2017 Montana Legislature

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HOUSE BILL NO. 620

INTRODUCED BY K. WHITE

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT GENERALLY REVISING TAXATION AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF TAX REVENUE; ENACTING A GENERAL STATEWIDE SALES TAX AND USE TAX; ELIMINATING PROPERTY TAX LEVY AUTHORITY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND SCHOOLS; REPLACING CERTAIN STATE MILL LEVIES WITH A STATE MILL LEVY ON CENTRALLY ASSESSED PROPERTY FOR SCHOOL FUNDING; REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE TO CLOSE COUNTY PROPERTY TAX ADMINISTRATION OFFICES; PROVIDING FOR AN EXEMPTION FROM THE STATE MILL LEVY FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY; REVISING SCHOOL FUNDING; AUTHORIZING THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE TO ENTER INTO THE STREAMLINED SALES TAX AND USE TAX AGREEMENT; IMPLEMENTING APPROPRIATE PROVISIONS OF THE STREAMLINED SALES TAX AND USE TAX AGREEMENT; ALLOWING VARIOUS SALES TAX AND USE TAX EXEMPTIONS, INCLUDING FOOD AND MEDICAL; PROVIDING AN EXEMPTION FROM SALES AND USE TAXES FOR A CENTRALLY ASSESSED PROPERTY TAXPAYER; PROVIDING A GENERAL SALES TAX AND USE TAX EXEMPTION DURING A CERTAIN STATUTORY TIME PERIOD; ELIMINATING THE RESALE EXEMPTION IN THE SALES AND USE TAX FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY AND SERVICES; PROVIDING A STATUTORY APPROPRIATION FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF SALES AND USE TAX REVENUE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS; ESTABLISHING THE CRITICAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMISSION FOR CONSIDERATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING REQUESTS; PROVIDING FOR A 100% STATE-FUNDED SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET; PROVIDING STATE FUNDING TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR TRANSPORTATION AND RETIREMENT; ESTABLISHING THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS ASSESSMENT COMMISSION FOR CONSIDERATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING REQUESTS; CREATING A SCHOOL DISTRICT LOCAL CONTROL AND EFFICIENCY FUND FOR DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES; PROVIDING FOR DISTRIBUTION OF NONLEVY REVENUE TO LOCAL CONTROL AND EFFICIENCY FUNDS OF CERTAIN DISTRICTS; PROVIDING TRANSITION SECTIONS; CREATING A STATE DEBT FOR PAYMENT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS BONDED INDEBTEDNESS; PROVIDING RULEMAKING AUTHORITY; AMENDING SECTIONS 1-2-112, 1-2-113, 2-2-121, 2-7-514, 2-9-212, 2-9-316, 2-16-117, 2-18-703, 7-1-112, 7-1-114, 7-1-2103, 7-1-4123, 7-2-2730, 7-2-2745, 7-2-2746, 7-2-2747, 7-2-2749, 7-2-2751, 7-2-2759, 7-2-2807, 7-2-4625, 7-2-4918, 7-3-175, 7-3-184, 7-3-1104, 7-3-1223, 7-3-1230, 7-3-1313, 7-3-4312, 7-3-4313, 7-4-2504, 7-5-131, 7-6-502, 7-6-621, 7-6-1502, 7-6-1506, 7-6-2501, 7-6-2511, 7-6-2512, 7-6-2513, 7-6-2527, 7-6-4020, 7-6-4034, 7-6-4431, 7-6-4438, 7-7-105, 7-7-121, 7-7-2206, 7-7-2264, 7-7-2302, 7-7-4264, 7-7-4302, 7-7-4424, 7-8-2306, 7-10-115, 7-11-104, 7-11-1003, 7-11-1029, 7-12-1132, 7-12-2105, 7-12-2151, 7-12-2182, 7-12-2185, 7-12-2203, 7-12-4104, 7-12-4106, 7-12-4161, 7-12-4162, 7-12-4222, 7-12-4225, 7-12-4252, 7-12-4255, 7-12-4256, 7-12-4337, 7-13-114, 7-13-142, 7-13-144, 7-13-2221, 7-13-2301, 7-13-2302, 7-13-2321, 7-13-2349, 7-13-3027, 7-13-3029, 7-13-3031, 7-13-3043, 7-13-4406, 7-13-4502, 7-14-111, 7-14-1111, 7-14-1131, 7-14-1133, 7-14-1134, 7-14-1632, 7-14-2101, 7-14-2502, 7-14-2801, 7-14-4109, 7-14-4404, 7-14-4644, 7-14-4666, 7-14-4703, 7-14-4712, 7-14-4731, 7-15-4260, 7-15-4279, 7-15-4281, 7-15-4283, 7-15-4284, 7-15-4288, 7-15-4289, 7-15-4290, 7-15-4292, 7-15-4301, 7-15-4324, 7-15-4532, 7-16-101, 7-16-2102, 7-16-2108, 7-16-2109, 7-16-4112, 7-16-4114, 7-21-3203, 7-21-3411, 7-22-2142, 7-22-2306, 7-22-2512, 7-31-116, 7-32-235, 7-32-2141, 7-32-4117, 7-33-2109, 7-33-2120, 7-33-2209, 7-33-2403, 7-33-4109, 7-33-4111, 7-33-4130, 7-34-102, 7-34-2122, 7-34-2131, 7-34-2137, 7-34-2417, 7-34-2418, 7-35-2205, 10-2-115, 10-3-405, 13-1-101, 13-1-504, 13-13-230, 15-1-101, 15-1-121, 15-1-123, 15-1-205, 15-1-211, 15-1-303, 15-1-402, 15-2-301, 15-2-302, 15-2-306, 15-6-101, 15-6-122, 15-6-135, 15-6-137, 15-6-138, 15-6-141, 15-6-145, 15-6-156, 15-6-157, 15-6-159, 15-6-215, 15-6-217, 15-6-223, 15-6-229, 15-7-101, 15-7-102, 15-7-103, 15-7-106, 15-7-107, 15-7-138, 15-7-139, 15-7-140, 15-7-302, 15-7-308, 15-8-102, 15-8-104, 15-8-111, 15-8-112, 15-8-115, 15-8-301, 15-8-307, 15-8-601, 15-8-701, 15-8-704, 15-8-711, 15-9-103, 15-10-202, 15-10-206, 15-10-305, 15-10-420, 15-15-101, 15-15-104, 15-16-102, 15-16-203, 15-16-611, 15-16-613, 15-23-107, 15-23-703, 15-23-807, 15-24-1209, 15-24-1410, 15-24-3001, 15-24-3006, 15-24-3007, 15-39-110, 15-68-101, 15-68-102, 15-68-110, 15-68-201, 15-68-202, 15-68-206, 15-68-207, 15-68-208, 15-68-209, 15-68-210, 15-68-401, 15-68-402, 15-68-405, 15-68-501, 15-68-502, 15-68-505, 15-68-510, 15-68-520, 15-68-801, 15-68-820, 15-70-419, 17-3-213, 17-3-1003, 17-7-301, 