Warning: this article has editorial overtones.

Editor’s note:?The headline here could well be “Why Montana is Not Open for Business.” It is but one very small example of how the state restricts vibrant economic growth and individual freedom. Changing such statism is where economic development efforts should focus.

At least one product and one type of business has squeezed partially out from under the long arm of Montana licensing and permitting laws. Apparently, innocent people selling commercial feed, such as pet food, are required to have a license in Montana  -- who knew? They are required to pay $100 and then pay the state $50 for each product by the force of the Montana Department of Agriculture.

With the claim that they weren’t really making and selling “feed” but rather “treats,” a Havre business appealed to their state legislator that the law would destroy their small enterprise, after being threatened with reprisals by the Department of Agriculture.

Rep. Jacob Bachmeier introduced HB 607 and the state legislature passed it, benignly backing-off the regulatory requirements and now all innocent citizens making and selling items called “treats”, while still not free to pursue their innocent activity, are controlled by less expensive licensing requirements -- but controled they are, for the protection of us all, one must presume.

People selling dog treats will pay $25 a year to register up to 20 flavors of treats, provided they are not so successful as to make more than $25,000 a year. As the years go by, the Agriculture Department can raise the fee to $30 annually.

The Governor graciously signed the bill, and representatives of the business sector were appropriately grateful to all.