Legislative Update January 14, 2019

Week 2 of the 66th Session


The hearing for the DNRC Section C Budget will he heard on January 29th from 8:30 – Noon in room 317C at the Capitol by the Natural Resource and Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. 

MACD will be supporting the DNRC budget. More importantly we will be asking for an amendment to bolster the DNRC budget to help Conservation Districts because of past budget cuts. The Legislative Brochure sent out electronically earlier will be posted to the MACD website (please review the brochure again). The brochure outlines the 3 areas where there is currently a shortfall: Administrative funding, 310 funding, and emergency funds for additional 310 processing beyond the normal day-to-day activity. It is extremely important the legislators know that their local constituents support the DNRC budget and the additional budget request. They also need to hear the local story. There are 3 potential avenues of engagement below:

  1. Attend the session in Helena on the 29th, if at all possible. If you plan to attend, please let Dan know in advance. We will meet at the MACD office at 7:00 am on the morning of the 29th to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  2. If you cannot attend and the committee members are from your area, please send them a letter or email telling your local story, that you support the DNRC buget, and the need for additional funding.
    1. Ken Holmlund (chair) – Ken.Holmlund@mtleg.gov
    2. Duane Ankney – goodwind1.duane@gmail.com
    3. Janet Ellis – Janet.Ellis@mtleg.gov
    4. Jim Keane – Primary ph: (406) 723-8378 (no email available)
    5. Joe Read – joeread2019mt@gmail.com
    6. Jeff Welborn – Jeff.Welborn@mtleg.go
  3. If you cannot attend and none of the committee members are from your area, please send the chair Ken Holmlund, Ken.Holmlund@mtleg.gov, a letter or email telling your local story, that you support the DNRC budget, and the need for additional funding.
  4. Please make sure you contact your local legislators, as well, to share your story. It is important that they know the CDs need when they vote on the floor for HB2.

Dan is working with the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House and Senate to deliver a copy of our Legislative Brochure.

SB 32

Create stream gaging oversight work group.  A hearing was held on Friday 1/11. MACD rose in support of the legislation sponsored by Jon Sesso.  There was overwhelming support for a coordinated effort to develop the true picture of stream gaging in the state in an attempt to understand the ownership, needs, and establish priorities.  The only question was how often the group would meet and a sunset date for the effort. Senator Sesso indicated that he thought the sunset date would be in 4 years; this timeframe should give the group sufficient time to conduct the necessary work.  A fiscal note was attached to the bill, not signed by the sponsor, and is being discussed.

Aquatic Invasive Species forum – DNRC and FWP will be hosting a forum today in the Old Supreme Court Chambers to educate the legislative committee dealing with the issue.  DNRC has coordinated with some of the Conservation Districts to be part of the panel to provide their AIS story.

SB 45

Cleanup bill for water right adjudication sponsored by Jill Cohenour.   MACD is monitoring this effort. The bill is simply a clean-up bill for the Water Court.  The only real question raised centered around the need to provide notice.

SB 69

Provisional agricultural classification for certain property with trees/vines sponsored by Mark Blasdel.  MACD is monitoring this beill and watching for a fiscal note to determine is there is any reason to engage.

HB 77

Department of Agriculture accepting donations to help farmers and ranchers sponsored by Alan Redfield.  MACD is trying to schedule a meeting with the department to discover the full scope of this proposal since CDs have the authority to accept donations.  We need to discover if there is a role for CDs with this effort.

MACD is currently monitoring 25 bills.  As movement is made on each, updates will be provided.

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