House passes 17 bills Tuesday, nears transmittal

Five bills passed out of the house on a unanimous vote, including one bill that would allow drivers to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per hour when passing another vehicle.

By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – The House of Representatives passed 17 bills on Tuesday, including one bill that would create a statewide public lands day.

The bill, House Bill 491, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Court, D-Billings, passed on a narrow vote of 52-48.

The House only voted down one bill on final reading: House Bill 291 sponsored by Rep. Tom Jacobson, D-Great Falls. That bill would prohibit insurance companies from setting rates based off online shopping information.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with your risk of getting into an accident,” Jacobson said. “It has everything to do with your intention, or probability of shopping around for a different insurance rate.”

The bill failed on a slim vote of 48-52.

Five bills passed out of the house on a unanimous vote, including one bill that would allow drivers to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles per hour when passing another vehicle.

Rep. Kelly Flynn, R-Townsend, is the sponsor of House Bill 471. He gave the example of the stretch of highway between Helena and Bozeman during debate on the bill Monday.

“When you are going up that highway on that two lane and you come to that passing zone – when you hit that passing zone, you can only go 70 miles an hour,” Flynn said.

The Legislature’s halfway mark of the session is Wednesday, or what’s called transmittal break. That’s the deadline for general bills to pass either the House or the Senate.

Lawmakers will reconvene in Helena on March 7.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.