LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 030119

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

MARCH 1, 2019

HB 6 – Renewable Resource Grants: This bill has been referred to House Appropriations for consideration.

HB 7 – Reclamation and Development Grants:  This bill has been referred to House Appropriations for consideration.

HB 8 – Renewable Resource Bonds & Loans:  House Appropriations passed this bill as amended.

HB 11 – Treasure State Regional Water Program:  House Appropriations passed this bill as amended.

HB52 – Revise and Make Permanent Funding for Various Economic Programs – sponsored by Representative Jim Keane: The original bill moves the Conservation District, State Library, and Agriculture funding from the Coal Tax Trust Fund to the Department of Commerce for economic development.  The bill is under consideration by House Appropriations.

HB 56 – Revise and clarify voluntary clean-up laws – sponsored by Rep. Jim Keane:    The bill was a clarification piece extending the deadlines to allow for sufficient time to complete groundwater projects.  Bill signed by the Speaker of the House.

HB 132 – Clarify Definition of Bison – sponsored by Ken Holmlund:  Revised the definition of wild bison; qualifiers include: the animal has never been owned before, the animal has never been subjected to per capita tax, and the animals have never been in captivity.  Amendments are being considered on the bill before moving forward.

HB 142 – Revise County Weed Laws – sponsored by Rep. Joshua Kassmier:  This bill introduces the concept of integrated weed management.  The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the bill.

HB 229 – Clarify Dinosaur Bones and Fossils are Part of Surface Estate – sponsored by Bradley Hamlett:  This bill passed the House with amendment is scheduled for hearing by the Senate Natural Resources on 3/11.

HB 328 – Exempting Conservation Districts from Certain Fees – sponsored by Rep. Alan Redfield:  This bill exempts CDs from the DEQ permit fee requirement.  The bill has been transmitted to the Senate for consideration.  A hearing is scheduled for 3/13/19.

HB 383 – Extend Deadline for Appeal of a Stream Permit – sponsored by Rep. Kerry White:  This bill changes the appeal timeframe from 15 to 60 days.  The meeting with the sponsor went very well.  Rep. White agreed to accept a 30-day appeal timeline and the other timelines were aligned accordingly for an amendment.  This bill is scheduled for hearing with the Senate Natural Resources committee on 3/11/19.

HJ 17 – Resolution Requesting AIS Funding from Congress – sponsored by Rep. Willis Curdy:  This resolution requests funding from the federal government for the Montana AIS program.  MACD supported this effort.  The resolution has been transmitted to the Senate.

HJ 28 – Joint Resolution Requesting Denial of American Prairie Reserve Grazing Permit – sponsored by Rep. Dan Bartel:  This resolution passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate.

SB 247 – Revise FWP Authority for Instream Flows – sponsored by Sen. Jill Cohenour:  This bill attempts to replace the current June 30, 2019 sunset date with authority in perpetuity.  Confusion has arisen and tangled this proposal with the Army Core of Engineers current initiative regarding pallid sturgeon.  The two should not be confused.  CORRECTION: this bill is still active; it is a revenue bill and has a 4/1/19 transmittal date. 

SB 299 – Generally Revise Laws Related to Sage Grouse Conservation – sponsored by Sen. Mike Lang:  This bill proposes changes to the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team assessment of credits and considers various sector issues.  This bill passed the Senate and has been transferred to House Natural Resources.  A hearing is scheduled for 3/25/19.

MACD is currently monitoring 51 legislative initiatives.   As movement is made on each, updates will be provided.