Bill advances eliminating OT for seasonal outdoor rec workers

By Cole Grant/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA – A bill that would get rid of overtime regulations for certain seasonal outdoor recreation workers needs just one more vote in the House to get to the governor’s desk.

A Senate committee in March had amended House Bill 496 to scrap other regulations that would have exempted some employees from minimum wage. It also changed the overtime portion to only include employees of dude and guest ranches or certain outfitters.

Amanda Curtis

The amended bill passed the House on a preliminary 59-41 vote Thursday.

Rep. Amanda Curtis, D-Butte, is still not happy with it.

“With all due respect, this is an awful bill. It’s offensive to workers on so many levels. You can’t try to put lipstick on it. It’s ugly, it’s atrocious,” Curtis said during a debate on the bill Thursday.

Rep. Scott Staffanson, R-Sidney, says it’s a gateway bill.

“First, someone’s going to get a job. The next thing you know they’re going to have a high paying job,” Staffanson said. “This leads to good, solid employment and I’m a yes.”

Cole Grant 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.