17-7-502, 19-3-204, 19-7-404, 19-18-501, 19-18-504, 19-19-301, 20-1-101, 20-1-208, 20-3-301, 20-3-106, 20-3-205, 20-3-209, 20-3-324, 20-3-352, 20-3-354, 20-3-363, 20-5-320, 20-5-321, 20-5-322, 20-5-323, 20-6-101, 20-6-105, 20-6-326, 20-6-413, 20-6-422, 20-6-423, 20-6-424, 20-6-503, 20-6-603, 20-6-621, 20-6-702, 20-6-704, 20-7-102, 20-7-420, 20-9-104, 20-9-131, 20-9-151, 20-9-161, 20-9-168, 20-9-208, 20-9-212, 20-9-231, 20-9-235, 20-9-236, 20-9-306, 20-9-308, 20-9-310, 20-9-342, 20-9-344, 20-9-347, 20-9-351, 20-9-353, 20-9-501, 20-9-507, 20-9-518, 20-9-620, 20-9-622, 20-9-705, 20-9-904, 20-10-101, 20-10-104, 20-10-105, 20-10-112, 20-10-142, 20-10-143, 20-15-102, 20-15-105, 20-15-201, 20-15-221, 20-15-231, 20-15-241, 20-15-301, 20-15-310, 20-15-311, 20-15-312, 20-15-324, 20-15-404, 20-20-105, 22-1-304, 22-1-316, 22-1-326, 22-1-702, 22-1-703, 22-1-707, 22-1-708, 22-1-709, 22-1-711, 23-4-303, 30-20-204, 39-71-403, 41-5-1804, 50-2-111, 53-3-115, 53-3-116, 53-20-208, 53-21-1010, 61-1-101, 61-3-201, 61-4-310, 61-10-124, 61-10-130, 61-12-206, 61-12-901, 67-3-205, 67-10-402, 67-11-201, 67-11-301, 67-11-302, 67-11-303, 70-1-106, 75-10-112, 76-1-111, 76-1-403, 76-1-404, 76-1-406, 76-2-102, 76-2-205, 76-5-1113, 76-5-1116, 76-5-1117, 76-6-109, 76-15-501, 76-15-505, 76-15-516, 76-15-518, 76-15-520, 76-15-527, 76-15-531, 76-15-623, 76-15-624, 77-1-208, 77-1-218, 80-12-102, 81-8-504, 85-3-412, 85-3-414, 85-3-415, 85-3-422, 85-3-423, 85-7-306, 85-7-1972, 85-7-2014, 85-7-2016, 85-7-2017, 85-7-2018, 85-7-2101, 85-7-2102, 85-7-2103, 85-7-2104, 85-7-2118, 85-7-2119, 85-7-2132, 85-7-2137, 85-7-2142, 85-8-615, 85-8-617, 85-9-304, 90-5-112, 90-6-304, 90-6-305, 90-6-307, AND 90-6-405, MCA; REPEALING SECTIONS 2-9-318, 7-2-2750, 7-2-4111, 7-2-4810, 7-3-1310, 7-3-1311, 7-6-1507, 7-6-2521, 7-6-2522, 7-6-2524, 7-6-4014, 7-6-4035, 7-6-4036, 7-6-4401, 7-6-4406, 7-6-4421, 7-6-4451, 7-6-4453, 7-6-4454, 7-6-4455, 7-7-2265, 7-7-2266, 7-7-2303, 7-7-4265, 7-7-4266, 7-11-1112, 7-12-1133, 7-12-2158, 7-12-2159, 7-12-2165, 7-12-2191, 7-12-2202, 7-12-4176, 7-12-4177, 7-12-4178, 7-12-4181, 7-12-4186, 7-12-4192, 7-13-124, 7-13-125, 7-13-126, 7-13-127, 7-13-145, 7-13-146, 7-13-2280, 7-13-2281, 7-13-2282, 7-13-2285, 7-13-2290, 7-13-2304, 7-13-2305, 7-13-2306, 7-13-2307, 7-13-2308, 7-13-2309, 7-13-2310, 7-13-2333, 7-13-3020, 7-13-3021, 7-13-3022, 7-13-3023, 7-13-3024, 7-13-3028, 7-13-4309, 7-14-110, 7-14-232, 7-14-233, 7-14-1132, 7-14-1633, 7-14-1634, 7-14-2501, 7-14-2503, 7-14-2807, 7-14-4106, 7-14-4713, 7-14-4734, 7-15-4282, 7-15-4285, 7-15-4286, 7-15-4287, 7-15-4291, 7-15-4293, 7-15-4294, 7-16-4105, 7-16-4113, 7-33-2211, 7-34-2133, 15-1-116, 15-1-118, 15-1-213, 15-1-409, 15-6-133, 15-6-134, 15-6-143, 15-6-301, 15-6-302, 15-6-305, 15-6-311, 15-7-110, 15-7-111, 15-7-112, 15-7-113, 15-7-114, 15-7-201, 15-7-202, 15-7-203, 15-7-206, 15-7-207, 15-7-208, 15-7-209, 15-7-210, 15-7-212, 15-7-403, 15-8-113, 15-8-205, 15-8-402, 15-8-404, 15-8-405, 15-8-406, 15-8-408, 15-8-409, 15-8-503, 15-8-511, 15-8-512, 15-10-201, 15-10-401, 15-10-402, 15-10-406, 15-10-425, 15-15-102, 15-15-103, 15-16-103, 15-23-105, 15-23-106, 15-23-715, 15-24-201, 15-24-202, 15-24-203, 15-24-204, 15-24-205, 15-24-206, 15-24-207, 15-24-208, 15-24-209, 15-24-210, 15-24-211, 15-24-212, 15-24-301, 15-24-302, 15-24-303, 15-24-304, 15-24-305, 15-24-701, 15-24-801, 15-24-1401, 15-24-1402, 15-24-1501, 15-24-1502, 15-24-1601, 15-24-1602, 15-24-1603, 15-24-1604, 15-24-1605, 15-24-1606, 15-24-1607, 15-24-1701, 15-24-1702, 15-24-1703, 15-24-1801, 15-24-1802, 15-24-1901, 15-24-1902, 15-24-2001, 15-24-2002, 15-24-3201, 15-24-3202, 15-24-3203, 15-24-3204, 15-24-3211, 15-30-2336, 15-44-101, 15-44-102, 15-44-103, 15-44-105, 19-9-209, 19-13-214, 20-5-324, 20-6-412, 20-7-705, 20-7-714, 20-9-122, 20-9-141, 20-9-142, 20-9-152, 20-9-303, 20-9-323, 20-9-331, 20-9-332, 20-9-333, 20-9-335, 20-9-343, 20-9-346, 20-9-348, 20-9-360, 20-9-361, 20-9-366, 20-9-367, 20-9-368, 20-9-369, 20-9-370, 20-9-371, 20-9-401, 20-9-402, 20-9-403, 20-9-404, 20-9-405, 20-9-406, 20-9-407, 20-9-408, 20-9-410, 20-9-411, 20-9-412, 20-9-421, 20-9-422, 20-9-423, 20-9-424, 20-9-425, 20-9-426, 20-9-427, 20-9-428, 20-9-429, 20-9-430, 20-9-431, 20-9-432, 20-9-433, 20-9-434, 20-9-435, 20-9-436, 20-9-437, 20-9-438, 20-9-439, 20-9-440, 20-9-441, 20-9-442, 20-9-443, 20-9-444, 20-9-445, 20-9-446, 20-9-461, 20-9-464, 20-9-465, 20-9-471, 20-9-472, 20-9-473, 20-9-474, 20-9-502, 20-9-503, 20-9-505, 20-9-506, 20-9-508, 20-9-515, 20-9-516, 20-9-533, 20-9-534, 20-9-543, 20-9-544, 20-9-615, 20-9-630, 20-10-141, 20-10-144, 20-10-145, 20-10-146, 20-10-147, 20-15-305, 20-15-313, 20-15-314, 20-15-325, 20-15-326, 20-25-439, 71-3-1506, 76-5-1114, 76-15-515, 76-15-519, 76-15-532, 85-7-307, 85-7-2105, 85-7-2134, 85-8-601, 85-8-618, 85-8-624, 90-5-110, 90-6-309, 90-6-310, 90-6-403, 90-6-404, 90-6-801, 90-6-802, 90-6-803, 90-6-809, 90-6-810, 90-6-811, 90-6-812, 90-6-818, 90-6-819, 90-7-116, AND 90-7-230, MCA; AND PROVIDING A DELAYED EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY DATE."

