-year commitment, with Wes Burley, Town & Country Supply in Laurel as President; Ron May, Mike's Convenience Store in Columbia Falls as Vice President; and Kary Tonjum, CityServiceValcon as the national PMAA Director. Read More...

Montana Message - Summer Magazine 2016

Summer 2016

The founder of a highly successful company was asked what it took to succeed. "The same thing it took to get started", he replied, "a sense of urgency about getting things done." The people who make things move in this world share this same sense of urgency.
No matter how intelligent or able you may be, if you don't have this sense of urgency, now is the time to start developing it. The world is full of very competent people who honestly intend to do things tomorrow, or as soon as they can get around to it. Their accomplishments however, seldom match those of the less talented who are blessed with a sense of the importance of getting started now... Read More...

2016 Montana - Spring Magazine

Spring 2016

"Nearly 300,000 trees are cut down yearly to produce the paper for all the IRS forms and instructions. The total number of computers thrown out the window, or kicked with a frustrated foot is unknown."

Yes, every year around April 15th Americans have a rendezvous with debt... I attempted to find out when Tax Freedom Day is this year in Montana but as of this writing I was not successful. In 2015 it was April 24th. At any rate - don't forget to pay your taxes!! Read More...

Montana Message - December 2015

December 2015

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?" The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my E-mail?"... - Read More...

Montana Message - September 2015

Sept 2015

The customer had a complaint and called the waiter over.. I've got a fly in my salad., the customer said. What's he doing in there? the waiter replied. He's supposed to be in the soup. That's what you call quick thinking! Some would find this humorous and give the waiter a bigger tip. Others might be offended and think the waiter a jerk. Which would you be? - Read More...

Montana Message - June 2015

June 2015

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings..... they did it by killing everyone who opposed them. And that is the approach certain factions in the Montana Legislature this year probably wish they would have adopted..... - Read More...

2015 Montana - Spring Magazine

Spring 2015

It is indeed all about the 64th Legislative Session right now, which when you read this will be a few weeks from adjournment. Every Session has its idiosyncrasies and is remembered for some event or other, about which the press has a high old time. The 64th, (that is, the Republican leadership ...) will be remembered for its ill-fated attempt to instate dress codes, and a bill that would have outlawed yoga pants and other clothing in public. House Bill 365 lasted a brief 24 hours and experienced "death by a few snickers"... thank the Lord. For a state that values the notion of living free and bristles at the slightest hint of government interference, legislation like this makes it hard not to come away thinking that the Legislature is the playground of hypocrites, or those who have too much time to solve problems that don't exist. While we all got a good laugh out of this, we doubt this did much for Montana's reputation, as the story circulated nationally and we were summarily ridiculed. We hope the 64th has exhausted its goofy government ideas Read More...

2014 Montana - Winter Magazine

Winter 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, our eyes are now on the 2015 Legislative Session that commences January 5th. It's likely that as you read this WPMA News issue, we are on the road conducting our pre-legislative meetings with members and elected officials. What does the Session hold in store for petroleum marketers and convenience store operators? With elections just now completed it remains to be seen what ideas and proposals will be floated; however, holdover Senators and legislators that ran unopposed in the general election have been able to submit bill draft requests since early June. We know we will be involved in the usual variety of C-store issues; as of this writing there are no fewer than five bill draft requests in the hopper regarding electronic cigarettes. We know there will be a bill to revise the "sell-by" dating on milk in this state, and we will be working with other groups to assure that food safety codes are reasonable. Read More...

Montana State Report - Success Through Change - Fall 2014

Fall 2014

As per usual, summer went entirely too fast! While there's still about four weeks left as I'm writing this, I still have that "cram everything you possibly can in" feeling. When you live on the east side of the Divide spring comes later, and fall comes earlier; but enough whining! We need to report the good news that the June convention was a great success! - Read More...

Montana Message - June 2014

June 2014

It's likely that as you are reading this issue of the WPMA News, we are kicking off our annual convention/trade show in Missoula. Coming in to the event, we are very optimistic that this year's meeting will be a big success both financially and in meeting the attendees? expectations with the SCOOP! - Read More...

