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Legislative Updates

You can maintain your knowledge of what’s happening in the legislature by going to https://leg.mt.gov/.

To find a bill go to http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/LAW0200W$.Startup?P_SESS=20191

To find a legislator go to https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup/

To review Montana state laws go to https://leg.mt.gov/statute/

To review our Montana Constitution go to https://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca/title_0000/chapters_index.html

To access Interim Legislative Committee schedules, agendas, and minutes, go to https://leg.mt.gov/committees/interim/ and click on the committee of your choice.

To get involved and provide public comment with Legislature in 2021 go to https://www.mtrpa.info/news/how-to-work-with-legislature-in-2021/


3/21/2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.  April 1 is Transmittal of Appropriation and Revenue Bills & Bills Proposing Referenda.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for state government.   Passed House March 24.  Hearings ongoing in Senate Finance and Claims Committee.  Include Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks.  Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.  Includes $600,000 for the two year period for grooming equipment purchase and approximately $420,000 per year for grooming grants.  These funds come from snowmobile registration fees and permits and some state gas tax funds.  Hearings ongoing in House Appropriations Committee but positive so far.

HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks.  Passed House March 29.  Hearings ongoing in Senate Finance and Claims Committee.  Included are:

Recreational Trails Program: $1.5 million/year; $3 million for biennium

Source: Federal gas tax paid for gas used off road in off-highway vehicles

Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program: $1.25 million/year; $2.5 million biennium

Source: Optional $9 on light motor vehicle registrations

OHV Grant Programs: 2grants total $445,000 /year; $ 890,000 biennium

Source: OHV registration decal, permit fees &state gas tax

Land & Water Conservation Fund:  $1.5 million/year; $3 million biennium

Source: Federal funds from Great American Outdoors Act!

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, illuminated lamps, 5’ safe passing distance.  Passed 3rd reading on House Floor February 4.  Tabled in Senate Highways and Transportation Committee March 16.

HB 272 (Representative Stromswold): Would allow a person to register a vehicle for up to 5 years.  Could have a negative impact on $9 optional fees collected for State Parks operation and maintenance, Trail Enhancement Grant Program, Fishing Access sites, and specialty license plates that partially fund non-profit organizations.  Tabled in House Appropriations Committee March 25.

HB 281 (Representative Gunderson): Revise laws related to bicycles, especially E-bikes.  Passed the House on a vote of 74 – 26.  Indefinitely postponed on 2nd reading on the Senate floor March 18 on vote of 30 – 20.  Legislature web page says “probably dead”.

Included the description of the three classes of electrically assisted bicycles, their use on bicycle and shared use paths, allowing state and local authorities to prohibit their use for safety reasons.  Concerns included some preferred they be called electrically motor assisted bicycles and questions remained about their use on non-motorized trails in the backcountry and backcountry urban interface and inconsistency with federal agency definitions and processes.

HB 352 (Representative Hinkle): Would require public access as part of conservation easements that use public funds.  Tabled February 23 in House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee.

HB 420 (Representative Kerns): Would require Montana Department of Transportation to adopt administrative rules defining and specifying standards for designated bicycle lanes and routes.  Tabled February 24 in House Transportation Committee.

HB 554 (Representative Kassmier): Would require legislative approval of national heritage areas and national historic trails in Montana.  Passed House March 2.  Passed Senate Natural Resources Committee March 24.  Issue: fear that through designation, private property rights would be negatively affected.  Problem: includes National Historic Trails which by federal law does not take any state, local or private property rights when designated.

HB 632 (Garner): Federal Aid Stimulus Money: Analysts expect the state to see at least $2.7 billion to state and local governments on top of the $1,400 individual payments in relief money.  Specifically it includes $298 million in budget relief to towns, cities and tribal governments.  This will evolve on a daily basis and includes a commission to review projects after session adjournment.  Stimulus funds could be used at the state level or at the county/city levels for trails and recreation since they all have direct benefits to the physical and mental health of the public!  Passed 2nd reading on House floor March 30.

NOTE: Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax for Recreation and Conservation: Governor Gianforte recommended operating budget would divert all future revenue away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana Program.  Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public in November would distribute the funds as follows: Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites); State General Fund: 10.5%; Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each; State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each.

Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds was:substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%, and state general fund: $6 million = 33.33%.

HB 670 (Skees): Recreational Marijuana Tax: 2/3 of tax to state employee’s pensions; 1/3 to trust fund for economic & social cost of marijuana.  Hearing April 1 in House Taxation Committee.

