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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.


Ongoing Legislative Updates 2020

As far as current legislative reports, there is not much to report at this time about legislative interim committee actions that affect parks and recreation. The primary one might be the Transportation Interim Committee Study of Bicycle and Shared Use Paths including, among others, funding and maintenance of those paths. At their latest meeting on June 22, they asked Representative Loge to work with Mike Tooley, Director of Montana Department of Transportation, and Doug Habermann, Executive Director of Bike Walk Montana, to study and make recommendation to the committee about a future advisory committee to advise MDT on funding and other issues with shared use paths.

The legislative Interim Environmental Quality Council reviews and makes recommendations for action concerning natural resources, parks, fish and wildlife, forestry and other programs. The council is conducting a Study of Wilderness Study Areas and reviewed many documents provided by national land managing agencies and others. They have reviewed collaborative efforts throughout Montana. At this point, it is difficult to assess what results this study will achieve.

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.


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