Week Two of the MT Legislature Begins!
Last week’s legislative work started slowly, and started with our attention on water. We testified in support of SB32— a bill introduced by Senator Jon Sesso that would create a working group overseen by the DNRC to allow for collaborative monitoring and management of our state’s waters gauges. While these types of bills don’t directly address wildlife and habitat, their passage and implementation would ultimately have an impact on both, especially as our waterways face higher temperatures and seasonal low flows.
Our legislative team also had its sights on two bills that would change the aerial predator hunting laws. SB67 & 68 would change the funding structure and permitting processes for aerial hunting, giving non-residents the ability to be permitted to hunt coyotes and foxes in the Department of Livestock’s aerial predator hunting program (a program designed to reduce livestock depredation). We are keeping a close eye on these bills which could lead to commercialization of predator hunting in our state.
Despite the slow start, our week ended with a massive showing at the Public Lands Rally— hundreds of Montanans from across the state packed into the capitol to once again let our elected officials know that public lands belong in public hands. The rally began with a surprise appearance by Senator Jon Tester who voiced his frustration over the inaction at the federal level on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The rally ended with a
rousing speech by Governor Bullock in defense of public lands. Our elected officials will continue to know that we value the opportunity to support our state’s outdoor heritage, and the wildlife and habitat values public lands provide.
We hope to build on the rally’s momentum, as we closely watch these three bills and keep our eyes and ears peeled for further legislation that would have negative impacts on our wildlife, their habitat, and our environment.
Don’t forget, there is always a role that you can play! You can show your support for renewable energy at the upcoming Clean Power Rally on Wednesday, January 23rd, 12pm at the state Capitol. You can also join us for either or both of two citizen lobby days, February 6th and March 13th, with locations TBD. As always, you can follow all of the bills we are tracking on the Montana Legislature section of our Conservation Policy page.
If you have any questions about what’s going on in Helena, please get in touch with Amy Seaman ([email protected] ) or Wyatt Smith ([email protected] ) or call our office (406) 443-3949. We’d love to hear from you.