HB 701 (Hopkins): Recreational Marijuana Tax: Would allocate the first $6 million to a drug and addiction treatment program, 88% of the balance to the state general fund, and 4% each to state parks, state trails grant program and non-game wildlife.  The 4% each would be capped at $650,000 each.  Unfortunately habitat Montana program are not included.  Hearing March 31 in Business and Labor Committee.  Hearing April 1 in House Taxation Committee.

Please contact Representatives Hopkins, Skees, and Governor Gianforte and ask them to accept the will of the public and dedicate $49.5% of the I-190 funds to recreation, parks, conservation, and Habitat Montana!

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds.  Passed Senate February 1.  Passed the Senate and the House and transmitted to the governor March 29 for his signature.

SB 115 (Representative Regier): Would clarify the approval process for land-acquisitions by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks; requiring certain easements to be approved by the board of land commissioners.  Passed Senate and House and transmitted to the governor March 29 for his signature.

HJ 15 (Representative Marler): Joint resolution that the Montana Legislature proclaims the recognition of the 1,000 mile Montana Trail 406 using existing trails and its positive impacts on local economies and recognize benefits of connected trail networks across Montana.  Passed House and transmitted to the Senate. Passed Senate Natural Resources Committee March 17.

SJ 5 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Passed Senate February 22 and passed House Transportation Committee March 17.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5:  See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations.  Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms.  This bill will eliminate most of those.  Passed House January 14, passed Senate February 5. Signed by Governor February 18.

HB 410 (Representative Olsen): Would require noxious weed management programs for certain state lands to seed or plant native plants friendly to animal pollinators.  Tabled in House Agriculture Committee March 30.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding.  Tabled in Senate Taxation Committee February 12.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Vastly amended.  Amendment eliminated the transfer of administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board.  Would require two state parks and recreation board members to be business owners and would require the purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use.  Passed third reading in Senate March 25 and transmitted to House.

SR 60: Confirm the Governor’s new appointees to the Board of Parks and Recreation including Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.  Current Members: Scott Brown, Mary Moe, Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.

Interested in the latest on important legislation impacting parks, trails and recreation access?  Tune in to hear the latest legislative updates and in-depth analysis about the outdoor recreation issues you care about!  Join Diane Conradi and Bob Walker on Facebook Live at the Montana Access Project page at: https://www.facebook.com/MTAccess Thursday, April 1, 15, and 29 at 11AM. Missed this? See the recording here https://www.facebook.com/MTAccess/videos/1630793430455280


3/20/2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.  This past two weeks have been extremely busy at the Capitol.  Transmittal was March 3 which means general bills must be transmitted to the other chamber from which they originated.  April 1 is Transmittal of Appropriation and Revenue Bills & Bills Proposing Referenda. 

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks.  Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.  Includes $600,000 for the two year period for grooming equipment purchase and approximately $420,000       per year for grooming grants.  These funds come from snowmobile registration fees and permits and some state gas tax funds.  Hearings ongoing in House Appropriations Committee but positive so far.

HB 5 HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks.  Hearings ongoing in House Appropriations Committee but positive so far.  Included are:

Recreational Trails Program: $1.5 million/year; $3 million for biennium

Source: Federal gas tax paid for gas used off road in off-highway vehicles

Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program: $1.25 million/year; $2.5 million biennium

            Source: Optional $9 on light motor vehicle registrations

OHV Grant Programs: 2grants total $445,000 /year; $ 890,000 biennium

Source: OHV registration decal, permit fees &state gas tax

Land & Water Conservation Fund:  $1.5 million/year; $3 million biennium

Source: Federal funds from Great American Outdoors Act!

 NOTE: Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax for Recreation and Conservation: Governor Gianforte recommended operating budget would divert all future revenue away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana Program.  Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public in November would distribute the funds as follows: Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites); State General Fund: 10.5%; Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each; State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each.

Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds was:substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%, and state general fund: $6 million = 33.33%.

Reports Wednesday, March 17, say that a bill carried by Representative Hopkins would allocate the first $6 million to a drug and addiction treatment program, 88% of the balance to the state general fund, , and 4% each to state parks, state trails grant program and non-game wildlife.  The 4% each would be capped at $650,000 each.  Unfortunately habitat Montana program are not included.

Please contact Representative Hopkins and Governor Gianforte and ask them to accept the will of the public and dedicate $49.5% of the I-190 funds to recreation, parks, conservation, and Habitat Montana!

NOTE: Stimulus Money: Analysts expect the state to see at least $2.7 billion to state and local governments on top of the $1,400 individual payments in relief money.  Specifically it includes $298 million in budget relief to towns, cities and tribal governments.  House Appropriations Committee Chair Llew Jones said money will be appropriated through a pending bill to be carried by Representative Garner that will focus on education, health care, and infrastructure.  We hope that some of the infrastructure money will be dedicated to park, recreation, and trail infrastructure projects since they all have direct benefits to the physical and mental health of the public! 