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 1.  Reimbursement to local governments for property tax mitigation. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), the state shall provide a sales tax and use tax local property tax relief payment to fully compensate each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or other taxing entity for the elimination of property tax levy authority and special assessments by [this act]. The reimbursement under this section is provided by direct payment from the state treasury and cannot be applied to compensate for a loss of funding that could have been obtained after June 30, 2017, under former 15-10-425 as that section read on January 1, 2017. Supplemental funding requests that were typically addressed through a new mill levy or an increased mill levy request must be submitted to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 3] and approved by the legislature.

     (b) This section does not apply to reimbursements to the state or school districts.

     (2) (a) For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, the department shall calculate the total amount of property tax revenue, including but not limited to taxes, fees, or assessments that were collected by each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or other taxing entity.

     (b) The department shall determine the percentage of total revenue collected under subsection (2)(a) that is allocable to each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or any other taxing entity. The percentage becomes the allocation percentage for all future distributions of sales and use tax revenue.

     (c) For the purpose of determining the amount of revenue collected in subsection (2)(a), the department shall include unpaid taxes, fees, and assessments, as well as taxes paid under protest.

     (3) For the loss of property taxes and special assessments because of the elimination of the property tax base required by [this act], the department shall distribute a share of sales and use tax revenue from the sales and use tax reimbursement account as provided in [section 2] based on the allocation percentage in subsection (2)(b).

     (4) The legislature may evaluate and amend the percentage that is allocable to each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or other taxing entity for the purpose of distribution equality.

     (5) It is the intent of the legislature to fully reimburse each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or any other taxing entity for any activity, bond payment obligation, contract obligation, expense, facility, or service that existed on or before June 30, 2017, through a combination of sales and use tax revenue. The department shall report biennially any proposed legislative changes that accomplish this intent to the revenue and transportation interim committee.

     (6) The department may adopt rules to implement this section.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 2.  Sales and use tax reimbursement account. (1) There is a sales and use tax reimbursement account in the state special revenue fund provided for in 17-2-102.

     (2) All money allocated under 15-68-820(1)(a) must be deposited in the account.

     (3) Money in the account is statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, from the account for distributions to each county, consolidated government, incorporated city, incorporated town, or other taxing entity as provided in [section 1].

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 3.  Critical needs assessment commission -- composition. (1) There is a critical needs assessment commission.

     (2) The composition, method of selection, and terms of office of members of the commission are as prescribed in [sections 4 through 16].

     (3) The commission is attached to the department of administration for administrative purposes only as provided in 2-15-121. However, the board may hire its own personnel, and 2-15-121(2)(d) does not apply.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 4.  Definitions. For purposes of [sections 4 through 16], the following definitions apply:

     (1) "Commission" means the critical needs assessment commission provided for in [section 3].

     (2) "Local government" means an incorporated city or town, a county, a consolidated local government, a tribal government, a county or multicounty water, sewer, or solid waste district, or an authority as defined in 75-6-304.

     (3) "Local government projects" means:

     (a) drinking water systems;

     (b) wastewater treatment;

     (c) sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems;

     (d) solid waste disposal and separation systems, including site acquisition, preparation, or monitoring;

     (e) roads;

     (f) bridges;

     (g) facilities for government administration, fire protection, law enforcement, and emergency services; and

     (h) other projects that address the increased social needs of a community, including but not limited to the need for education, human services, medical care, recreation, social safety net programs, and the development of community programs that enhance the quality of living in a community.

     (4) "Tribal government" means the government of a federally recognized Indian tribe within the state of Montana.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 5.  Critical needs assessment commission -- duties. The duty of the critical needs assessment commission is to consider the state's existing and projected funding in the critical needs assessment account provided for in [section 16] while recommending local government infrastructure projects to the legislature for potential funding as provided in [section 11].

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 6.  Composition of commission. There are five critical needs assessment commission districts, with one commissioner elected from each district, distributed as follows:

     (1) first district: Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Dawson, Fergus, Garfield, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Toole, Valley, and Wibaux Counties;

     (2) second district: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Prairie, Rosebud, Treasure, and Yellowstone Counties;

     (3) third district: Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Madison, Meagher, Musselshell, Park, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, and Wheatland Counties;

     (4) fourth district: Granite, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, and Sanders Counties;

     (5) fifth district: Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Pondera, and Teton Counties.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 7.  Term of office -- term limits. (1) A commissioner's term is for a period of 4 years. A commissioner when elected must qualify at the time and in the manner provided by law for other state officers and shall take office on the first Monday of January after the election.

     (2) A commissioner shall serve until a successor is elected and qualified.

     (3) The secretary of state or other authorized official may not certify a candidate's nomination or election to the critical needs assessment commission or print or cause to be printed on any ballot the name of a candidate for the critical needs assessment commission if, at the end of the current term of that office, the candidate will have served in that office or, had the candidate not resigned or been recalled, would have served in that office for 8 or more years in a 16-year period.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 8.  Vacancies. (1) Any vacancy occurring in the commission must be filled by appointment by the governor as provided in this section. The appointee shall hold office until the next general election and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the biennial election following the occurrence of any vacancy in the commission, there must be elected one member to fill out the unexpired term for which the vacancy exists.

     (2) (a) When a vacancy occurs, if the former incumbent represented a party eligible for primary election under 13-10-601, the person appointed by the governor must be a member of the same political party and must be selected by the governor as provided in subsections (3) and (4).

     (b) If the former incumbent was an independent or was originally nominated from a party that does not meet the requirements of 13-10-601, the governor shall appoint an individual to the vacant position within 45 days of receiving notification from the secretary of state of the vacancy.

     (3) Within 7 days of being notified of a vacancy as described in 2-16-501, the secretary of state shall notify the governor and, if the former incumbent represented a party eligible for primary election under 13-10-601, the state party that was represented by the former incumbent.

     (4) (a) Upon receipt of a notification of a vacancy, the state party central committee notified pursuant to subsection (3) has 30 days to forward to the governor a list of three prospective appointees, each of whom must be a resident of the district represented by the former incumbent.

     (b) If the governor does not select an appointee from the list forwarded pursuant to subsection (4)(a) within 15 days, the central committee shall, within 15 days, forward a second list of three prospective appointees, each of whom must be a resident of the district represented by the former incumbent. The second list may not contain a name submitted on the first list. Within 15 days of receipt of the second list, the governor shall select an appointee from either list.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 9.  Presiding officer of commission. A presiding officer must be selected by the commission from its membership at the first meeting of each year after a general election.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 10.  Conduct of commission business. (1) The commission shall hold sessions at times and places in this state as may be expedient. A majority of the commission constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

     (2) The members of the commission may administer oaths and affirmations.

