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This report describes recreation and parks bills under consideration by the 66th Session of the Montana Legislature and their current status.
SB 24 (Senator Gauthier):Would increase the optional light motor vehicle registration fee from $6 to $9, provide increased funding for state parks operations and maintenance, fishing access sites, and create a new made in Montana trails grant program. Passed Senate March 12. Passed the House April 16, returned from enrolling April 17.
SB 249(Senator Fitzpatrick): Would revise transportation laws related to bicycling, defines a safe passing distance, clarifies rear light requirement. Tabled in Senate Highways and Transportation Committee February 21.
HB 243(Representative White): Would allow for advances of OHV grant funds to successful applicants. Passed House February 18, passed Senate March 22. Signed by the Governor April 18.
HB 301(Representative Loge): Would require the purchase of a wildlife conservation license or payment of a day use fee for use of fishing access sites and eliminate that potion of the light motor vehicle registration fee currently going for fishing access site maintenance. Tabled in Senate Fish and Game Committee April 11.
HB 355(Representative White): Would create a permit program for OHVs and amend permits for snowmobiles. Passed the House March 30. Passed the Senate April 16 with amendments and sent back to the House. Passed the House April 23 and returned from enrolling April 25.
HB 395(Representative Garner): Would revise transportation laws related to bicycling, defines a safe passing distance. Tabled is House Judiciary Committee February 19.
HB 674(Representative White): An act increasing the allocation of state gas tax revenue for snowmobile and OHV programs. Tabled in House Fish, Wildlife and Parks March 26.
HJ 45(Representative Loge): Interim study on bicycle and pedestrian paths (shared use paths). Passed House on April 12. Passed Senate April 18 and returned from enrolling April 24.
SB 70 (Senator Flowers): Remove Headwaters State Park from the primitive parks list. Passed Senate February 5. Passed House April 8. Returned from enrolling April 9.
SB 102(Senator Webb): Would change the optional light motor vehicle fee for state parks, fishing access sites and Virginia/Nevada Cites to opt-in rather than the current opt-out and increase the fee to $25. Tabled in Senate Fish and Game Committee, March 7.
HB 325(Representative Regier): Would not allow local governments to regulate the carrying of concealed weapons and revising prohibited places for concealed weapons. Passed House February 21. Passed Senate April 2. Returned from enrolling April 5.
SB 242(Senator Webb): Would eliminate the optional light motor vehicle registration fee for state parks, fishing access sites and Virginia/Nevada Cities and replace with state parks windshield decal at a cost of $35. Tabled in Senate Fish and Game Committee March 26
HB 423(Representative Buttrey): Would provide campsite fee discount at state parks for veterans. Passed the House March 15. Passed the Senate April 16 and returned from enrolling April 17.
HB 436(Hamlett): Would increase construction project cost threshold from $5,000 to $100,000 requiring park board approval. Passed House February 20. Passed 3rdreading in Senate March 21, Signed by the Governor April 10.
HB 682(Representative Kerr-Carpenter): An act revising coal severance tax allocations for state parks and establishing the state parks endowment fund. Withdrawn by sponsor March 20.
HB 695(Representatives J. Keane & G. Hertz): An act providing an appropriation to the department of fish, wildlife, and parks to purchase a recreation easement at big arm state park. Passed the House March 27. Passed the Senate April 12. April 12. Returned from enrolling April 16.
HB 739(Representative Keane): Would change the current optional light motor vehicle registration fee for state parks, FAS, and state-owned buildings mandatory on all registrations. Tabled in House Appropriations Committee March 25.
Bob Walker, Chair
Montana Trails Coalition and
Advisor to Montana Trails Recreation and Parks Association