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, illuminated lamps, 5’ safe passing distance.  Passed 3rd reading on House Floor February 4.  Tabled in Senate Highways and Transportation Committee March 16.

HB 272 (Representative Stromswold): Would allow a person to register a vehicle for up to 5 years.  Could have a negative impact on $9 optional fees collected for State Parks operation and maintenance, Trail Enhancement Grant Program, Fishing Access sites, and specialty license plates that partially fund non-profit organizations.  Passed second reading in House February 18, referred to House Appropriations Committee and heard February 22.

HB 281 (Representative Gunderson): Revise laws related to bicycles, especially E-bikes.  Passed the House on a vote of 74 – 26.  Indefinitely postponed on 2nd reading on the Senate floor March 18 on vote of 30 – 20Likely up for reconsideration soon.

Includes the description of the three classes of electrically assisted bicycles.

An electrically assisted bicycle may be ridden, with the motor in operation, in places where bicycles that are solely human-powered are allowed, including but not limited to streets, highways, roadways, bicycle lanes, and bicycle or shared-use paths.

A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared-use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 1 or class 2 electrically assisted bicycle on that path if it finds that a restriction is needed for safety reasons or compliance with other laws or legal obligations.

A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 3 electricity assisted bicycle on that path.

Question and concerns: 1) Some prefer they be called electrically motor assisted bicycle.  2) Questions remain about their use on non-motorized trails in the backcountry and backcountry urban interface and inconsistency with federal agency definitions and processes.

HB 352 (Representative Hinkle): Would require public access as part of conservation easements that use public funds.  Tabled February 23 in House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee.

HB 420 (Representative Kerns): Would require Montana Department of Transportation to adopt administrative rules defining and specifying standards for designated bicycle lanes and routes.  Tabled February 24 in House Transportation Committee.

HB 554 (Representative Kassmier): Would require legislative approval of national heritage areas and national historic trails in Montana.  Passed House March 2.  Heard in Senate Natural Resources Committee March 12.  Problem: Includes National Historic Trails which by federal law does not take any state, local or private property rights when designated.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds.  Passed Senate February 1.  Passed the Senate, passed the House with amendments, and passed 3rd reading back in Senate as amended March 18.

SB 115 (Representative Regier): Would clarify the approval process for land-related acquisitions by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks; requiring certain easements to be approved by the board of land commissioners.  Passed Senate February 3, Passed House with amendments March 11, approved with amendments by Senate March 18 and sent to enrolling.

HJ 15 (Representative Marler): Joint resolution that the Montana Legislature proclaims the recognition of the 1,000 mile Montana Trail 406 using existing trails and its positive impacts on local economies and recognize benefits of connected trail networks across Montana.  Passed House and transmitted to the Senate. Passed Senate Natural Resources Committee March 17.

SJ 5 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Passed Senate February 22, transmitted to House.  Passed House Transportation Committee March 17.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5:  See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations.  Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms.  This bill will eliminate most of those.  Passed House January 14, passed Senate February 5.  Signed by Governor February 18.

HB 410 (Representative Olsen): Would require noxious weed management programs for certain state lands to seed or plant native plants friendly to animal pollinators, reimburse persons for damage to apiaries; authorize pollinator specialty license plates; authorize distribution of funds to county weed districts for pollinator habitat.  Heard March 16 in House Agriculture Committee.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding.  Tabled in Senate Taxation Committee February 12.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Would transfer administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board; require changes to the board; require purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use.  Passed Senate Natural Resources Committee with amendments March 17.  Opposed by Trout Unlimited, Montana Wildlife Federation, Board of Outfitters and others.  Many amendments necessary.

SR 60: Confirm the Governor’s new appointees to the Board of Parks and Recreation including Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.  Current Members: Scott Brown, Mary Moe, Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.

Interested in the latest on important legislation impacting front country parks, trails and recreation access?  Tune in to hear the latest legislative updates and in-depth analysis from long time experts tracking the outdoor recreation issues you care about!  Join Diane Conradi and I on Facebook Live at the Montana Access Project page at https://www.facebook.com/MTAccess Thursday, April 1, 15, and 29 at 11AM.


3/15/2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.  This past two weeks have been extremely busy at the Capitol.  Transmittal was March 3 which means general bills must be transmitted to the other chamber from which they originated.  April 1 is Transmittal of Appropriation and Revenue Bills & Bills Proposing Referenda.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for all state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks.  Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.  Heard February 9, Joint Appropriations Subcommittee, Natural Resources & Transportation. Passed executive action.  Hearings ongoing in House Appropriations Committee.

HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks.  Included are recreation and trail grant programs including Recreational Trails Program, Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program, OHV Grant programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund.  Heard February 2, Joint Appropriations Subcommittee. Passed executive action.

NOTE: Governor Gianforte released an operating budget asking lawmakers to divert all future revenue from recreational marijuana sales away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana program which enhances outdoor access and protects working farms and ranches.  Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public in November would distribute the funds as follows:

Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites)

State General Fund: 10.5%

Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each

State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each

Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds include:

Substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%

General Fund: $6 million = 33.33

Governor Gianforte has heard from many of you and he said in a statement yesterday that he will request some of these funds to go for conservation and recreation.  If you haven’t yet, please contact the governor and ask him to accept the will of the public and dedicate $49.5% of the I 190 funds to recreation, parks, conservation, and Habitat Montana!

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, illuminated lamps, 5’ safe passing distance.  Passed 3rd reading on House Floor February 4, transmitted to Senate.  Heard February 18 in Senate Highways and Transportation Committee.  Many opponents and passage questionable without amendments.

HB 272 (Representative Stromswold): Would allow a person to register a vehicle for up to 5 years.  Could have a negative impact on $9 optional fees collected for State Parks operation and maintenance, Trail Enhancement Grant Program, Fishing Access sites, and specialty license plates that partially fund non-profit organizations.  Passed second reading in House February 18, referred to House Appropriations Committee and heard February 22.

HB 281 (Representative Gunderson): Revise laws related to bicycles, especially E-bikes.  Passed the House on a vote of 74 – 26.  Passed Senate Highways and Transportation Committee and will go for 2nd reading on the Senate floor soon.  Includes the description of the three classes of electrically assisted bicycles.

An electrically assisted bicycle may be ridden, with the motor in operation, in places where bicycles that are solely human-powered are allowed, including but not limited to streets, highways, roadways, bicycle lanes, and bicycle or shared-use paths.

A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared-use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 1 or class 2 electrically assisted bicycle on that path if it finds that a restriction is needed for safety reasons or compliance with other laws or legal obligations.

A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 3 electricity assisted bicycle on that path.

Question and concerns: 1) Some prefer they be called electrically motor assisted bicycle.  2) Questions remain about their use on non-motorized trails in the backcountry and backcountry urban interface and inconsistency with federal agency definitions and processes.

HB 352 (Representative Hinkle): Would require public access as part of conservation easements that use public funds.  Tabled February 23 in House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee.

HB 420 (Representative Kerns): Would require Montana Department of Transportation to adopt administrative rules defining and specifying standards for designated bicycle lanes and routes.  Tabled February 24 in House Transportation Committee.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds.  Passed Senate February 1.  Scheduled for 3rd reading on House floor March 15.

SB 115 (Representative Regier): Would clarify the approval process for land-related acquisitions by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks; requiring certain easements to be approved by the board of land commissioners.  Passed Senate February 3, Passed House Fish Wildlife & Parks Committee February 18, returned to Senate with amendments. 

HJ 15 (Representative Marler): Joint resolution that the Montana Legislature proclaims the recognition of the 1,000 mile Montana Trail 406 using existing trails and its positive impacts on local economies and recognize benefits of connected trail networks across Montana.  Passed House and transmitted to the Senate, hearing March 15 in Senate Natural Resources Committee.

SJ 5 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Passed Senate February 22, transmitted to House.  Heard in House Transportation Committee March 10.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5:  See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations.  Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms.  This bill will eliminate most of those.  Passed House January 14, passed Senate February 5.  Signed by Governor February 18.

HB 410 (Representative Olsen): Would require noxious weed management programs for certain state lands to seed or plant native plants friendly to animal pollinators, reimburse persons for damage to apiaries; authorize pollinator specialty license plates; authorize distribution of funds to county weed districts for pollinator habitat.  Hearing March 16 in House Agriculture Committee.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding.  Tabled in Senate Taxation Committee February 12.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Would transfer administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board; require changes to the board; require purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use.  Heard February 19, Senate Natural Resources Committee.  Opposed by Trout Unlimited, Montana Wildlife Federation, Board of Outfitters and others.  Many amendments necessary.

SR 60: Confirm the Governor’s new appointees to the Board of Parks and Recreation including Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.  Current Members: Scott Brown, Mary Moe, Jody Loomis, Russ Kipp, Kathy McLane.

Interested in the latest on important legislation impacting front country parks, trails and recreation access?

Join Diane Conradi and I on Facebook Live at the Montana Access Project page at: https://www.facebook.com/MTAccess this Thursday, March 4th, at 11AM and every other Thursday at 11 AM.  We will be hosting these events until the end of April.  Tune in to hear the latest legislative updates and in-depth analysis from long time experts tracking the outdoor recreation issues you care about!


