Progress at the Legislature

On any bill, feel free to reach out to express your opinion

By Brian Putnam

We have made it through half of the legislative session. The final days before break were intense with 98 bills being considered on the House floor. By my count 86 made it through, and 12 were killed. When we get back, we will start working through the bills that have passed the Senate, and the bills that have fiscal notes attached.

If you have been following the news, you have seen several bills that have grabbed attention in the headlines. Some of those are good. Some of those are bad. On any bill, feel free to reach out to express your opinion. One thing to note when you do reach out, be sure to identify who you are, and where you live. Believe it or not, we get quite a bit of input from folks who do not live in Montana. I give more weight to input that comes from Montanans, and even more weight to correspondence that comes from my home district of Evergreen and north Kalispell.

Personally, I have put four bills in the system. The first one is HB 45, which slightly revises the “home to hunt” regulations. This was a bill requested by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. It has made it through the system and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte.

 The second one is HB 75 and is also a department bill requested by the Montana Department of Transportation. This bill will allow MDT the option to conduct online auctions of small pieces of land that are left over after road construction is finished. This bill should be on the Senate floor soon.

My third bill is HB 220. This bill will allow counties the option of sending some federal funds they already receive to a countywide district, allowing them to remove penalties on PILT funds. Flathead County has the potential to increase their PILT funds by more than $500,000 with this legislation. This bill has made it through the House and is awaiting a vote in a Senate committee.

My fourth bill is one that has the most potential for a positive impact on Montana. It will allow cameras to be installed on the exterior of the bus, to document “stop arm violations.” By having photographic evidence, law enforcement will have an easier time successfully prosecuting violators. My hope is this will reduce the number of vehicles passing a bus that is unloading children, thereby prevent devastating injuries to our kids and grandkids. This bill cleared the House floor and is headed to the Senate.

Rep. Brian Putnam

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