     (3) The commission may adopt rules to govern its proceedings and to regulate the mode and manner of all investigations and hearings concerning parties before it.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 11.  Priorities for community infrastructure projects and community needs -- procedure -- rulemaking. (1) The commission:

     (a) shall assess the needs and costs related to the operation of local government for local government costs that were traditionally funded by property taxes before the passage of [this act];

     (b) shall seek input from representatives from the governor's office, local governments, private organizations, and members of the public;

     (c) must receive proposals for infrastructure projects from local governments;

     (d) must receive proposals for projects that address social needs of a community or that enable a local government to meet social needs that traditionally funded by a property tax;

     (e) shall prepare and submit a list containing the recommended projects and the recommended form and amount of financial assistance for each project to the legislature, prioritized pursuant to subsection (3), after taking into consideration the amount of money projected to be available in the critical needs assessment account provided for in [section 16].

     (2) Before making recommendations to the legislature, the commission may adjust the ranking of projects by giving priority to projects that solve urgent and serious public health or safety problems of a local government or school district.

     (3) In preparing recommendations under subsection (1), preference must be given to projects based on the following order of priority:

     (a) projects that solve urgent and serious public health or safety problems or that enable local governments to meet state or federal health or safety standards;

     (b) projects that reflect greater need for financial assistance than other projects;

     (c) projects that incorporate appropriate, cost-effective technical design and that provide thorough, long-term solutions to community public facility and school district needs;

     (d) projects that enable local governments and school districts to obtain funds from sources other than the funds provided by the state; and

     (e) projects that are high local priorities and have strong community support.

     (4) The commission shall report to each regular session of the legislature on the status of all infrastructure and social needs projects that have not been completed in order for the legislature to review each project's status and determine whether the authorized grant should be withdrawn.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 12.  Reimbursement for expenses. The commission and its staff are entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses, as provided for in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503. Expenditures must be sworn to by the person who incurred the expenses and be approved by the presiding officer of the commission or the presiding officer's designee.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 13.  Funding of commission. All expenses of the commission must be paid out of the state general fund.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 14.  Removal or suspension of commissioner. If a commissioner fails to perform the commissioner's duties as provided in [sections 4 through 16], the commissioner may be removed from office as provided by 45-7-401. Upon complaint made and good cause shown, the governor may suspend any commissioner, and if, in the governor's judgment the exigencies of the case require, the governor may appoint temporarily some competent person to perform the duties of the suspended commissioner during the period of the suspension.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 15.  Commission recordkeeping and employment of personnel. (1) The commission shall keep a full and complete record of all its proceedings and preserve at the office of the commission all documents and papers entrusted to its care.

     (2) The commission may appoint employees and consultants necessary to carry out the provisions of [sections 4 through 16].

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 16.  Critical needs assessment account. (1) There is a critical needs assessment account in the state special revenue fund provided for in 17-2-102.

     (2) All money allocated under 15-68-820(1)(b) must be deposited in the account.

     (3) Money in the account may be appropriated by the legislature to provide state government funding for local government infrastructure projects and social needs of a community that were previously funded by property taxes before the enactment of [this act].

     (4) The critical needs assessment commission shall make recommendations to the legislature regarding funding for new proposals as provided in [section 11].

     (5) Subject to legislative appropriation, the department of revenue shall make distributions from this account to fund projects that were approved by the legislature.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 17.  Short title. [Sections 17 through 24] may be cited as the "Uniform Sales Tax and Use Tax Administration Act".

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 18.  Definitions. As used in [sections 17 through 24], the following definitions apply:

     (1) "Agreement" means the streamlined sales and use tax agreement.

     (2) "Certified automated system" means software certified jointly by the states that are signatories to the agreement to calculate the tax imposed by each jurisdiction on a transaction, to determine the amount of tax to remit to the appropriate state, and to maintain a record of the transaction.

     (3) "Certified service provider" means an agent certified jointly by the states that are signatories to the agreement to perform all of the seller's sales tax functions.

     (4) "Person" means an individual, trust, estate, fiduciary, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, corporation, or other legal entity.

     (5) "Sales tax" means the tax levied under 15-68-102.

     (6) "Seller" means a person making sales, leases, or rentals of personal property.

     (7) "State" means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States.

     (8) "Use tax" means the tax levied under 15-68-102.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 19.  Authority to enter agreement. (1) The department is authorized and directed to enter into the agreement with one or more states to simplify and modernize sales tax and use tax administration to substantially reduce the burden of tax compliance for all sellers and for all types of commerce. In furthering the agreement, the department is authorized to act jointly with other states that are signatories to the agreement to establish standards for certification of certified service providers and a certified automated system and to establish performance standards for multistate sellers through a multistate central registration system.

     (2) The department is further authorized to take other actions reasonably required to implement the provisions of [sections 17 through 24]. Other actions authorized by this section include but are not limited to the adoption of rules and the joint procurement, with other signatory states, of goods and services in furthering the agreement.

     (3) The department or the department's designee is authorized to represent this state before other states that are signatories to the agreement.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 20.  Relationship to state law. A provision of the agreement, in whole or in part, does not invalidate or amend any provision of the law of this state. Adoption of the agreement by this state does not amend or modify any law of this state. Implementation of any condition of the agreement within this state, whether adopted before, at the time, or after this state becomes a signatory to the agreement, must be by the action of this state.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 21.  Agreement requirements. The department may not enter into the agreement unless the agreement requires each signatory state to abide by the following requirements:

     (1) The agreement must set restrictions to achieve, over time, more uniform rates in Montana through the following methods:

     (a) limiting the number of state rates;

     (b) limiting the application of maximums on the amount of state tax that is due on a transaction; and

     (c) limiting the application of thresholds on the application of state tax.

     (2) The agreement must establish uniform standards for the following:

     (a) the sourcing of transactions to taxing jurisdictions;

     (b) the administration of exempt sales;

     (c) the allowances that a seller may take for bad debts; and

     (d) sales tax and use tax returns and remittances.

     (3) The agreement must require states to develop and adopt uniform definitions of sales tax and use tax terms. The definitions must enable a state to preserve its ability to make policy choices consistent with the uniform definitions.

     (4) The agreement must provide a central, electronic registration system that allows a seller to register to collect and remit sales taxes and use taxes for all signatory states.

     (5) The agreement must provide that registration with the multistate central registration system and the collection of sales taxes and use taxes in the signatory states will not be used as factors in determining whether the seller has nexus with a state for any tax.

     (6) The agreement must provide for reduction of the burdens of complying with local sales taxes and use taxes through the following methods:

     (a) restricting variances between the state and local tax bases;

     (b) requiring states to administer any sales taxes and use taxes levied by local jurisdictions within the state so that sellers collecting and remitting these taxes will not have to register or file returns with, remit funds to, or be subject to independent audits from local taxing jurisdictions;

     (c) restricting the frequency of changes in the local sales tax and use tax rates and setting effective dates for the application of local jurisdictional boundary changes to local sales taxes and use taxes; and

     (d) providing notice of changes in local sales tax and use tax rates and changes in the boundaries of local taxing jurisdictions.

     (7) The agreement must outline any monetary allowances that are to be provided by the states to sellers or certified service providers.

     (8) The agreement must require a state to certify compliance with the terms of the agreement prior to becoming a signatory and to maintain compliance, under the laws of the state, with all provisions of the agreement while a signatory.

     (9) The agreement must require each signatory state to adopt a uniform policy for certified service providers that protects the privacy of consumers and maintains the confidentiality of tax information.