2/13/2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups
FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association
DATE: February 13, 2021

** EDIT:

detail of current bills, look to HB 281, the E-bike bill. In a prior bill, the following condition was included as 5(d) and said, “A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a trail described may regulate the use of an electrically assisted bicycle on a trail that is specifically designated as non-motorized and that has a natural surface tread that is made by clearing and grading the native soil with no added surfacing materials. A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a trail described in 5(d) may regulate the use of an electrically assisted bicycle on that trail.”

In the amended HB 281 currently before the House, 5(d) no longer is included. I suggest you look at the current HB 281 and draw your own conclusions. Sorry for my oversight.

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

NOTE: Transmittal date is March 3 which means general bills must be transmitted to the other chamber from which they originated, and is the last day to request appropriation bills.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for all state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks. Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase. Heard February 9, Joint Appropriations Subcommittee, Natural Resources & Transportation.

HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks. Included are recreation and trail grant programs including Recreational Trails Program, Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program, OHV Grant programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund. Heard February 2, Joint Appropriations Subcommittee.

NOTE: Governor Gianforte released an operating budget asking lawmakers to divert all future revenue from recreational marijuana sales away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana program which enhances outdoor access and protects working farms and ranches.  This use of these funds was approved in November by the majority of voters in ballot initiative 190. Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds include:
Substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%
General Fund: $6 million = 33.33%

Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public, would distribute the funds as follows:
Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites)
State General Fund: 10.5%
Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each
State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each
We will keep you posted on the future of these funds!

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, illuminated lamps, 5’ safe passing distance. Passed 3rd reading on House Floor February 4, transmitted to Senate, Highways and Transportation Committee.

HB 272 (Representative Stromswold): Would allow a person to register a vehicle for up to 5 years. Could have a negative impact on $9 optional fees collected for State Parks operation and maintenance, Trail Enhancement Grant Program, Fishing Access sites, and specialty license plates that partially fund non-profit organizations. Passed House Transportation Committee February 10.

HB 281 (Representative Gunderson): Revise laws related to bicycles, especially E-bikes. Passed House Transportation Committee with many amendments February 10, scheduled for 2nd reading on House floor February 15.
Includes the description of the three classes of electrically assisted bicycles.
An electrically assisted bicycle must operate in a manner so that the electric motor is disengaged or ceases to function when the rider stops pedaling or when the brakes are applied. No person under 16 years of age may operate a class 3 electrically assisted bicycle but may ride as a passenger on a class 3 that is designed to accommodate passengers.
An electrically assisted bicycle may be ridden, with the motor in operation, in places where bicycles that are solely human-powered are allowed, including but not limited to streets, highways, roadways, bicycle lanes, and bicycle or shared-use paths.
A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared-use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 1 or class 2 electrically assisted bicycle on that path if it finds that a restriction is needed for safety reasons or compliance with other laws or legal obligations.
A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a bicycle or shared use path may prohibit the motorized operation of a class 3 electricity assisted bicycle on that path.
A local authority or state agency having jurisdiction over a trail described may regulate the use of an electrically assisted bicycle on a trail that is specifically designated as non-motorized and that has a natural surface tread that is made by clearing and grading the native soil with no added surfacing materials.

HB 352 (Representative Hinkle): Would require public access as part of conservation easements that use public funds. Hearing February 16, House Fish, Wildlife and Parks committee.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds. Passed Senate February 1. Passed House Fish Wildlife & Parks Committee with amendments February 11.

SB 115 (Representative Regier): Would clarify the approval process for land-related acquisitions by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks; requiring certain easements to be approved by the board of land commissioners. Passed Senate February 3, heard in house fish wildlife & parks committee February 9.

SJ 5 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail. Referred to Senate State Administration Committee. Hearing February 17, 3:00 PM, Senate State Administration Committee.

LC 773 (Representative Loge): Draft on hold. Would establish and require a $20 per biennium summer recreational trail pass for bicycles on public highways, shared use paths and other trails.

LC 1836 (Representative Olsen): Would revise bicycle laws and allowing a bicyclist to treat a stop sign like a yield sign. Draft available.

LC 2587 (Representative Kerns): Would require the department of transportation to adopt administrative rules defining and specifying standards for designated bicycle lanes and bicycle routes. Draft available.

