New State Regulation Bans Vehicle Advertising

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has taken a giant step in the regulation of signs, to the point of assuming the power to restrict advertising on commercial vehicles.

The new rules, which became effective at the end of November, are prompting legislation to circumvent what some people see as an over-reaching of a bureaucratic agency.

Read more: New State Regulation Bans Vehicle Advertising

Disaster Assistance Available For Small Businesses

Small, non-farm businesses in 27 Montana counties may now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “These disaster loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the combination of drought, excessive heat, hail, severe storms, high winds, wildfires and insects affecting the primary of Montana counties beginning January 1, 2008.

Read more: Disaster Assistance Available For Small Businesses

Public Access Could be Hot Issue

Public access to rivers and streams in Montana over right-of-ways along public roads is likely to be one of the hot issues of the next state legislature. It certainly was in the last session, during which action was stalled out by controversy.

Since then a Madison County District Court decision has been rendered which has been heralded by both sides as a victory, so perhaps the controversy will be lessened, as the issue is taken up once again in 2009.

Read more: Public Access Could be Hot Issue

Court Does Poorly in Survey

The Montana Supreme Court received a rather middling grade in a survey it conducted of itself. Scoring only 71.7 points of a possible 100 points.

The survey was sent to 982 District Court judges, law school faculty and adjunct faculty and appellate attorney involved in cases it disposed since July 2006. They received 455 responses.

Read more: Court Does Poorly in Survey

Looking for a Few Good Businesses

The U.S Small Business Administration is seeking nominations for 2009 Small Business Week Awards. Each year small business owners and advocate champions from every state are recognized for their ingenuity, determination, success and contributions toward building a more prosperous future for our country.

National Small Business Week will be celebrated in early May 2009. In recognition of SBW, the Montana SBA office, local Chambers of Commerce and other small business supporters will sponsor special activities honoring small businesses and individuals who have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of small businesses in Montana. The presentation of awards will highlight Small Business Week activities.

Read more: Looking for a Few Good Businesses

Does Public Information in Montana Need Better Enforcement?

Has the time come to remove the onus for enforcing public information and open meeting laws from the citizen or media complainant and put the burden on government?

The question was raised by the executive director of the Montana Newspaper Association in the organization’s most recent newsletter.
The organization sponsored Freedom of Information (FOI) Hot Line is getting an increasing number of calls from media, citizens and even government officials, and usually the questions are “straightforward.” And, the answers are “clear as a bell.”

Read more: Does Public Information in Montana Need Better Enforcement?

MT Department of Commerce Awards $600,000 to Beartooth Hospital

The Montana Department of Commerce has awarded $600,000 in funding from the Community Development Block Grant – Economic Development (CDBG-ED) Program to Carbon County and the City of Red Lodge to provide a grant to Beartooth Hospital and Health Care for the purchase of new medical equipment.

The new equipment will be utilized in the existing hospital and then be moved into the new hospital building upon completion of construction.

The project will create 30 well paying, full time positions in the healthcare industry and provide new medical equipment for the Beartooth Hospital and Health Care.

Beartooth RC&D Area, Inc. will assist with the administration of the project. Other contributing funding will be from the community fundraising efforts of the Beartooth Hospital Foundation, which has raised $2,790,000 to date, a loan from Billings Clinic for $2,500,000, and loans from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for $19,775,000.

Legislators Win NFIB Endorsement

The representative group for the state’s small business owners announced its endorsements of seven Montana legislators for reelection.

In making its endorsements, the National Federation of Independent Business Montana (NFIB) SAFE Trust, the political action committee of NFIB/Montana, the state’s largest small business association, praised State Reps. Duane Ankney of Colstrip (HD 43), Bill Glaser of Huntley (HD 44), Dennis Himmelberger of Billings (HD 47), Tom McGillvray of Billings (HD 50), Elsie Arntzen of Billings (HD 53), Penny Morgan of Billings (HD 57), and Krayton Kerns of Laurel (HD 58) for their pro-small voting records during the last session of the Montana Legislature, which were, in order named, 78 percent, 78 percent, 100 percent, 100 percent, 78 percent, 89 percent, and 89 percent. Ankney’s district also includes parts of Custer, Rosebud, and Treasure counties and Morgan’s parts of Carbon County. Voting records were based on support or opposition to 11 bills important to small business in the 2007 session of the Legislature. It takes at least a 70 percent, pro-small business voting record to earn NFIB’s endorsement.

Read more: Legislators Win NFIB Endorsement

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