     (10) The agreement must provide for the appointment of an advisory council of private sector representatives and an advisory council of representatives of states that are not signatory states to consult in administering the agreement.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 22.  Cooperating sovereigns. The agreement is an accord among individual cooperating sovereigns in furthering their governmental functions. The agreement provides a mechanism among the signatory states to establish and maintain a cooperative, simplified system for applying and administering sales taxes and use taxes under the adopted law of each signatory state.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 23.  Limited binding and beneficial effect. (1) The agreement binds and inures only to the benefit of this state and the other signatory states. No person other than a signatory state is an intended beneficiary of the agreement. Any benefit to a person other than a signatory state is established by the law of this state and the other signatory states and not by the terms of the agreement.

     (2) Consistent with subsection (1), no person has any cause of action or defense under the agreement or by virtue of this state's approval of the agreement. A person may not challenge, in any action brought under any provision of law, an action or inaction by a department, agency, or other instrumentality of this state or a political subdivision of this state on the ground that the action or inaction is inconsistent with the agreement.

     (3) A law of this state or the application of a law of this state may not be declared invalid as to any person or circumstance on the ground that the provision or application is inconsistent with the agreement.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 24.  Seller and third-party liability. (1) (a) A certified service provider is the agent of a seller with whom the certified service provider has contracted for the collection and remittance of sales taxes and use taxes. As the seller's agent, the certified service provider is liable for sales tax and use tax due each signatory state on all sales transactions that it processes for the seller, except as set out in this section.

     (b) A seller that contracts with a certified service provider is not liable to the state for sales tax or use tax due on transactions processed by the certified service provider unless the seller misrepresented the type of items that it sells or committed fraud. In the absence of probable cause to believe that the seller has committed fraud or made a material misrepresentation, the seller is not subject to audit on the transactions processed by the certified service provider.

     (c) A seller is subject to audit for transactions not processed by the certified service provider. The signatory states, acting jointly, may perform a system check of the seller and review the seller's procedures to determine whether the certified service provider's system is functioning properly and the extent to which the seller's transactions are being processed by the certified service provider.

     (2) A person who provides a certified automated system is responsible for the proper functioning of the system and is liable to the state for underpayments of tax attributable to errors in the functioning of the system. A seller that uses a certified automated system remains responsible and is liable to the state for reporting and remitting tax.

     (3) A seller that has a proprietary system for determining the amount of tax due on transactions and that has signed an agreement establishing a performance standard for the system is liable for the failure of the system to meet the performance standard.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 25.  Property tax exemption for property that is not centrally assessed -- taxes and assessments prohibited. (1) All real property and personal property that is not centrally assessed property described in 15-23-101 is exempt from property taxes and assessments. Property taxes and property assessments may not be levied by the state, a county, a consolidated government, an incorporated city or town, a school district, a special district, or any taxing entity against exempt property. An application for tax exempt status is not required.

     (2) The department does not have a duty to:

     (a) classify, subclassify, or appraise property that is exempt from taxation under this section; or

     (b) provide information to taxpayers when the taxpayer's property is exempt from property taxation.

     (3) Information that the department is not required to provide under subsection (2) includes but is not limited to information regarding:

     (a) land classification;

     (b) market value;

     (c) taxable value; and

     (d) availability of property tax assistance programs.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 26.  Direct payment of sales tax -- direct payment permits. (1) The department may issue direct payment permits to any person liable for the payment of more than $500 a year in sales tax. A person shall apply to the department for a permit, on forms approved by the department. By applying for a direct payment permit, the applicant acknowledges that the applicant assumes all obligations to pay any sales tax due under this chapter from the applicant as a direct payment permitholder. A direct payment permit may be revoked by the department at any time upon 90 days' written notice to the permitholder. A permitholder may be audited by the department.

     (2) A direct payment permitholder shall pay any sales tax authorized under this chapter directly to the department. The permitholder must receive a nontaxable transaction certificate, as provided in 15-68-202, using the direct payment permit as a basis for the exemption.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 27.  Credit -- out-of-state taxes. If a sales tax, use tax, or similar tax has been levied by another state or a political subdivision of another state on property that was bought outside this state but that will be used or consumed within this state and the tax was paid by the current user, the amount of tax paid may be credited against any use tax due this state on the same property. The credit may not exceed the sales tax or use tax due this state.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 28.  Exemption -- food products. The sale or use of food and food ingredients is exempt from the sales tax and use tax.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 29.  Exemption -- medicine, drugs, and certain devices. The following are exempt from the sales tax and use tax:

     (1) prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, durable medical equipment, and mobility-enhancing equipment; and

     (2) insulin, oxygen, and therapeutic and prosthetic devices.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 30.  Exemption for medical care. The following are exempt from the sales tax and use tax:

     (1) services provided by:

     (a) clinical laboratory science practitioners;

     (b) chiropractors;

     (c) addiction counselors;

     (d) licensed professional counselors;

     (e) dental hygienists;

     (f) dentists;

     (g) denturists;

     (h) hearing aid dispensers;

     (i) acupuncturists;

     (j) massage therapists;

     (k) nurses;

     (l) medical facilities, including but not limited to assisted living facilities, community homes for persons with developmental disabilities, community homes for physically disabled persons, adult foster family care homes, home health agencies, hospitals, infirmaries, kidney treatment centers, long-term care facilities, transitional living facilities, nursing homes, and youth care facilities;

     (m) occupational therapists;

     (n) optometrists;

     (o) pharmacists;

     (p) physical therapists;

     (q) physicians;

     (r) podiatrists;

     (s) psychologists;

     (t) radiologic technologists;

     (u) respiratory care practitioners;

     (v) speech-language pathologists and audiologists;

     (w) licensed social workers;

     (x) marriage and family therapists; and

     (y) surgeons;

     (2) services provided in direct support of the facilities and occupations in subsection (1) by an employee or independent contractor of the facility or service provider;

     (3) tangible personal property utilized by facilities and occupations in subsection (1);

     (4) prepared food offered or delivered as part of a residential living arrangement and consumed by an individual who is party to the arrangement or by patients of a medical facility; and

     (5) any additional medical service or aid allowable under or provided by the federal Social Security Act.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 31.  Exemption -- centrally assessed property. The sale of tangible personal property and services provided to a centrally assessed property taxpayer as provided in 15-23-101 is not subject to the sales tax and use tax. In order to qualify for the exemption provided by this section, the tangible personal property or service must be utilized for the business activity that is subject to central assessment.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 32.  Exemption -- insurance premiums. The premiums of an insurance company for medicine, drugs, and certain devices and medical care services described in [sections 29 and 30] are exempt from the sales tax.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 33.  Exemption -- dividends and interest. The following are exempt from the sales tax:

     (1) interest on money loaned or deposited;

     (2) dividends or interest from stocks, bonds, or securities; and

     (3) proceeds from the sale of stocks, bonds, or securities.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 34.  Exemption -- personal effects. The use by an individual of personal or household effects brought into the state for the establishment by the individual of an initial residence within this state and the use of property brought into the state by a nonresident for the nonresident's own nonbusiness use while temporarily within this state are exempt from the use tax.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 35.  Nontaxability -- transactions in interstate commerce -- certain property used in interstate commerce. The following are nontaxable:

     (1) a transaction in interstate commerce to the extent that the imposition of the sales tax or use tax would be unlawful under the United States constitution;

     (2) transmitting messages or conversations by radio when the transmissions originate from a point outside this state and are received at a point within this state; and

     (3) the sale of radio or television broadcast time if the advertising message is supplied by or on behalf of a national or regional seller or an advertiser that does not have its principal place of business within this state or that is not incorporated under the laws of this state.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 36.  Nontaxability -- sale or lease of real property or improvements and lease of mobile homes. (1) (a) The sale or lease of real property or improvements is nontaxable.

