Single gold bitcoin on a computer motherboard

Montana passes ‘right to mine’ bill to protect miners

Montana looks set to become the latest American state to enact a law that protects block reward miners. SB 178 sailed through the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bull, dubbed “Right to Mine,” passed 64-35 in the House of Representatives last week. It sailed through the Senate in February.

Sponsored by Republican state Senator Daniel Zolnikov, SB 178 accords Montana residents a right to mine digital assets without any government interference. This protection extends to both industrial and home miners.

The bill further protects the miners from incurring “discriminatory rates” from the power providers.

Power pricing and access have become one of the most contentious issues in the block reward mining space. In some countries like Iran, the government curtails the power provided to miners depending on electricity demand.

However, power access and pricing in the U.S. differ across state lines. In Texas, grid operator ERCOT can order miners to shut down their rigs during peak demand. ERCOT then pays the miners for cooperating, a program that has come under heavy scrutiny by state legislators.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul banned miners from accessing carbon-based fuel to power their operations.

Montana legislators want to end such discrimination in the state. The bill dictates that miners shall not be treated differently from other data centers.

There’s no guarantee that Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte will sign the bill into law. In Arkansas, Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed a similar bill seeking to protect miners just last week. However, it’s claimed that party politics will play a big part in the governor’s approval: Both the governor and the bill’s sponsor are Republicans, unlike in Arkansas.

Zolnikov is confident that the governor will sign his bill into law.

“Bitcoin miners have been facing discrimination at the local level both in Montana and in other states like North Carolina. With this legislation set to become law, Montana can guarantee miners can do business in the state and create many of the rural jobs and opportunities that we need,” he told one outlet.

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