2019 Montana Legislature

Montana’s 2019 Legislature is now in session. This year, the Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society has teamed up with Amy Seaman and Wyatt Smith from Montana Audubon as they track bills that affect Montana’s wildlife, as well as habitat, and other environmental laws. Amy and Wyatt will be providing regular updates to MTTWS as the session progresses.

Here are a few links to help you find out more about what is happening in the legislature this year.

For additional information regarding our work with the state legislature, contact Amy Seaman: aseaman@mtaudubon.org, 406.210.9449, or Wyatt Smith: 406-241-7897.

Check here for the latest bills being tracked in the 2019 Session:

Legislative Bill Table 2.18.19

Legislative Bill Table 2.8.19

Legislative Bill Table 1.29.2019

See posts below for current updates and action alerts:

Legislative Priorities for the Week of February 18

Legislative priorities for this week:
 
  1. HB 497 and HJ 18 by Rep. Wylie Galt — Both would allow additional elk to be harvested during shoulder season. They are both being heard today in House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks at 3pm.
  2. SB 186 & SB 187 by Sen. Mike Phillips are both predator bills. SB 186 would prohibit contests or prizes for predators and SB 187 would prohibit vehicular injury of predators. They are being heard today in Senate Fish & Game at 3pm.
  3. HB 279 – Rep. Bob Brown – Reimburse trappers for costs incurred – Still waiting for executive action in House, Fish, Wildlife & Parks committee. Amendments are proposed and EA should occur this week.
  4. We have the Governors Bill on Aquatic Invasive Species (HB 411 — carried by Rep. Willis Curdy) Bill hearing on Friday in House Natural Resources at 3pm.
That is all all for now! 
 
As always, feel free to join us at the Capital any day! And I am happy to answer any questions!
 

Thank you for your support, 

Wyatt
 

Legislative Action Alert: February 14, 2019

 

The word of the month is transmittal. As we approach that deadline in two weeks, the tension growing at the capital is a palpable. Bills are being introduced continuously, but we are continuing to fight potential legislation that would be devastating to wildlife, habitat, and environment generally in our state. However, there is only so much we can do alone: please join us for our second citizen lobby day on March 8th. If you are planning to join, please RSVP by contacting Amy Seaman (aseaman@mtaudubon.org) or Wyatt Smith (wsmith@mtaudobon.org).

Thanks for your support, and remember, we are better when we flock together!

Amy & Wyatt

Politics and conservation easements

HB 265 introduced by Representative Kerry White (R-Bozeman) would insert politics into the decision making process of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park’s (FWP) purchase of conservation easements. This bill would add an unnecessary layer of government to conservation easements for fish and wildlife habitat protection and public hunting access. It would require state Land Board approval for conservation easements under the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Habitat Montana program if such easements are larger than 100 acres or valued over $100,000. This directly conflicts with a 2018 state Supreme Court ruling that found easements were not intended to require Land Board involvement, and are final, once approved by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission. Please call the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks committee and ask them to vote NO on HB 265.

Bill: House Bill 265- Revise laws related to approval of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks easements

Status: Sent to House Floor

Montana Audubon Position – Oppose

 

Wolf “bounty” bill

House Bill 279 was introduced into the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee on January 31st. This bill would allow licensed trappers to trap wolves and then be reimbursed with private funds for costs incurred during harvest. This bill amounts to a bounty on wolves, commercializes wildlife, and won’t solve elk or wolf management challenges. Wolves are an ecologically important native species with a liberal, well-regulated harvest season. Reimbursing trappers for costs incurred is a slippery slope and has no place in Montana, a state with sound wildlife management policies already in place.

Let the House FWP Committee know that you will not stand for the commercialization of Montana’s wildlife. Please call members of the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 279.

Bill: House Bill 279 – Allow for wolf trapper expense reimbursement

Status: Sent to House Floor

Montana Audubon Position – OPPOSE

 

Federal Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Representative Joe Read (R-Ronan) has introduced  HB 415, a bill which would prohibit the state from implementing any federal regulations limiting greenhouse gas pollution.

This bill also prohibits state employees from participating in any national discussion of greenhouse gas regulatory programs, meaning Montana’s opinion will not be considered when the federal government crafts a regulation on climate change.

Please call your legislators and remind them that climate change is a global issue that requires action from all states in the nation.

Bill: House Bill 415 – Prohibit the state from implementing any federal greenhouse gas regulations

Status: Hearing in Federal Relations, Energy, and Telecommunications

Montana Audubon Position – OPPOSE

 

The CKST water compact 

Take Action NOW – Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Compact is at a critical juncture. Lack of Federal action on the CSKT water compact is moving Montana toward great uncertainty.  Montana’s tourism, agricultural and real estate economy is predicated on an unabiguous right to water. From irrigators to sportsmen and municipalities to commercial interests – ratification of the CSKT Compact in Congress is critical to Montana’s future.  Please reach out to the Montana Congressional Delegation and express your support to ensure that the CSKT Water Compact, as passed by the Montana Legislature, is ratified in Congress. It is the only sensible solution that will benefit all Montanans.

Please click on THIS LINK to make a toll free call or send an email to Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Congressman Gianforte. Keep the message simple. Montanan’s haven’t forgotten the hard work it took to pass the compact, and congress shouldn’t hold up implementation.

Read a Missoulian editorial regarding the water compact here

 

HB 279 Commercializes Public Wildlife

Posted on February 7, 2019

Action Needed Today!

Stop a bad anti-wolf bill from moving forward

House Bill 279 was introduced into the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee on January 31st. This bill would allow licensed trappers to trap wolves and then be reimbursed with private funds for costs incurred during harvest. This bill amounts to a bounty on wolves, commercializes wildlife, and won’t solve elk or wolf management challenges. Wolves are an ecologically important native species with a liberal, well-regulated harvest season. Reimbursing trappers for costs incurred is a slippery slope and has no place in Montana, a state with sound wildlife management policies already in place.

Let the House FWP Committee know that you will not stand for the commercialization of Montana’s wildlife. Please call members of the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 279.

Legislative Action Alert: February 5, 2019

 

 

Posted on February 4, 2019

The 4th week of the legislature began and ended with petroleum issues which of course, is directly related to climate change, an issue affecting all of us. We worked all week to make it clear to our elected officials that continued dependence on oil and petroleum products have negative impacts on our birds, wildlife, and their habitat. You can help us spread this message: our citizen lobbying days are fast approaching and we hope that you will join us on February 6th and March 13th, locations TBD. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by contacting Amy Seaman (aseaman@mtaudubon.org) or Wyatt Smith (wsmith@mtaudubon.org).

Thanks for your support,

Amy & Wyatt

Legislative Action Alert: January 23, 2019

Posted on January 22, 2019

It is the start of week three at the Legislature and it is full steam ahead. We are looking to build on our momentum as we testify for and against some important bills. We are working hard to protect Montana’s birds and other wildlife, and will provide you with updates through these action alerts and monthly eNews. We hope you will get involved with our efforts at the Capitol, and can help us out by making a phone call or by emailing your elected officials! You can also join us for either or both of two citizen lobby days, February 6th and March 13th, with locations TBD.

Thanks for the support,

Amy & Wyatt