2019 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 01-28-19

On January 17 the Senate Fish and Game Committee heard SB 70 that would remove Headwaters State Park from the primitive parks list. We consider this to be a positive proposal since this park is nationally know for its location on the route of Lewis and Clark Expedition and as the headwaters of the Missouri River.  Taking this park off the list would allow electricity to be installed in the campground, especially important for individuals who rely on medical devices for their health, and would allow for trail and campground road surfacing necessary to meet ADA requirements.

This week Senate Fish and Game committee will hear both SB 24 and SB 102 on January 29.  SB 24, sponsored by Senator Gauthier, is our light motor vehicle registration fee increase from $6 to $9 for trails, state parks, fishing access sites and Virginia/Nevada cities.  This is an excellent bill that will benefit all Montanans now and in the future.

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2019 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 01-14-19

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: January 14, 2019

Our 66th Session of the Montana Legislature convened January 7.  We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs and we will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses.

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State Gas Tax for Off-Highway Vehicle and Snowmobile Programs Needs Your Support

By Bob Walker, Editor

Representative Kerry White has drafted two bills for consideration by the 2019 session of the Montana Legislature to increase the amounts of current state gas tax refunded to the state’s OHV and snowmobile programs! Representative White’s bills would increase the refund to the state OHV program from 1/8 of 1% to 23/50 of 1%, nearly a fourfold increase, and to the state snowmobile program from 15/28 of 1% to 9/10 of 1%! These increased amounts are supported by studies published by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. For clarification, these bills would not increase the state gas tax but transfer larger amounts currently collected to the two programs.

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2019 Legislature Report - Parks & Recreation 01-02-19

TO: Parks and Recreation Friends Groups

FROM: Bob Walker, Montana Trails Coalition and Montana Trails, Recreation & Parks Association

DATE: January 2, 2019

Good New Year to all you parks, recreation and outdoor enthusiasts!  Our 66th Session of the Montana Legislature convenes on Monday January 7.  We anticipate several bills affecting recreation and parks programs and we will keep you informed of those bills and their status as the session progresses.

You can expect these reports approximately every two weeks.  To repeat an old realism, the world is run by those who show up.  Hopefully many of you will contact your legislators by telephone, letter or email and/or attend committee meeting/s to voice your position on bills that affect your way of life and values.

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Legislative Draft Bill would Increase Funds for All Trails!

By Bob Walker, Editor

A request has been submitted to the Legislative Service Bureau to draft a bill to increase the voluntary light motor vehicle registration fee. This change would create a new grant program for trail development, maintenance, and rehabilitation and help state parks meet their maintenance and operation needs.

The proposal would increase the voluntary light motor vehicle registration fee to state parks from $6 to $10. Of that increase, $1.75 would create a new grant program administered by Fish, Wildlife & Parks for trails and associated recreation facilities similar to the Recreational Trails grant program. In addition, $1.75 of the increase would be for the maintenance and operation of state parks, 25 cents for fishing access sites and 25 cents for Virginia and Nevada Cities.

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