Montana Message - April 2014

April 2013

Montana is currently enjoying an "off-session" year which allows us to focus on other issues and events including, for those who are interested; the second bi-annual Energy Conference to be held in Billings, MT, April 2-3. The first conference held in 2012 was a huge success and is hosted by the Montana Petroleum Association, the Montana Contractors Association and the Montana Coal Council. Here is the link for conference registration and agenda; www.montanaenergy.net. In 2012 the MPMCSA Board of Directors attended one day of the conference while also holding its Board meeting in Billings. Read More...

2013 Holiday Greetings - Montana State Report

Dec 2013

July 1st saw a changing of the guard in MPMCSA leadership. Kary Tonjum - City Service Valcon in Kalispell became President; Wes Burley-Town & Country Supply in Laurel accepted the position of Vice-President and outgoing President, Doug Klotthor-Rocky Mountain Supply in Belgrade was appointed to serve as director to the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA). - Read More...

Montana Message - September 2013

Sept 2013

After a long legislative Session, travel to regional and national meetings and of course, the June convention, it has been a refreshing summer break. No doubt the MPMCSA Board of Directors has enjoyed their downtime from association business as well. Speaking of the Board, we need to recognize a couple individuals now that the new Association year commenced on July 1st. First, we need to thank outgoing President, Doug Klotthor for his time in the Chair. Doug stepped into the "main man" position somewhat early due to the untimely passing of previous President, Dave Sutey, which meant for one thing, presiding over three conventions. Read More...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - April 29

2013

The 63rd legislature adjourned "Sine Die" (without future date) on the 87th day of the Session, a couple days earlier than scheduled. While the main budget bill, House Bill 2, and the implementation bill, House Bill 410 passed, we will not know the state of Montana's fiscal health for another couple weeks. A look back at the "numbers" shows that of the 2,218 bill draft requests received, 1200 of those were introduced as bills; the Legislature killed 625 of those. Governor Bullock has signed 289 bills into law, vetoed 23 and issued 17 amendatory vetoes. 14 bills have become law without his signature. The estimated cost of the 63rd session for House, Senate and legislative services is $5.4 million.
read more...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - April 14

2013

The Final Stretch... The Legislature is in the final stretch of the 63rd Session as legislators undertake the difficult task of fitting numerous spending and tax relief proposals into the state's biennial budget. According to the Legislative Fiscal Division's latest General Fund Balance Sheet, with all that is on the table there is a structural imbalance of $94.6 million - meaning that the cost of spending and tax relief is that amount over projected revenue.
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - April 7

2013

So just when we think the Legislature is operating in a fairly decorous manner and getting the State's business done, a collapse of epic proportions occurs. Missing Senators, shoes & glasses banging on desks, and sergeants of arms running hither and yon created quite the spectacle for observers of the state Senate on Friday. One could only wonder what the high school kids serving as pages were thinking as the scene was taking place. Elders and statesmen??...looked like kindergarten to the rest of us.
read more...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - March 31

2013

The Legislature adjourned last Thursday for the Easter break and reconvenes mid-day Tuesday for floor sessions; committees begin meeting again on Wednesday and now face the revenue bill transmittal deadline of Friday April 5th. Bills languishing in committee include the Governor's proposed, one-time, $400 property tax rebate bill with a $100 million price tag, heard on February 22nd. The Republican rival tax-cut bill by Rep. Scott Reichner-Big Fork, would provide $100 million in property tax cuts over the next two years, and in future years too, unless revised. This bill was reviewed by the House Appropriations Committee last Thursday and if approved will go to the Senate. The primary job of the Legislature is to pass a balanced budget.
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - March 16

2013

First, we are pleased to report that the legislative reception held last Tuesday evening was a success! At final count, 42 legislators had stopped by for a visit - while that may not sound like many, it's almost 1/3 of the body. Many thanks to the members that made the trip to Helena and for your personal invitations to your representatives that certainly made a difference in the attendance!