LC 3290 (Representative Marler): Joint resolution that the Montana Legislature proclaims the recognition of the Montana Trail 406 and its positive impact utilizing Montana’s unique outdoor recreational opportunities and its beneficial influence on local economies and recognize benefits of connected trail networks across Montana. Draft available.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5: See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations. Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms. This bill will eliminate most of those. Passed House January 14, passed Senate February 5, transmitted to Governor.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding. Tabled in Senate Taxation Committee February 12.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Would transfer administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board; requiring two board members to be business owners; revising enforcement provisions; revising requirements for construction project approval; requiring improvements at fishing access sites to be reviewed for habitat impacts; revising rulemaking authority; requiring purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use and decreasing its price. Assigned to Senate Natural Resources Committee.


2/6/2021 – Parks & Recreation Legislature Report

2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: February 6, 2021

Your Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association keeps you informed and up-to-date about bills in the legislature that affect recreation and parks programs.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for all state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks.  Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.  Assigned to Joint Appropriations Subcommittee.  To be heard February 9, Joint Appropriations Subcommittee, Natural Resources & Transportation.

HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks.  Included are recreation and trail grant programs including Recreational Trails Program, Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program, OHV Grant programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund.  Heard in House Joint Appropriations Subcommittee February 2.

NOTE: Governor Gianforte released an operating budget asking lawmakers to divert all future revenue from recreational marijuana sales away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana program which enhances outdoor access and protects working farms and ranches.  This use of these funds was approved in November by the majority of voters in ballot initiative 190.  Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds include:

Substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%

General Fund: $6 million = 33.33%

Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public, would distribute the funds as follows:

Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites)

State General Fund: 10.5%

Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each

State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each

We will keep you posted on the future of these funds!

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, front and rear illuminated lamps, 5’ safe passing distance.  Passed 3rd reading on House Floor February 4, transmitted to Senate.

HB 272 (Representative Stromswold): Would allow a person to register a vehicle for up to 5 years.  Could have a negative impact on $9 optional fees collected for State Parks operation and maintenance, Trail Enhancement Grant Program, Fishing Access sites, and specialty license plates that partially fund non-profit organizations.  Hearing February 8, 3 PM in House Transportation Committee.

HB 281 (Representative Gunderson): Would generally revise laws related to E-bikes.  Defines electrically assisted bicycles, Class 1, 2 & 3, and does not include them as an off-highway vehicle.  Hearing Feb. 10, 3:00 PM, House Transportation Committee.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds.  Passed Senate February 1.  Hearing February 9, 3 PM, House Fish Wildlife & Parks Committee.

SJ 5 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Referred to Senate State Administration Committee.

LC 773 (Representative Loge): Draft on hold.  Would establish and require a $20 per biennium summer recreational trail pass for bicycles on public highways, shared use paths and other trails.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5:  See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations.  Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms.  This bill will eliminate most of those.  Passed House January 14, passed Senate February 5, sent to enrolling and on to Governor.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding.  Hearing held January 15 in Senate Taxation Committee.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Would transfer administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board; requiring two board members to be business owners; revising enforcement provisions; revising requirements for construction project approval; requiring improvements at fishing access sites to be reviewed for habitat impacts; revising rulemaking authority; requiring purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use and decreasing its price.  Assigned to Senate Natural Resources Committee.


1/29/2021 – Parks & Recreation Legislature Report

2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: January 29, 2021

Our 67th Session of the Montana Legislature convened January 4.  We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs.  We will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses.  We are currently tracking 40 LCs for which there is no current language, most are very general in description, and many will never receive a bill number.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION

HB 2 (Representative Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for all state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks.  Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.  Assigned to Joint Appropriations Subcommittee.

HB 5 (Representative Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks.  Included are recreation and trail grant programs including Recreational Trails Program, Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program, OHV Grant programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund.  Assigned to House Appropriations Committee.

NOTE: Governor Gianforte released an operating budget asking lawmakers to divert all future revenue from recreational marijuana sales away from public trail grant programs, state parks maintenance, and the Habitat Montana program which enhances outdoor access and protects working farms and ranches.  This use of these funds was approved in November by the majority of voters in ballot initiative 190.  Governor Gianforte proposal for the use of these funds include:

Substance abuse: $12 million = 66.67%

General Fund: $6 million = 33.33%

Initiative I 190, voted on and approved by the public, would distribute the funds as follows:

Habitat Montana: 37.125% (conservation easements, block management, fee title purchase, fishing access sites)

State General Fund: 10.5%

Substance Abuse Services, Veterans Services, Senior & Disability Services, Local Governments: 10% each

State Parks, Trail Stewardship Grant Program, Nongame wildlife: 4.125 % each

We will keep you posted on the future of these funds!

HB 184 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, front and rear illuminated lamps, safe passing distance.  Heard in House Highways and Transportation Committee January 25.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, application review and recommendations from the state’s OHV Advisory Committee; rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds.  Passed Senate Highways & Transportation Committee January 21, scheduled for 3rd reading on Senate floor February 1.

