October‌ ‌2020‌ ‌Update‌  ‌‌ 

  • MSIA 2020 Business Meeting Results
  • LMAC Meeting, Friday 10/9 – Medical Marijuana in Workers Comp
  • The Website is Coming! The Website is Coming!  Look for Soon
  • Welcome to New MSIA Members!

As always, if you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me via call or text at 406-431-7220 or by email at  Thanks – Peter

  • MSIA 2020 Business Meeting

Thank you to all who attended our first (and hopefully only) Zoom Business and Annual Meeting.  We reviewed our financial situation, elected a new Board, amended the Bylaws to help us operate more efficiently and thanked Annette Hoffman and Bob Worthington for their leadership and service to the Association.  A copy of the Business Meeting minutes is being prepared and will be sent to members after October 15. 

Your new Board is: 

Chair                    Ann Komac – Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority

Vice Chair           Jamie Haun – Rosauers Supermarkets

Sec’y/Treas        Michael Marsh – Midland Claims Service

At Large              Donna Haeder – NorthWestern Corporation

Dee Walchek     Kalispell Regional Medical Center

Membership adopted a budget for the this fiscal year with a minor deficit based on both income and expense projections.  The reserve accounts for the Association currently has can support the projected deficit.  Please contact us if you are a member and would like the Fiscal Year 2020 report, the Financial Report for Calendar Year To Date Report or the Budget as adopted. 

Bylaw changes permit high deductible policyholders (minimum $250,000 deductible) to become members of the Association, changes to the role of the Secretary/Treasurer to provide for more of an oversight role, rather than personally being responsible for dues collections and payments and updating the language to reflect actual operations and current law.  

  • MSIA thanks Annette Hoffman and Bob Worthington.  

Annette Hoffman (SCL Health) has been Chair of our Board for the past few years, and has been the Business Chair of the Labor Management Advisory Committee.  Hoffman retired earlier this year and was good enough to see her term on our Board to the end.  We cannot thank her enough for her leadership and service.  During her time, we moved to a much more active and member-driven organization with a solid financial foundation.  Also, Bob Worthington came out of retirement to volunteer to help the Association with our transition to a new Executive Director this year.  It is not an understatement that without Bob’s assistance our future would have been in doubt.  The Board voted to recognize and specifically thank Worthington with recognition and personal gift for his efforts this year.

  • LMAC Meeting October 9 – Medical Marijuana in Workers’ Comp & The Governor’s Conference Presentations

Right after the Governor’s Conference, held by Zoom this year, ended LMAC announced their next Zoom meeting would be Friday, October 9, starting at 9:00a ( Passcode: 380084, or join via phone: 646-558-8656, webinar ID: 941 6477 1067 Password: 380084)

Topics on the agenda include: 

  • Proposed Legislative Language for Plan 2 Security Deposits
  • Wage Integrity & Misclassification in Construction Industry
  • Marijuana Legislation Impacts in the Work Comp System

The Wage Integrity topic continues the discussion on independent contractors and the penalties recommended by the Governor’s Task Force for knowingly hiring people as IC’s who are not IC’s.  

Attached is a copy of the Marijuana presentation package that will be delivered to LMAC on Friday.  The presentation is a review and update of statutes around the country.  33 states currently permit recreational or medical marijuana.  14 states, including Montana specifically exclude the requirement for workers’ compensation system reimbursement (MCA 39-71-407).  

We can expect marijuana legislative proposals during the 2021 session but with the election just around the corner, it is too early to predict what if anything will receive serious consideration.  Legislative considerations will likely be guided by the results on two initiatives on the ballot this year.  CI-118 would amend the Montana constitution to allow the legislature or an initiative to set an minimum age for possession and purchase of marijuana and I – 190, permitting recreational marijuana in the state for people over the age of 21, taxing and distribution of tax revenues from marijuana and allowing those serving sentences for possession, sale or purchase of marijuana to apply for resentencing or expungement of the conviction.  Proponents say both have to pass to become effective.  (Editor’s Note: Many business organizations including MSIA members are opposed to both initiatives).  

From the Montana Secretary of State’s website: 

CI-118: Under the Montana Constitution, a person 18 years of age or older is an adult, except that the legislature or the people by initiative may establish the legal age of purchasing, consuming, or possessing alcoholic beverages. CI-118 amends the Montana Constitution to allow the legislature or the people by initiative to establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana.

I-190 legalizes the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. I-190 requires the Department of Revenue to license and regulate the cultivation, transportation, and sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products and to inspect premises where marijuana is cultivated and sold. It requires licensed laboratories to test marijuana and marijuana-infused products for potency and contaminants. I-190 establishes a 20% tax on non-medical marijuana.  10.5% of the tax revenue goes to the state general fund, with the rest dedicated to accounts for conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, healthcare costs, and localities where marijuana is sold. I-190 allows a person currently serving a sentence for an act permitted by I-190 to apply for resentencing or an expungement of the conviction. I-190 prohibits advertising of marijuana and related products.

Montana law is currently clear that medical marijuana is not compensable under our workers’ compensation system (MCA 39-71-407).  

The Governor’s Conference was all virtual this year.  Some of the presentations included:

Return to Work Paradigm Shift – stressing the need to understand and address the differences between work disability and physical or medical disabilities, 

Telemedicine in the Montana system, 

Pot Politics – Brian Allen’s take on what’s happening in the Courts, in legislatures and in studies around the country on marijuana,

Alex Swedlow’s presentation on the California Workers’ Compensation System in the Time of COVID-19 (Swedlow was also the MSIA Annual Meeting guest speaker), 

The Impact of Aging on Workplace Injury and Illness Risk

A discussion by MT WC Judge David Sandler on the Courts’ work, and

Communication Across the Ages

MSIA has the powerpoint presentations from all the sessions, including those not listed.  Please contact us if you would like to get some or all of them.  

  • The Website is Coming! The Website is Coming!  Look for Soon.

We have contracted with CardSetter, based in Billings, to help create and to maintain our new website.  We are in the process of putting together the public facing information we want on the website and will be creating a members only section providing membership lists and contacts, as well as MSIA business and financial information.  If you have any suggestions for material or pictures to include on the website, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We are hoping to launch this month! 

  • Welcome Definiti Comp Solutions and Montana Hospital Association as new MSIA Associate Members!

Thanks again for your support.  If you have any questions or need additional information about the MT workers’ compensation system or other systems, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Peter Strauss, Executive Director 

Montana Self Insurers’ Association

520 Monroe Ave

Helena, MT 59601