     (b) The lease or rental of a mobile home for a period of 1 month or more is nontaxable.

     (2) The inclusion of furniture or appliances furnished by the landlord or lessor as part of a leased or rented dwelling, house, mobile home, cabin, condominium, or apartment is nontaxable.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 37.  Statewide school levy -- guarantee account. Subject to 15-10-420, there is a levy of 478 mills imposed by the county commissioners of each county on all centrally assessed taxable property within the state, except property for which a tax or fee is required under 61-3-321(2) or (3), 61-3-529, 61-3-537, 61-3-562, 61-3-570, and 67-3-204. Proceeds of the levy must be remitted to the department of revenue, as provided in 15-1-504, and must be deposited to the credit of the guarantee account provided for in 20-9-622.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 38.  Local control and efficiency fund -- uses -- financing. (1) The trustees of a school district shall establish a local control and efficiency fund for the following purposes:

     (a) maintenance and improvement of school facilities, including technology infrastructure;

     (b) providing adult education and literacy courses at the trustees' discretion;

     (c) school litigation costs as necessary;

     (d) costs related to any nonoperating purposes for any year in which the trustees will not operate a school;

     (e) any other cost related to the education of district pupils as determined by the trustees.

     (2) The trustees shall adopt a budget for the local control and efficiency fund and allocate money at the discretion of the trustees.

     (3) Pursuant to 20-9-344, the board of public education shall annually distribute to each operating district for the district's elementary and high school program as applicable $50,000 plus $500 per ANB for the first 100 ANB, decreased at the rate of 20 cents per ANB for each additional ANB of the district up through 600 ANB, with each ANB in excess of 600 receiving the same amount of entitlement as the 600th ANB to be deposited in the local control and efficiency fund.

     (4) No later than August 15, 2017, the trustees of a school district shall transfer to the local control and efficiency fund all remaining money from the following funds:

     (a) the building reserve fund;

     (b) the nonoperating fund;

     (c) the tuition fund;

     (d) the adult education fund;

     (e) the litigation reserve fund;

     (f) the flexibility fund;

     (g) the technology acquisition fund;

     (h) the building fund;

     (4) The legislature shall adjust the allocation amount in subsection (3) as necessary to ensure the adequacy of funding for the basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools of the state and the ability of local trustees to exercise control and supervision of schools in the trustees' district. The legislature shall include a factor in the allocation formula under subsection (3) that is based on the growth of each district's sales and use tax revenue.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 39.  School transportation fund -- financing. (1) A school district operating a transportation program shall establish a transportation fund and adopt a transportation budget.

     (2) The office of public instruction shall calculate each district's transportation payment based on district transportation expenditures in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, with the payment increased by the inflationary adjustment as calculated in 20-9-326. The board of public education shall distribute each district's transportation payment as provided in 20-9-344.

     (3) The trustees of a district operating a transportation program may request from the school infrastructure needs assessment commission provided for in [section 42] additional funds for transportation costs above the district's transportation payment, including but not limited to:

     (a) the purchase of school buses;

     (b) district demographic changes resulting in increased transportation costs; and

     (c) increased operational costs related to fuel prices that increase above the rate of inflation.

     (4) At the end of a school fiscal year, trustees shall:

     (a) transfer unexpended funds from the district transportation allocation under subsection (2) to the district's local control and efficiency fund provided for in [section 38]; and

     (b) reappropriate unexpended funds from any additional transportation funds allocated under subsection (3) to the ensuing year's transportation budget to be used to reduce the district's payment under subsection (2) in the ensuing year.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 40.  School infrastructure needs assessment commission. (1) There is a school infrastructure needs assessment commission.

     (2) The composition, method of selection, and terms of office of members of the commission are as prescribed in [sections 41 through 54].

     (3) The commission is attached to the department of administration for administrative purposes only as provided in 2-15-121. However, the board may hire its own personnel, and 2-15-121(2)(d) does not apply.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 41.  Definitions. For purposes of [sections 41 through 54], the following definitions apply:

     (1) "Commission" means the school infrastructure needs assessment commission provided for in [section 40].

     (2) "School district" means a public school district, as provided in 20-6-101 and 20-6-701.

     (3) "School district projects" means projects that:

     (a) enhance the quality of life and protect the health, safety, and welfare of Montana's public school students;

     (b) ensure the successful delivery of an educational system that meets the accreditation standards provided for in 20-7-111;

     (c) extend the life of Montana's existing public school facilities;

     (d) promote energy conservation and reduction;

     (e) integrate technology into Montana's education framework to support student educational needs for the 21st century; and

     (f) are fiscally responsible by considering both long-term and short-term needs of the public school district, the local community, and the state.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 42.  School infrastructure needs assessment commission -- duties. (1) The duty of the school infrastructure needs assessment commission is to consider the state's existing and projected funding in the school infrastructure needs assessment account provided for in [section 53] while recommending school district projects to the legislature for potential funding as provided in [section 48].

     (2) The commission shall adjust all school district allocations under this title upon district reorganization pursuant to 20-6-422 and 20-6-423 and upon any district boundary changes as provided in this title.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 43.  Composition of commission. There are five school infrastructure needs assessment commission districts, with one commissioner elected from each district, distributed as follows:

     (1) first district: Blaine, Cascade, Chouteau, Daniels, Dawson, Fergus, Garfield, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Toole, Valley, and Wibaux Counties;

     (2) second district: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Prairie, Rosebud, Treasure, and Yellowstone Counties;

     (3) third district: Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deer Lodge, Gallatin, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Madison, Meagher, Musselshell, Park, Silver Bow, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, and Wheatland Counties;

     (4) fourth district: Granite, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, and Sanders Counties;

     (5) fifth district: Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Pondera, and Teton Counties.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 44.  Term of office -- term limits. (1) A commissioner's term is for a period of 4 years. A commissioner when elected must qualify at the time and in the manner provided by law for other state officers and shall take office on the first Monday of January after the election.

     (2) A commissioner shall serve until a successor is elected and qualified.

     (3) The secretary of state or other authorized official may not certify a candidate's nomination or election to the school infrastructure needs assessment commission or print or cause to be printed on any ballot the name of a candidate for the school infrastructure needs assessment commission if, at the end of the current term of that office, the candidate will have served in that office or, had the candidate not resigned or been recalled, would have served in that office for 8 or more years in a 16-year period.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 45.  Vacancies. (1) Any vacancy occurring in the commission must be filled by appointment by the governor as provided in this section. The appointee shall hold office until the next general election and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the biennial election following the occurrence of any vacancy in the commission, there must be elected one member to fill out the unexpired term for which the vacancy exists.

     (2) (a) When a vacancy occurs, if the former incumbent represented a party eligible for primary election under 13-10-601, the person appointed by the governor must be a member of the same political party and must be selected by the governor as provided in subsections (3) and (4).

     (b) If the former incumbent was an independent or was originally nominated from a party that does not meet the requirements of 13-10-601, the governor shall appoint an individual to the vacant position within 45 days of receiving notification from the secretary of state of the vacancy.