LC 756 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.  Bill draft available.

LC 773 (Representative Loge): Draft on hold.  Would establish and require a $20 per biennium summer recreational trail pass for bicycles on public highways, shared use paths and other trails.

LC 1760 (Representative Gunderson): Would generally revise laws related to E-bikes.  Defines electrically assisted bicycles, Class 1, 2 & 3, and does not include them as an off-highway vehicle.  Bill draft available.

PARKS

HB 2 and HB 5:  See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations.  Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms.  Passed House January 14, vote 63 – 31.  Senate Judiciary Committee action concurred January 29.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding.  Hearing held January 15 in Senate Taxation Committee.

SB 153 (Senator Welborn): Would transfer administration of fishing access sites and administration of recreational and commercial use of wildlife management areas to the state parks and recreation board; requiring two board members to be business owners; revising enforcement provisions; revising requirements for construction project approval; requiring improvements at fishing access sites to be reviewed for habitat impacts; revising rulemaking authority; requiring purchase of a wildlife conservation license for certain land use and decreasing its price.  Assigned to Senate Natural Resources Committee.


1/17/2021 – Parks & Recreation Legislature Report

2021 Legislature Report – Parks & Recreation

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups
FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association
DATE: January 17, 2021

Our 67th Session of the Montana Legislature convened January 4. We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs. We will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses. We are currently tracking 52 LCs for which there is no current language, most are very general in description, and many will never receive a bill number.

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

RECREATION (Bills with Numbers or LCs with Language Available)

HB 2 (Representative Llew Jones): This bill covers requested appropriations for operations for all state government including Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and State Parks. Included is the state Snowmobile Grant Program and equipment purchase.

HB 5 (Representative Llew Jones): Includes requested appropriations for capital projects for state government including FWP and state parks. Included are recreation and trail grant programs including Recreational Trails Program, Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program, OHV Grant programs, Land & Water Conservation Fund.

SB 38 (Senator Gauthier): Would revise the Summer Motorized Grant Program to allow safety and ethics education grants, application review and recommendations from the state’s OHV Advisory Committee; rename the snowmobile trail pass to the winter trail pass and include dog sleds. Hearing in Senate Highways & Transportation Committee, 3:00 PM, January 21

LC 746 (Representative Loge): Would revise bicycle safety laws including the wearing of high visibility colors, ride on the right had half of the right lane, front and rear illuminated lamps.

LC 756 (Senator Webber): Joint resolution urging the National Park Service to include Sacagawea on signs for the Lewis & Clark Trail.

LC 773 (Representative Loge): Would establish and require a $20 per biennium summer recreational trail pass for bicycles on public highways, shared use paths and other trails.

LC 1760 (Representative Gunderson): Would generally revise laws related to E-bikes. There is no draft available at this time!

PARKS (Bill with Number and Language Available)

HB 2 and HB 5: See comments under Recreation.

HB 102 (Representative Berglee): Would revise current gun laws and concealed carry locations. Some parks and recreation districts/agencies/communities/universities currently have special ordinances/rules that control the carry of firearms. Passed the House January 14, vote 63 – 31.

SB 77 (Senator McGilvray): Would revise special districts finance including parks and trail districts, transportation districts, safety districts to make it easier for a district to be dissolved but creating problems for long term funding, assessments, bonding. First hearing held January 15.


1/2/2021 – Bill To Improve Summer Motorized Recreation Trail Grant Funds and Snowmobile Trail Pass

Senator Terry Gauthier has introduced SB 38 to the 2021 session of the Montana legislature that would make several improvements to the summer motorized trail grant funds and snowmobile trail pass.  Development of this bill had input from Fish, Wildlife & Parks and other recreationists.  For details, go to http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law0203w$.startup?P_SESS=20211 and type in SB 38.
There are also a host of draft bills (LC) that may affect recreation, conservation, and parks but with no language available at this time.  For those who are interested in the recreational marijuana proposition and associated funding that was approved by the public, there are at least 40 draft bills in the mix right now.
To track a bill go to https://leg.mt.gov/ and click on Bill Search in top left corner.  Enter the type of bill (SB, HB,HJ, SJ,HR,SR) and enter the bill number.  You can also find bills by clicking on subject, legislator, or primary sponsor.  If you wish to track specific bills during the session, near the bottom click on Establish a Preference Account that will allow you to list bills you wish to track and receive emails announcing status of those bills.
This process takes a little practice, and for me some frustration, but once you set things up, you will find it valuable throughout the session!
Here we go again!
Bob Walker
Montana Trails Coalition

12/31/2021 – Montana Trail Coalition (MTC) Report to MTRPA

I hope you are all receiving emails from the Coalition about legislation and MTC activities!  I want to thank MTRPA for allowing me to represent MTRPA on the Coalition Board.