The first signs of contention between parties came this week as the House Appropriations Committee began the first round of voting on the major budget bill - House Bill 2. Until last week the story on HB2 was one of bipartisan cooperation with members drafting a measure that largely honored the requests of Governor Steve Bullock. Democrat members attempted to amend back into the bill several proposals that were left out of the subcommittee's work and when rebuffed by majority Republicans threw a hissy fit. Acting like it was a tragedy of major proportions, certain Democrats heaped scorn on their Republican counterparts and in the process have seen some of the work accomplished come unraveled. The entire House will begin debate on the $9 billion budget bill on Tuesday and the Democrats now find themselves in a tentative position in seeing any of the amendment proposals accepted.
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - March 10

2013

The 63rd finally got into gear after the break, producing a very busy week for all. This coming week will also be packed with hearings and executive action on many bills. On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on amendments to House Bill 2, the major bill to fund state government for the next two years, and then take action on the measure as a whole. The bill, by Rep. Duane Ankney-Colstrip, then will head to the House floor for debate later this month. On Tuesday, the Joint Select Committee on Pensions will take votes on some of the major bills it has considered aimed at fixing Montana's financially troubled public pension plans..
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - March 4

2013

The 63rd Legislature is officially on break! Both Houses adjourned early yesterday with legislators scheduled to return late Monday afternoon for committee meetings starting on Tuesday. A quick analysis shows that there were only 41 fewer bills heard the first half of this session compared to the first half of the 2011 session. The tone of the first half has been relatively harmonious, but tensions could increase as various substantial - not to mention expensive - proposals make their way through the process. Education funding reform, property tax relief, public pension reform, construction bonding and Medicaid expansion are the big ticket items that will likely dominate the remaining 45 days of the Session.
read more...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - Feb 24

2013

Transmittal - in sight! Transmittal, the midpoint of the 90-day session and the deadline when bills other than revenue bills must be transmitted to the other chamber in order to stay alive - is a mere 4 legislative days away. As is customary, a flood of bills was heard this past week in the hopes of meeting the deadline which is next Thursday, February 28th. Revenue bills do not have to be transmitted to the opposite chamber until the 71st day. Legislators will go home Thursday evening and return late Monday afternoon.
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - Feb 09

2013

Please put this date on your calendar - March 12th, Helena-Legislative Reception
The Association will again host a legislative reception in Helena at the Montana City Grill ? 5:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. on March 12th. In the past the event has been well attended by legislators so it's important that we have as many members there as possible. A block of rooms will be reserved at the Colonial Hotel for those who wish to spend the evening. We will also plan a trip up to the Capitol either the day of or, morning after or...both. Stay tuned for more details.

Five bills regarding school funding advanced in week five that will most likely be debated together in some manner before the end of the 63rd Legislative Session. Senate Bill 175 sponsored by Llew Jones- Conrad, cuts property taxes while increasing state money for public schools by $75 million the next two years, passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously. It would also cut local school district property taxes by $19.5 million and more widely distribute oil & gas revenue to help more school districts dealing with the impacts of oil & gas development in eastern Montana. On the House side, House Bills 176, 177 & 228 all advanced mostly on party line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. All three bills would allow school districts in oil producing areas to keep larger amounts of oil & gas tax revenues based either on increased enrollment or general percentage increases. Senate Bill 175 however, has the support of the entire public school lobby and will most likely emerge as the main vehicle.
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MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - Feb 02

2013

Please put this date on your calendar - March 12th, Helena-Legislative Reception
The Association will again host a legislative reception in Helena at the Montana City Grill - 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on March 12th. In the past the event has been well attended by legislators so it's important that we have as many members there as possible. A block of rooms will be reserved at the Colonial Hotel for those who wish to spend the evening. We will also plan a trip up to the Capitol either the day of or, morning after or...both. Stay tuned for more details.
read more...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - Jan 26

2013

Week three of the 63rd Legislature saw the Senate Republicans continue to play out their turf battles and widen the divide that has become more of a large "ravine"... Regardless of what the two factions are relaying to the press at this point, there is no meeting of the minds or joining of the hands. Lobbyists such as me are now wondering about bill sponsors in the Senate and whether our issues will get caught up in the ball juggling between the two factions. Simply put the whole thing is crazy.
read more...