     (3) Within 7 days of being notified of a vacancy as described in 2-16-501, the secretary of state shall notify the governor and, if the former incumbent represented a party eligible for primary election under 13-10-601, the state party that was represented by the former incumbent.

     (4) (a) Upon receipt of a notification of a vacancy, the state party central committee notified pursuant to subsection (3) has 30 days to forward to the governor a list of three prospective appointees, each of whom must be a resident of the district represented by the former incumbent.

     (b) If the governor does not select an appointee from the list forwarded pursuant to subsection (4)(a) within 15 days, the central committee shall, within 15 days, forward a second list of three prospective appointees, each of whom must be a resident of the district represented by the former incumbent. The second list may not contain a name submitted on the first list. Within 15 days of receipt of the second list, the governor shall select an appointee from either list.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 46.  Presiding officer of commission. A presiding officer must be selected by the commission from its membership at the first meeting of each year after a general election.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 47.  Conduct of commission business. (1) The commission shall hold sessions at times and places in this state as may be expedient. A majority of the commission constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

     (2) The members of the commission may administer oaths and affirmations.

     (3) The commission may adopt rules to govern its proceedings and to regulate the mode and manner of all investigations and hearings concerning parties before it.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 48.  Priorities for school district projects -- procedure -- rulemaking. (1) The commission:

     (a) shall assess the educational needs and costs related to the operation of public elementary and secondary schools for costs that were traditionally funded by property taxes before the passage of [this act];

     (b) shall seek input from representatives from the board of public education, the office of public instruction, the governor's office, professional educators, school trustees, and members of the public;

     (c) must receive proposals for school district projects from school districts;

     (d) shall prepare and submit a list containing the recommended projects and the recommended form and amount of financial assistance for each project to the legislature, prioritized pursuant to subsection (3), after taking into consideration the amount of money projected to be available in the school infrastructure needs assessment account provided for in [section 53].

     (2) Before making recommendations to the legislature, the commission may adjust the ranking of projects by giving priority to projects that solve urgent and serious public health or safety problems of a school district.

     (3) In preparing recommendations under subsection (1), preference must be given to projects based on the following order of priority:

     (a) projects that solve urgent and serious public health or safety problems or that enable school districts to meet state or federal health or safety standards;

     (b) projects that reflect greater need for financial assistance than other projects;

     (c) projects that incorporate appropriate, cost-effective technical design and that provide thorough, long-term solutions to school district needs;

     (d) projects that enable school districts to obtain funds from sources other than the funds provided by the state; and

     (e) projects that are high local priorities and have strong community support.

     (4) The commission shall report to each regular session of the legislature on the status of all school district projects that have not been completed in order for the legislature to review each project's status and determine whether the authorized grant should be withdrawn.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 49.  Reimbursement for expenses. The commission and its staff are entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses, as provided for in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503. Expenditures must be sworn to by the person who incurred the expenses and be approved by the presiding officer of the commission or the presiding officer's designee.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 50.  Funding of commission. All expenses of the commission must be paid out of the state general fund.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 51.  Removal or suspension of commissioner. If a commissioner fails to perform the commissioner's duties as provided in [sections 41 through 54], the commissioner may be removed from office as provided by 45-7-401. Upon complaint made and good cause shown, the governor may suspend any commissioner, and if, in the governor's judgment the exigencies of the case require, the governor may appoint temporarily some competent person to perform the duties of the suspended commissioner during the period of the suspension.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 52.  Commission recordkeeping and employment of personnel. (1) The commission shall keep a full and complete record of all its proceedings and preserve at the office of the commission all documents and papers entrusted to its care.

     (2) The commission may appoint employees and consultants necessary to carry out the provisions of [sections 41 through 54].

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 53.  School infrastructure needs assessment account. (1) There is a school infrastructure needs assessment account in the state special revenue fund provided for in 17-2-102.

     (2) All money allocated under 15-68-820(1)(c) must be deposited in the account.

     (3) Money in the account may be appropriated by the legislature to provide state government funding for school district projects and social needs of a community that were previously funded by property taxes before the enactment of [this act].

     (4) The school infrastructure needs assessment commission shall make recommendations to the legislature regarding funding for new proposals as provided in [section 48].

     (5) Subject to legislative appropriation, the superintendent of public instruction shall make distributions from this account to fund projects that were approved by the legislature.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 54.  State assumption of all bonded indebtedness of school districts. The state of Montana assumes all existing bonded indebtedness of school districts as of July 1, 2017. The state shall provide to any district with bonded indebtedness sufficient revenue to pay principal and interest due on existing bonds. A district receiving revenue under this section shall establish a debt service account.

 

     Section 55.  Section 1-2-112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "1-2-112.  Statutes imposing new local government duties. (1) As provided in subsection (3), a law enacted by the legislature that requires a local government unit to perform an activity or provide a service or facility that requires the direct expenditure of additional funds and that is not expected of local governments in the scope of their usual operations must provide a specific means to finance the activity, service, or facility other than a mill levy. Any law that fails to provide a specific means to finance any activity, service, or facility is not effective until specific means of financing are provided by the legislature from state or federal funds.

     (2)  Subsequent legislation may not be considered to supersede or modify any provision of this section by implication. Subsequent legislation may supersede or modify the provisions of this section if the legislation does so expressly.

     (3)  The mandates that the legislature is required to fund under subsection (1) are legislatively imposed requirements that are not necessary for the operation of local governments but that provide a valuable service or benefit to Montana citizens, including but not limited to:

     (a)  entitlement mandates that provide that certain classes of citizens may receive specific benefits;

     (b)  membership mandates that require local governments to join specific organizations, such as waste districts or a national organization of regulators; and

     (c)  service level mandates requiring local governments to meet certain minimum standards.

     (4)  Subsection (1) does not apply to:

     (a)  mandates that are required of local governments as a matter of constitutional law or federal statute or that are considered necessary for the operation of local governments, including but not limited to:

     (i)  due process mandates;

     (ii) equal treatment mandates;

     (iii) local government ethics mandates;

     (iv) personnel and employment mandates;

     (v)  recordkeeping requirements; or

     (vi) mandates concerning the organizational structure of local governments;

     (b)  any law under which the required expenditure of additional local funds is an insubstantial amount that can be readily absorbed into the budget of an existing program. A required expenditure of the equivalent of approximately 1 mill levied on taxable property of the local government unit or $10,000, whichever is less, may be considered an insubstantial amount.

     (c)  a law necessary to implement the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, Public Law 103-31."

 

     Section 56.  Section 1-2-113, MCA, is amended to read:

     "1-2-113.  Statutes imposing new duties on a school district to provide means of financing. (1) Any law enacted by the legislature that requires a school district to perform an activity or provide a service or facility and that will require the direct expenditure of additional funds must provide a specific means to finance the activity, service, or facility other than the existing property tax mill levy. Any law that fails to provide a specific means to finance the service or facility is not effective until a specific means of financing meeting the requirements of subsection (2) is provided by the legislature.

     (2)  Financing must be by means of a remission of money by the state for the purpose of funding the activity, service, or facility. Financing must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual cost of performing the activity or providing the service or facility.

     (3)  Legislation passed and approved may not supersede or modify any provision of this section, except to the extent that the legislation expressly does so.

     (4)  This section does not apply to any law under which the required expenditure of additional funds by the board of trustees is an insubstantial amount that can be readily absorbed into the budget of an existing program."

