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Montana Chamber Update
By Webb Brown, President
The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Court ruling in the Satterlee work comp case. This is the case where the plaintiffs were seeking to overturn a statute that prohibits the collection of work comp benefits after a worker is retired. This means that the statute is upheld, and Montana small businesses will not have to pay up to $300 million in new costs. It was a 5-2 decision, with Justice Leaphart writing the majority opinion. Chief Justice McGrath, Justice Rice, Justice Cotter and Justice Warner signed on to his opinion. Justice Morris, joined by Justice Nelson, wrote the dissent which relied heavily on a Utah Supreme Court decision. The Montana Chamber wrote an amicus brief in this case laying out the huge cost Montana businesses would incur if the statute was overturned. This is a good day for Montana small businesses, which are already paying the 2nd highest premiums in the country
The U.S. House of Representatives has taken action on a very bad health care reform bill. Montana’s Rep. Denny Rehberg voted against the measure, and we thank him for that. Now is the time to contact our U.S. Senators.
Regarding the vote, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Bruce Josten issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 3962, the health care bill: “Today, the House missed a significant opportunity to advance reasonable and meaningful health reform that fundamentally changes how the health care system operates and changes the overall upward trajectory in spending. American employers and employees want an improvement in the nation’s health care system, not an unsustainable, unaffordable overhaul. Friday’s news that unemployment has reached double digits for the first time in 26 years should have been a wake-up call for those considering job-stifling tax increases and employer mandates included in the House health care bill. Expanding coverage is an imperative; it is also imperative that the nation is moving on a credible and sustainable fiscal path. Unfortunately, in addition to the massive new tax burdens on individuals and small business owners, the health care reform bill just passed by the House of Representatives fails the crucial test of reducing the soaring cost of health coverage for businesses or individuals. We urge the Senate to listen to the American people and reject the House’s partisan approach to health care.”
Chamber on the Road
Business Days Coming
Save the date for Business Days at the Capitol, January 14-15 in Helena. Even though the Legislature isn’t in Session, the Montana Chamber works on business issues 24/7/365!
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103