With the start of the 2021 Legislature, Montana Chamber of Commerce has laid out its top policy priorities for the new year, the focus of which is aimed at near-term recovery and maintaining long-term, sustainable economic growth. 

Todd O’Hair, President and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce identified the challenges to business following the COVID restrictions imposed by government that is threatening the survivability of many in the state. “We remain optimistic that the upcoming legislative session will deliver prosperity for all Montanans in the years ahead,” he said, “Achieving this will require getting our economy back on track – businesses going from surviving to thriving. We are prepared to do our part in 2021 with an appropriately bold series of proposals.”

The Montana Chamber’s top priorities for the 67th Legislature include:

* Passing reasonable COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, health care providers, manufacturers, schools, and more;

* Enhanced industry input in agency rulemaking, either with legislation or by executive-driven approaches;

* Advancing workforce development with targeted investments in career and technical education and by removing barriers for work-based learning programs that can help create a pipeline of qualified talent for Montana businesses.

The Montana Chamber’s 2021 legislative agenda was developed by several policy working groups comprised of member businesses with final approval given by the organization’s Board of Directors. Its legislative priorities align with Envision 2026, the Montana Chamber’s 10-year strategic plan for Montana’s future.

“Workforce development, business climate, infrastructure, and entrepreneurship are tall orders, but we have advanced these goals with each legislative session since debuting our strategic plan in 2016,” noted Paul Hopfauf, Director of Strategic Planning and Growth for Montana-Dakota Utilities, Co. and Chair of the Montana Chamber board of directors.

This year’s new Board Directors for the Montana Chamber began three-year terms October 28, 2020. They include: ——Brad Anderson, President of Anderson Management Group

—Tara Beam, Owner of the Roadhouse Diner

—Shane Etzwiler, President/CEO of the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce (1 year term)

—Christina Henderson, Executive Director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance

—Amy Kellogg, Owner of Simply406

—Ross Lane, Vice President of Corporate Relations for Montana Rail Link (MRL)

—Liz Marchi, Chief Community Officer for Two Bear Capital

—Ron O’Donnell, CIO of Stockman Bank of Montana

—Nancy Schlepp, VP of Communications and Corporate Secretary, for Sandfire Resources America, Inc.(SFR)

—Ron Slinger, President of Miles Community College

—Gary Wiens, CEO of Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association


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