Montana Legislature Considering Historic Package of Pro-Housing Development Bills

State legislators agree the cost of housing is a growing problem, but there is little consensus on how to boost the supply of affordable housing.

2 minute read

April 10, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of buildings and parking lots in Missoula, Montana

Jacob Boomsma / Missoula, Montana

Dozens of bills aimed at addressing a growing housing crisis have been proposed in the Montana state legislature this year, according to an article by David Erickson in Missoulian.

Erickson outlines the many proposed bills, some of which are still in play. As Erickson explains, Senate Bill 382 (Create the Montana Land Use Planning Act), Senate Bill 323 (Allow for duplex housing in city zoning), and Senate Bill 245 (Revise municipal zoning to allow multifamily and mixed-use development) are the focus of Senate Republicans, laws that would help increase the housing supply in the long term.

Senate Minority Leader Pat Flowers, a Democrat, has called for “immediate relief for working Montanans,” arguing that long-term solutions aren't sufficient to help workers struggling to find housing today. House Democrats have proposed a workforce housing trust fund to assist low-income workers, but the plan was rejected by House Republicans.

Other significant bills include: HB 889, which would institute protections for mobile home park residents; HB 105, which would prevent local governments from passing rent control regulations; and HB 943, which would raise the tax on short-term rental units.

While the debate continues over some of the bills on the table, according to Kyle Schmauch, the communications and policy manager for Montana Senate Republicans, “If the session ended tomorrow, we would still have the most significant pro-housing reform we have seen at the Montana Legislature in a very long time.”

See the source article for the full list of bills still under consideration.

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