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.

SB 102 sponsored by Senator Webb would change the light motor vehicle registration fee for state parks to an opt-in rather than the current opt-out and increase the fee to$25.  This bill would be devastating to state parks, fishing access sites and Virginia/Nevada Cities and would not include any funds or mention of a state trails grant program.  The fiscal note shows a loss to state parks of $1.7 million per year, a loss to fishing access sites of $94,000 per year and a loss to Virginia/Nevada Cities of $143,000 per year.

Other draft requests for which language is available but still in LC format include: LC 0792, LC 1322, LC 2904 (see accompanying table for brief topic statement).

HB 243 would revise laws related to the off-highway vehicle grant program and make clear the percentages of monies used for safety education and the way in which the grant funds would be distributed to successful sponsors.

HB 265 would clarify the approval process for land-related acquisitions by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and require certain easements to be approved by the Board of Land Commissioners.

HB 300 would institute a sales tax while providing for the elimination of property taxes for class 3, class 4 and class 10 properties and define the distribution of revenues. This is a 426 page bill so I will not attempt to describe its ramifications but it may have some benefits to recreation.

Have a fun and productive end of January and look forward to seeing you out skiing, walking or riding on our trails and in parks.

2019 legislature – Parks and Recreation Bills Currently In Process

 

Bill Number

Sponsor

Description

SB 24

Sen. Gauthier

Increase light motor vehicle registration fee from $6 to $9 for parks, FAS, trails and recreation. Very positive for all!

SB 70

Sen Flowers

Remove Headwaters State Park from primitive parks list. Positive for state parks. Hearing January 17, Senate Fish & Game

SB 102

Sen. Webb

Revise light motor vehicle fees for state parks, FAS to $25 and opt-in instead of opt-out. Very negative for state parks! Hearing Jan. 29 in Senate Fish and Game Committee.

HB 243

Rep. White

Revise laws related to the off-highway vehicle grant program

HB 265

Rep. White

Revise laws related to approval of FWP easements. 

HB 300

Rep. White

Sales tax and distribution of revenues

LC 0185

Sen. Lang

Revise fish, wildlife, and parks commission laws

LC 0192

Sen. Fitzpatrick

Revise laws pertaining to pools and recreational facilities

LC 0540

Sen. Fitzpatrick

Revise off-highway vehicle registration and licensing laws

LC 0541

Sen. Fitzpatrick

Revise off-highway vehicle registration and licensing laws

LC 0658

Sen. Pomnichowski

Generally revise laws related to recreation

LC 0797

Sen. Fitzpatrick

An act providing campsite fee discount at state parks for veterans

LC 0851

Rep. Woods

Generally revise laws related to recreation

LC 0854

Rep. Woods

Generally revise laws related to recreation funding

LC 1012

Sen. Thomas

Generally revise fish, wildlife, and parks laws

LC 1201

Rep. Dudik

Increase out-of-state fee for park entrance or camping

LC 1293

Rep. Garner

Generally revise vehicle safe passing of bicycles laws

LC 1322

Rep. White

Increase state gas tax distribution to recreation programs

LC 1323

Rep. White

Revise laws related to recreational trail passes

LC 1324, 1331

Rep. White

Revise laws related to fish, wildlife, and parks

LC 1335, 1336

Rep. White

Revise laws related to fish, wildlife, and parks

LC 2052

Rep. Bachmeier

Create saddle butte hiking trail

LC 2582, 2586

Sen. Fielder

Generally revise parks and recreation laws

LC 2750

Rep. Hamlett

Revise authority of parks board

LC 2904

?

Revising coal severance tax allocations for state parks

LC 2968

Rep. Anderson

Revise funding sources for Montana's wilderness trails

 

NOTE: SB means Senate bill, HB means House of Representatives bill, LC means a bill draft request has been submitted to Legislative Services.

Bob Walker, Chair
Montana Trails Coalition and
Advisor to Montana Trails Recreation and Parks Association
406-461-0523
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