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Happenings on the Hill


SB 40, Generally revising provisions governing subdivision review– 76-3-604 and 76-3-615

Posted Date: 
January 16, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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UPDATE -- March 19, 2013 -- SB 40 was amended in the Senate Local Government Committee to simplify the bill and remove the section stating that mitigation information could never be considered new information pursuant to 76-3-608.  The bill now states that a subdivision application is deemed submitted on the date delivered to the reviewing agent or agency.  It went through Executive Action on March 7 and passed onto the House Floor on March 11 as amended, where it concurred on Second Reading, 99-1, and again on Third Reading, 94-3.  It returned to the Senate on March 13, where the House amendments concurred on Second Reading, 44-1, and again on Third Reading, 38-11.  It was enrolled on March 19.

SB 146, Revise Local Subdivision Review to Require Information Submitted by Governmental Entity to be Supported by Scientific Information – 76-3-608

Posted Date: 
January 24, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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UPDATE -- March 19, 2013 -- SB 146 was amended in the Senate Local Government Committee to remove the application to local government and to also allow opinion testimony regarding wildlife, wildlife habitat or the natural environment by federal or state government entities to be supported by a published study in addition to scientific information.  The bill was further amended in the Senate to state that a governing body may only use the opinion in the written statement regarding the approval, approval with conditions or denial of the subdivision if the opinion is supported by scientific information or a published study.  Governmental entities must also disclose if they were involved in an effort to acquire or assist other in acquiring an interest in the real property identified in the subdivision.  The bill had no opponents before House Local Government.  The bill went through Executive Action on March 12 and passed onto the House Floor on March 15, where it concurred on Second Reading, 95-5, and again on Third Reading, 95-2.  It was enrolled on March 19.

Update: HB 2, General Appropriations Act

Posted Date: 
March 15, 2013
Contact: 
Maureen Connor, Legislative & Policy Analyst, Montana Association of Counties

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House Bill 2 completed step two of its legislative journey and moves toward funding the basic operations of the state budget for the next two years. It was released from House Appropriations earlier this week on a party-line vote of 13-8. Step one of the HB 2’s journey was the subcommittee work, where hundreds of people file through the smaller committees and explain their agency programs or make local government requests for funding.

The House Joint Select Committee on Pensions has Completed Their Work

Posted Date: 
March 15, 2013
Contact: 
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties

Now YOUR Help is Needed

On Tuesday, March 12, the House Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Pensions took executive action on all of the bills under their purview.  Of the 15 bills they had under consideration pertaining to the retirement systems, 9 were tabled, 2 were passed in their original form, three were passed after amendments, and one was re-referred back to another Committee.  Of all of those bills, there are three important pension funding and structure bills that will affect counties left in the process.

Update: HB 258, Revise local government laws related to public notice

Posted Date: 
March 11, 2013
Contact: 
Shantil Siaperas, Legislative Coordinator, Montana Association of Counties

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Monday, March 11, Senator Barrett moved to reconsider the previous action on HB 258, which was to “indefinitely postpone.”  That motion passed on a 35-14 vote. Then Senator Wittich moved to re-refer HB 258 to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which failed on a 22-27 vote.  Senator Edward Buttrey then moved to re-refer HB 258 back to the Senate Local Government Committee, which passed 45-4.

! URGENT ! - Contact Senators & Urge Support of HB 258

Posted Date: 
March 9, 2013
Contact: 
Shantil Siaperas, Legislative Coordinator, Montana Association of Counties

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Please contact your Senators IMMEDIATELY regarding MACo bill HB 258, Revise local government laws related to public notice.  It was heard on the Senate floor Saturday morning and died on a 21 – 25 vote. 

SB 284, Subdivision for Rent or Lease Property Fairness

Posted Date: 
February 20, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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SB 284, Establish the property fairness act, exempts five or fewer lease or rentals of buildings/units but they are subject to sanitation review; that number can be increased but not decreased.  Six or more LRs are required to go through a review process and new regulations must be adopted by Sept 1, 2013.  Minimum review criteria can be expanded by super-majority vote.  LRs may be exempted from review if there is county zoning that contains the minimum review criteria.  This law would be codified in a new part in Title 76.

HB 499, Amending Conveyance Exemptions for Subdivision Regulations

Posted Date: 
February 21, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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This bill is one of three subdivision for lease or rent bills before the legislature.  This bill changes Section 76-3-204, which was one of the two statutes interpreted 2013 AG Opinion on subdivisions for lease or rent.  The bill provides an exemption that permanently exempts from further review as a rental or lease a building that is in existence or under contraction on the effective date of the act that is rented or leased.  The building is subject to DEQ review. 

HB 531, Revising Laws Governing Exemptions for SLR and for Townhouses

Posted Date: 
February 21, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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HB 531, Revise exemptions for certain divisions of land, is one of three subdivision for lease or rent bills before the legislature.  This bill deleted the reference to townhouses/homes in Section 76-3-203, Exemption for Certain Condominiums.  The bill also adds a new exemption to subdivision law that states that subdivisions created by rent or lease are exempt from county/city review if the governing body has adopted zoning regulations that “include standards for uses of property that create subdivision by rent or lease.”  The bill also adds a cross reference from Section 76-3-208, Subdivisions Exempted from Surveying and Filing requirements but Subject to Review Provisions, to the new exemption.

! URGENT ! - Pension Bill Support

Posted Date: 
February 20, 2013
Contact: 
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties

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House Bill 454, sponsored by Rep. Bill McChesney, will be heard Thursday, February 21 at 8:30 a.m. in the House Joint Select Committee on Pensions.  This bill was requested by the Office of Budget and Program Planning on behalf of Governor Bullock, and addresses the Public Employees Retirement System Defined Benefit Plan funding shortfall.  This is possibly the most important bill for Counties this session regarding funding the pension systems! The time has come to ask for your involvement and support.  This will be our ONLY opportunity in this Committee to comment.  If the Committee approves passage of this bill – it goes straight to the House floor.