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! ACTION NEEDED ! - HB 258, Revise local government laws related to public notice

Posted Date: 
March 21, 2013
Shantil Siaperas, Legislative Coordinator, Montana Association of Counties

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Please contact your Senator IMMEDIATELY regarding House Bill 258, Revise local government laws related to public notice, a MACo-requested bill.  It was revived from its “indefinite postponement” on the Senate floor and rereferred to the Senate Local Government Committee for further review and possible amendments.  The bill went through Executive Action yesterday afternoon, and the amendment below was added (there is similar language for municipalities as well).

Please note that this is only be applicable if the newspaper fails to publish the notice a second time.  It does not allow a city or county the option to only publish once as is currently set in statute:

7-1-2121.  Publication and content of notice -- proof of publication. Unless otherwise specifically provided, whenever a local government unit other than a municipality is required to give notice by publication, the following applies:

. . .

(5) The notice must be published twice, with at least 6 days separating each publication.

. . .

(9) If the newspaper fails to publish a second notice, the local government unit must be considered to have met the requirements of this section as long as the local government unit submitted the required information prior to the submission deadline and the notice was posted in three public places in the county that were designated by resolution OR WAS POSTED ON THE COUNTY’S WEBSITE AT LEAST 2 DAYS PRIOR TO THE HEARING OR OTHER ACTION FOR WHICH NOTICE WAS REQUIRED.

The bill passed out of committee unanimously twice now, and it will be heard on the Senate floor soon.  Previously, this bill died on a 21-25 vote.  The concern stated on the Senate floor previously was that the public may miss out on a notice that wasn’t published (and therefore also miss out their ability to participate), so local governments need to monitor their publishing’s more closely.

Additional Information:  The Montana Newspaper Association supported this bill.  It also passed House Local Government on a 16-2 vote; it then passed second reading on the house floor on a 98-2 vote.

Please contact your Senator today and urge their support of HB 258.  Any examples you can provide them would be helpful, so they understand the need for this legislation.

Shantil Siaperas | | (406) 449-4360