Primary areas we are focusing on include:
Water - Most bills we have looked at we either support, or, we are neutral on. However, SB 19 is still problematic. It codifies a loophole that allows developers to use unlimited "exempt wells" for subdivisions or fish ponds, without having to have the cumulative effects of this use evaluated for how it might affect connected trout streams or senior water rights.
Land use planning - A bevy of bills have been introduced that reduce the ability of local government to use planning and zoning to protect fish, wildlife, water, human health and safety and property rights. Particularly bad is SB 17, a bill that would place a constitutional initiative on the general ballot altering language affecting private property in a way that invites blizzards of lawsuits by landowners who object to reasonable regulations that protect water, air, fish or wildlife. Other bills will make it difficult for private interests or FWP to purchase conservation easements from willing sellers.
Funding - We are supporting a number of bills that fund DNRC reclamation programs that include funding for projects that improve fishery habitat. We are also supporting full funding for FWP's successful Future Fisheries Improvement Program, which has funded millions of dollars of fishery habitat restoration over the past 17 years. We might need your help on that one.
We expect to see additional bills this month that we will need to support or oppose. Your help will be crucial. Please keep checking www.montanatu.org. And don't hesitate to contact us at 406-543-0054, or, at email@example.com.