MPMCSA - Legislative Bulletin - Jan 20

2013

After a rather slow start the 63rd Legislative Session geared up this last week to begin the Session-long budgeting process with unanimous approval by the Joint Appropriations Committee to adopt a baseline budget that uses last biennium's budget as a starting point, instead of the customary practice of a "present law base," which automatically adjusts the base budget for such things as unanticipated demand for services, inflation, and the elimination of nonrecurring appropriations.
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Baucus Letter Debit

2012

Thanks to debit card swipe fee reform, thousands of merchants across Montana are finally seeing relief from the extraordinary fees they once faced every time customers swiped a debit card. While the reforms were threatened a year ago, when the opponents led a pitched effort to delay and eventually repeal the reforms. That effort thankfully failed and today, merchants and consumers are saving money as a result.
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Tester Letter Debit

2012

Thanks to debit card swipe fee reform, thousands of merchants across Montana are finally seeing relief from the extraordinary fees they once faced every time customers swiped a debit card. While the reforms were threatened a year ago by the delay effort you led, that effort thankfully failed and today, merchants and consumers are saving money as a result.
read more...

Legislative Bulletin 05-31-2011

2011

This is a final report on the 62nd Legislative Session that adjourned on April 30th; a week later than originally scheduled. Many bills have been in 'flux' either awaiting the Governor's signature, a veto or, the Governor allowing them to become law. While there are still a couple bills of interest that were vetoed but are now going through the process of a veto override, the fate of a majority of the business bills of interest has now been determined.
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Legislative Bulletin 01-31-2011

2011

Week Six: I'm sure you've heard or read in the media, medical marijuana bills are advancing including House Bill 161 which would repeal the entire act. The Association has supported House Bill 43 which clarifies the legal standings of businesses regarding the dismissal of employees in a medical marijuana situation; this bill has passed the House and will be heard in the Senate after transmittal break which is the week of February 21st.
read more...

Legislative Bulletin 01-31-2011

2011

Week Four: Last week the House Human Services Committee heard the Montana Chamber's bill to strengthen employer rights in situations involving employee's use of medical marijuana. The Association supported HB43, that would make it clear that employers have the right to dismiss employees who come to work impaired. The committee has not yet taken action on the bill so there is still time to contact your legislator on this issue.
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Legislative Bulletin 01-23-2011

2011

Week Three: Well, you of course saw all the news regarding the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee....yes, it is Senator Shockley who had introduced the ethanol labeling bill. (He has since pulled that bill out of consideration). On Friday a medical marijuana bill created most of the excitement; this bill would regulate the drug similar to how alcohol is regulated putting it under the control of the Department of Revenue. They didn't look too happy about that possibility. While we're on the subject; the Chamber's bill, House Bill 43 by Gary MacLaren/Victor, will be heard Monday the 24th in the Health Human Services Committee. A few of you sent details about an experience you've had as an employer with MM; we will be supporting the bill. I sent details about the content of the bill last report but if you have questions, please send me a message.
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Legislative Bulletin 01-17-2011

2011

Committees began hearing bills the second week of the Session with both parties putting forth their objectives for the next 85 days; the real work begins now. The issue spotlight for this report is medical marijuana reform. Over the past year and a half the number of people in Montana with medical marijuana cards has grown from a few thousand to almost 28,000. That's almost 3% of the population that is now "legally" using the cannabis. Consequently, more businesses are finding out about employees who are now using the drug and concerns are growing within the business community. The medical marijuana law was passed by 62% of voters in 2004 however, it's clear that a majority of the public may have buyer's remorse regarding their decision to approve medical marijuana. The Montana Chamber formed a work group to develop ideas to firm up employer rights for medical marijuana situations in the workplace.
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Legislative Bulletin

2011

As has been reported in the local Medias, the first week of the 62nd Legislative Session was mostly spent in education for new and seasoned legislators; budget and appropriations of the State coffers, law review and protocol for conducting business. The House and Senate committees that will address the many bills that will be presented also met to organize and set forth rules for their individual endeavors. Those committees will begin meeting this week and you can find a schedule on the Legislature's website http://leg.mt.gov/css/.
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Calendar of Events

Jun 5 - 7, 2018

Montana 2018 Trade Show & Convention
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
Butte, MT