Legislative Committee Update 12-27-2018

The legislative committee has begun monitoring bills for the 2019 Montana Legislative Session. The bills listed below are just a start.  There are over 1700 LCs that have the potential to turn into bills. 

  1. The DNRC budget is part of Section C: Natural Resource and Transportation.  Their budget will be heard by the House Natural Resource Committee.  The budget is tentatively set to be heard on February 4, 2018.  This date is subject to change as the committee works through the agenda.  It is important for CDs to contact their legislators to share the MACD legislative brochure so they understand the funding dilemma and chime in when necessary.  It is vitally important for CDs with legislators on the House Natural Resource Committee to share the legislative brochure information with them:
    1. White, Kerry (R) ‐ Ch; Manzella, Theresa (R) ‐ VCh; Curdy, Willis (D) ‐ VCh;  Brown, Bob (R); Brown, Zach (D;) Farris‐Olsen, Robert (D;) Fitzgerald, Ross (R); Gunderson, Steve (R); Kerr‐Carpenter, Emma (D); Knudsen, Casey (R); Knudsen, Rhonda (R); Marler, Marilyn (D); Mortensen, Dale (R); Noland, Mark (R); Weatherwax, Marvin (D).
  2. HB #14 – Infrastructure Funding – sponsored by Ryan LynchHouse Appropriations Committee This bill contains the DNRC Renewable Resource Grant and the Reclamation & Development Grant funding.
    1. Renewable Resource Grant – Districts proposed for $125,000 in funding
      1. Carbon County CD – Golden Ditch Rehabilitation
      2. Petroleum County Cd – Horse Creek Storage
      3. Missoula County CD – Grass Valley French Ditch Rehabilitation
      4. Stillwater County CD – Riddle Ditch
      5. Pondera County CD – Kingsbury turnout
    2. Reclamation & Development Grant funding – NO CDs CONSIDERED AT THIS TIME
  3. HB #32 – Aquatic Invasive Species – sponsored by Willis CurdyNatural Resource Committee 
    • Establishing a Prevention Pass Requirement for boaters.
    • The Question is whether or not CDs contracted to man AIS stations have the authority to request a copy or proof of the Prevention Pass.
  4. HB #77 – Ag Donations – sponsored by Alan RedfieldAgriculture Committee 
    • Establishes the management of donations for Farm & Ranch disasters through the Dept. of Agriculture.
    • Question is whether or not CDs can access funding to help farmers & ranchers.
  5. HB #80 – Revising Water Reservation Process – sponsored by Willis CurdyNatural Resource Committee
    • Removing water reservations from the Missouri and Little Missouri river Basins
      • Little Missouri to the confluence with Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota
      • Missouri to confluence of Yellowstone in North Dakota
    • Question is why and how will this affect CDs/MRCDC/YRCDC
    • Hearing scheduled for 1/23
  6. SB #32 – Stream Gauge Oversight Work Group – sponsored by John SessoNatural Resource Committee
    • Setting up a work group to study the stream gauge situation under the oversight of the Drought Advisory Committee.  The Department, consultant, or advisor shall identify members.
    • Question is the CDs role for this effort and will they be asked to be part of the Work Group
  7. SB #45 – Revising Water Right Adjudication – sponsored by Jill CohenourNatural Resources Committee – Water Policy Interim Committee requestor.
    • Established notice for issuance of preliminary decree amendment filing (not allowed if subject to an order appealable under 85-2-235)
      • If appealed by person involved or affected
      • Attorney General may appeal if played role as intervener
      • If entered by any person affected AND who participated in interlocutory ruling by water judge.
    • Establishes process for orders before and after 10/1/19.
    • Question the CD role, if any
  8. SB #47 – Revise River Basin Council – sponsored by Jill CohenourNatural Resources Committee – Water Policy Interim Committee requestor.
    • Clarifies use of river basins for development of State Water Plan due in 2035, clarifies council membership, & adds State Water Plan requirement.  Basins include: Missouri, Yellowstone, Clark fork, & Kootenai.  Plan will be updated every 20 years.
    • Stakeholders include watershed groups, water organizations, irrigators, local government officials, tribal, & water resource specialists.
    • Question why CDs are not included as a stakeholder
  9. SB #49 – Measuring Aquifer Water Recharge – sponsored by Jill CohenourNatural Resource Committee – DNRC requestor
    • Revising location of Water Right Measurement & determining appropriate location for measurement.
  10. SB #69 – Revising Ag Classification – sponsored by Mark BlasdelAg, Livestock, Irrigation Committee – Revenue & Transportation Interim Committee requestor.
    • Establishes agriculture designation for parcels
    • Question how the assessment designation would affect the CD mill levy

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