Legislation

  • Authority is needed for SB 24, the new Montana Trails Stewardship Grant Program. FWP will request authority as part of their appropriations request and we will support.  The legislative fiscal note for this program anticipated $950,000 but actual income in the first year totals $1,250,000.  This indicates broad acceptance by Montana’s public!
  • Possible language changes for SB 24: Unfortunately SB 24 did not specifically mention equipment but did specifically include maintenance as a use of these funds.  FWP legal staff advised that equipment can’t be funded.  I have talked with State Parks leadership and Senator Gauthier, SB 24 sponsor, and equipment was certainly in legislative intent.  Senator Gauthier and I will meet with FWP legal staff to attempt a reversal.  If that is unsuccessful, Senator will introduce a small amendment to solve that issue.
  • Great Americans Outdoors Act. MTC and MTRPA submitted letters to Congressman Gianforte requesting his support and he replied positively.  Subsequently the Act passed and signed by the President.  FWP advises that Montana’s share of the Land and Water Conservation Fund will increase to $2 million per year.  Yea!
  • Congress extended the transportation FAST Act for one year. It maintains 2020 funding levels and does not contain any of the increased funding passed by the House of Representatives this summer in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act.  Both the Recreational Trails Program and Transportation Enhancements should stay the same for now.
  • I 190 and CI 118 would legalize recreational marijuana. If the Montana public approves these measures, the associated tax estimate would yield $18 million for conservation and recreation with 4.1% to trails & 4.1% state parks.

MTC Activities

  • At a request from Fish, Wildlife & Parks, I am reviewing Guidelines and application materials for SB 24, the new Montana Trails Stewardship Act.
  • MTC is co-hosting the 2020 Virtual Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit, Oct. 13 – 15. We participated in a webinar last week promoting the event.  For detailed information, go to https://whova.com/web/mboor_202009/.
  • The Interim Transportation Committee directed Transportation Director Mike Tooley to establish a committee to study funding alternatives for shared use paths. I was asked to supply to them the alternatives MTC studied in 2018 for SB 24 and have provided that information to the committee.
  • Forward weekly webinars from American Trails and Rails-To-Trails Conservancy.

Looking Forward to 2021

We will watch closely the legislature’s activities concerning the recreational marijuana proposition approved by the public.  The proposal included approximately 1 million dollars per year for each of state parks, and for the trail stewardship grant program that will provide dollars to cities, towns, counties, private associations and reservations for trails and associated facilities.

We will also follow HB 2 and HB 5.  HB 2 includes appropriations for operations of state parks and others, and HB 5 provides appropriations for capital projects including authority for the Trail Stewardship Grants Program, Recreational Trails Program, Land and Water Conservation Fund and capital projects in state parks.

I will again provide bi-weekly legislative reports identifying bills before the legislature that affect parks and recreation and include times and locations of committee meetings addressing those bills.

Bob Walker, Chair, Montana Trails Coalition and Advisor, MTRPA


2019 Legislature Final Report – Recreation and Parks

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups
FROM : Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association
DATE: May 13, 2019

This report describes recreation and parks bills considered by the 66th Session of the Montana Legislature and final action on each.  This was a very good year for parks and recreation thanks to the involvement of Montana citizens and good bi-partisan support.  Now let’s go out and enjoy our great outdoors and the results of the hard work by all of you and by our legislators!

 

RECREATION

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.  Signed by the Governor May 1.

 

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 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.  Signed by the Governor May 7.

 

HB 395 (Representative Garner): Would revise transportation laws related to bicycling, defines a safe passing distance.  Tabled is House Judiciary Committee February 19.

 

HJ 45 (Representative Loge): Interim study on bicycle and pedestrian paths (shared use paths).  Passed House on April 12.  Passed Senate April 18.  Under study by Interim Transportation Committee,

 

PARKS

SB 70 (Senator Flowers): Remove Headwaters State Park from the primitive parks list. Passed Senate February 5.  Passed House April 8.  Signed by the Governor April 30.

 

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.  Vetoed by the Governor May 3.

 

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 House March 15.  Passed Senate April 16.  Signed by the Governor May 9.

 

HB 652 (Hopkins): Would provide funding for capital and infrastructure projects statewide including $1.3 million for Makoshika State Park waterline.  Passed House March 29.  Passed Senate April 18.  Signed by the Governor May 10.

 

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.  Signed by the Governor May 8.

 

Bob Walker, Chair

Montana Trails Coalition and

Advisor to Montana Trails Recreation and Parks Association

406-461-0523

bob_mttrails@outlook.com