Transmittal Date Is Over- Back To Work For Montana Legislatures
Rachel Cone, Director of State Governmental Affairs for Montana Farm Bureau Federation talked to KMON about her current activities at the 2023 Montana Legislative Session:
Less restrictions will ease the pressure on Water Permits.
This takes us back near the beginning of the session. House Bill 114 was one of the bills that came out of the comprehensive water review process. This bill talks about the permitting change process, and revises the timeline for that. The timeline for getting a water permit or changing your water rights through the NRC was lengthy and not efficient and didn't offer that good customer service and the ability for water users, both those who are applying for the permit change, or those that might be impacted, didn't offer them the best that it could. So this benefits everyone. It makes the timeline go from over 305 days to 100 days. Throughout the interim, we work on these working groups and we were able to share the opinions of farmers and ranchers. So this is a really good example of what kind of work can come out of that. That bill will be heard in the Senate this week and throughout its whole process in the House, it had very little opposition, so we're happy to see it where it's at right now and we feel really good about it heading through the Senate,
Not a friendly animal.
Another bill that's worth mentioning that we'll be talking about this week is Senate Bill 85. We've talked quite a bit this session about grizzly bears and the future of when they become delisted and what happens here at the state. Senate Bill 85 is an example of one of those bills talking about what we hope will happen when the grizzly bear gets delisted and how they can be managed by the state to keep them (grizzly bears) at that sustainable level.
Public access to hunting grounds is good for everyone.
Senate Bill 58 talks about block management. Of course, Farm Bureau always finds value in trying to build and enhance the relationship between landowners and sportsmen, and the block management program does just that. It allows hunters to access private land, and it allows landowners to not have to worry about the possible implications. What Senate Bill 58 did was it raised the cap from $25,000 to $50,000 for what landowners can be reimbursed if there's some sort of impact that happens because of hunting.
Other ones that we talked about through the interim, one of them talks about brands here in the state and helps us so that we can have access to more brands, which was something that came out of last session. One of those conversations we had throughout the interim and now we're seeing legislation.
Rebates will go out starting this fall for property tax and income tax
On Monday this week, the governor was able to do a big ceremony to highlight some of the big bills out of his tax package, and he was able to sign those bills. We were very happy to see those important bills signed into law. House Bill 212, which is the business equipment tax (now set with a floor of $1,000,000) and then Senate Bill 121 (tax rebate and a cap of 5.9% income tax rate), which has to do with the income tax reduction. So we were very excited to see those signs this week and becoming law and impacting farmers and ranchers and people all over the state of Montana.
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