Highlights from the 2021 Legislative Session
March 10, 2022
As MACD and our members continue working on our two study bills (HJ27 -CD Funding Study and SJ28 – Study of Erosion on the Flathead River) in the Interim Session and preparing for the 2023 Legislative Session, it’s worth taking a look back at all the successes of the 2021 Session:
2021 Legislative Session Overview
- HB 374 addressed the funding shortfalls from coal severance tax. Specifically, HB 374 provided a $1,000,000 fix for the previous fiscal year as well as funding for the current biennium. This means that the DNRC Conservation Districts Bureau (CDB) has full funding for the first time in several years, which means that funding to Districts (Admin grant, 223 grants etc) has NOT be impacted by coal tax shortfalls. MACD worked hard on HB 374, and this is a HUGE WIN for Districts! There is a two year sunset on this bill, which makes HJ 27 (see below) very important for districts.
- HB 2 is the General Appropriations Act. We worked hard to maintain the CD budget and fortunately did not receive the 10% cut that many other programs did!
- HJ 27 is a bill to study conservation district funding. MACD drafted and supported this bill during the 2021 Session and continues to work on this with the Environmental Quality Council (EQC) during the interim session. It is critical to find a long term solution for CD funding given declining revenues from the coal severance tax. Another huge win for districts to have legislative focus on our funding challenge!
- SJ 28 is the Study of Flathead River Erosion. During the interim session this bill is in the Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) and is based on MACD Resolution 20-02.
- HJ 7 is a Joint Resolution regarding the St. Mary and Milk River project. Related to MACD Resolution 20-06.
- SJ 6 is the Resolution on Floodplain Permit Process.
- SJ 7 is the Resolution to remove Hidden Pasture Creek from WSA, Based on MACD Resolution 06-10
- HB 632 deals with the distribution of some of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money. CD’s were not named under local government in the bill, so MACD worked alongside other entities (irrigation districts etc) to get this definition changed through an amendment! DNRC CARDD has been administering part of these funds specifically related to water and wastewater. MACD will keep districts information continues to come out.
- After Action Review: MACD and DNRC participated in an After Action Review (AAR) to reflect on the 2021 session and start planning for the 2023 session.
Questions? Want to get involved? Please reach out to Rebecca Boslough (email@example.com) if you have any questions or would like to be involved in the future! The Legislative Committee is meeting throughout the interim session.