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Happenings on the Hill


Pension Update: Week 12

Posted Date: 
March 28, 2013
Contact: 
Sheryl Wood, Associate Director, Montana Association of Counties

It’s been a busy week regarding pension funding bills, with action being taken quickly to meet the March 29 transmittal deadline for appropriations bills. 

! ACTION NEEDED ! - SB 19, Define Combined Appropriation for Exempt Wells

Posted Date: 
March 22, 2013
Contact: 
Harold Blattie, Executive Director, Montana Association of Counties

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Senate Bill 19 - Define combined appropriations for exempt wells passed the Senate and has also passed out of House Natural Resources committee on a very close 9-7 vote.  It will likely be scheduled on the House floor for second reading next week.

SB 324, Generally revise the subdivision laws related to lease or rent requirements

Posted Date: 
March 22, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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This bill is one of two remaining bills addressing subdivisions for rent or lease.  This bill was amended in Senate Local Government and now three or fewer lease or rentals of buildings/units are exempt upon signing of the bill but they are subject to sanitation review; that number can be increased but not decreased.  Four 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.

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

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

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Please contact your Senators 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 was amended.

SB 23, Revise Interim Zoning for County Imposed/Part 2 Zoning – 76-2-206

Posted Date: 
January 14, 2013
Contact: 
Tara DePuy, MACo JPIA Land Use Attorney

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UPDATE -- March 19, 2013 -- SB 23 was amended and then the amendments were struck by the Senate, so the version heard by the House was as heard by Senate Local Government Committee with the addition of the words “present and voting” in the super-majority vote to extend interim zoning for one year.  The bill went through Executive Action on March 7 and passed onto the House Floor on March 12, where it concurred on Second Reading, 60-40, and again on Third Reading, 58-38.  It was enrolled on March 15 and signed by the Senate President on March 19.

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

Read the Bill:  HTML  |  PDF  |  Additional Information

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.