MTPR

Lawyers Request Location Change In Montana State Fund Lawsuit

Jan 29, 2018

State lawyers want to move a case challenging part of the special session fix to balance the state budget to Lewis and Clark County. The lawsuit, filed in Lake County last week, calls a law plugging $30 million into the state’s budget gap unconstitutional.

In November, Governor Steve Bullock proposed, and lawmakers approved, a 3 percent fee on the state’s largest workers compensation insurance provider. The fee applies to Montana State Fund assets above a billion dollars. 

The State Fund’s governing board sued to block this fee when it became law but withdrew the challenge under pressure from Governor Bullock. Now, a coalition of policy holders of the Montana State Fund are suing to stop the law.

The group is led by Polson Republican Representative Greg Hertz. 

“It violates both the U.S. and Montana Constitution, which both don’t allow the Legislature or Congress to pass laws violating contracts,” Hertz says.

Last Friday, the state asked to move case to Lewis and Clark County, which the state says is closer to witnesses in the case. 

The governor’s office says the fee on the State Fund is needed to keep the state’s budget balanced, and it was part of the bipartisan deal during the special session.