 

     Section 57.  Section 2-2-121, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-2-121.  Rules of conduct for public officers and public employees. (1) Proof of commission of any act enumerated in subsection (2) is proof that the actor has breached a public duty.

     (2)  A public officer or a public employee may not:

     (a)  subject to subsection (7), use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds for the officer's or employee's private business purposes;

     (b)  engage in a substantial financial transaction for the officer's or employee's private business purposes with a person whom the officer or employee inspects or supervises in the course of official duties;

     (c)  assist any person for a fee or other compensation in obtaining a contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from the officer's or employee's agency;

     (d)  assist any person for a contingent fee in obtaining a contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from any agency;

     (e)  perform an official act directly and substantially affecting to its economic benefit a business or other undertaking in which the officer or employee either has a substantial financial interest or is engaged as counsel, consultant, representative, or agent; or

     (f)  solicit or accept employment, or engage in negotiations or meetings to consider employment, with a person whom the officer or employee regulates in the course of official duties without first giving written notification to the officer's or employee's supervisor and department director.

     (3)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (3)(b), a public officer or public employee may not use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to solicit support for or opposition to any political committee, the nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of a ballot issue unless the use is:

     (i)  authorized by law; or

     (ii) properly incidental to another activity required or authorized by law, such as the function of an elected public officer, the officer's staff, or the legislative staff in the normal course of duties.

     (b)  As used in this subsection (3), "properly incidental to another activity required or authorized by law" does not include any activities related to solicitation of support for or opposition to the nomination or election of a person to public office or political committees organized to support or oppose a candidate or candidates for public office. With respect to ballot issues, properly incidental activities are restricted to:

     (i)  the activities of a public officer, the public officer's staff, or legislative staff related to determining the impact of passage or failure of a ballot issue on state or local government operations;

     (ii) in the case of a school district, as defined in Title 20, chapter 6, compliance with the requirements of law governing public meetings of the local board of trustees, including the resulting dissemination of information by a board of trustees or a school superintendent or a designated employee in a district with no superintendent in support of or opposition to a bond issue or levy submitted to the electors. Public funds may not be expended for any form of commercial advertising in support of or opposition to a bond issue or levy submitted to the electors.

     (c)  This subsection (3) is not intended to restrict the right of a public officer or public employee to express personal political views.

     (d)  (i) If the public officer or public employee is a Montana highway patrol chief or highway patrol officer appointed under Title 44, chapter 1, the term "equipment" as used in this subsection (3) includes the chief's or officer's official highway patrol uniform.

     (ii) A Montana highway patrol chief's or highway patrol officer's title may not be referred to in the solicitation of support for or opposition to any political committee, the nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of a ballot issue.

     (4)  (a) A candidate, as defined in 13-1-101(8)(a), may not use or permit the use of state funds for any advertisement or public service announcement in a newspaper, on radio, or on television that contains the candidate's name, picture, or voice except in the case of a state or national emergency and then only if the announcement is reasonably necessary to the candidate's official functions.

     (b)  A state officer may not use or permit the use of public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to produce, print, or broadcast any advertisement or public service announcement in a newspaper, on radio, or on television that contains the state officer's name, picture, or voice except in the case of a state or national emergency if the announcement is reasonably necessary to the state officer's official functions or in the case of an announcement directly related to a program or activity under the jurisdiction of the office or position to which the state officer was elected or appointed.

     (5)  A public officer or public employee may not participate in a proceeding when an organization, other than an organization or association of local government officials, of which the public officer or public employee is an officer or director is:

     (a)  involved in a proceeding before the employing agency that is within the scope of the public officer's or public employee's job duties; or

     (b)  attempting to influence a local, state, or federal proceeding in which the public officer or public employee represents the state or local government.

     (6)  A public officer or public employee may not engage in any activity, including lobbying, as defined in 5-7-102, on behalf of an organization, other than an organization or association of local government officials, of which the public officer or public employee is a member while performing the public officer's or public employee's job duties. The provisions of this subsection do not prohibit a public officer or public employee from performing charitable fundraising activities if approved by the public officer's or public employee's supervisor or authorized by law.

     (7)  A listing by a public officer or a public employee in the electronic directory provided for in 30-17-101 of any product created outside of work in a public agency is not in violation of subsection (2)(a) of this section. The public officer or public employee may not make arrangements for the listing in the electronic directory during work hours.

     (8)  A department head or a member of a quasi-judicial or rulemaking board may perform an official act notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2)(e) if participation is necessary to the administration of a statute and if the person complies with the disclosure procedures under 2-2-131.

     (9)  Subsection (2)(d) does not apply to a member of a board, commission, council, or committee unless the member is also a full-time public employee.

     (10) Subsections (2)(b) and (2)(e) do not prevent a member of the governing body of a local government from performing an official act when the member's participation is necessary to obtain a quorum or to otherwise enable the body to act. The member shall disclose the interest creating the appearance of impropriety prior to performing the official act."

 

     Section 58.  Section 2-7-514, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-7-514.  Filing of audit report and financial report. (1) Completed audit reports must be filed with the department. Completed financial reports must be filed with the department as provided in 2-7-503(1). The state superintendent of public instruction shall file with the department a list of school districts subject to audit under 2-7-503(3). The list must be filed with the department within 6 months after the close of the fiscal year.

     (2)  At the time that the financial report is filed or, in the case of a school district, when the audit report is filed with the department, the local government entity shall pay to the department a filing fee. The department shall charge a filing fee to any local government entity required to have an audit under 2-7-503, which fee must be based upon the costs incurred by the department in the administration of this part. Notwithstanding the provisions of 20-9-343, the The filing fees for school districts required by this section must be paid by the office of public instruction. The department shall adopt the fee schedule by rule based upon the local government entities' revenue amounts.

     (3)  Copies of the completed audit and financial reports must be made available by the department and the local government entity for public inspection during regular office hours."

 

     Section 59.  Section 2-9-212, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-9-212.  Political subdivision tax levy supplemental funding to pay contributions. (1) Subject to 15-10-420 and subsection (2) of this section, a political subdivision, except for a school district, may levy an annual property tax in the amount necessary to fund the contribution for insurance, deductible reserve fund, and self-insurance reserve fund as authorized in this section and to pay the principal and interest on bonds or notes issued pursuant to 2-9-211(5).

     (2)(1)  (a) If a political subdivision makes contributions for group benefits under 2-18-703, the amount in excess of the base contribution as determined under 2-18-703(4)(c) for group benefits under 2-18-703 is not subject to the mill levy calculation limitation provided for in 15-10-420 must be requested from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]. Levies implemented under this section must be calculated separately from the mill levies calculated under 15-10-420 and are not subject to the inflation factor described in 15-10-420(1)(a).

     (i)  Contributions for group benefits paid wholly or in part from user charges generated by proprietary funds, as defined by generally accepted accounting principles, are not included in the amount exempted from the mill levy calculation limitation provided for in 15-10-420.

     (ii) If tax-billing software is capable, the county treasurer shall list separately the cumulative mill levy or dollar amount on the tax notice sent to each taxpayer under 15-16-101(2). The amount must also be reported to the department of administration pursuant to 7-6-4003. The mill levy must be described as the permissive medical levy.

     (b)  Each year prior to implementing a levy requesting funding under subsection (2)(a) (1)(a), after notice of the hearing given under 7-1-2121 or 7-1-4127, a public hearing must be held regarding any proposed increases the request.

     (c)  A levy under this section in the previous year may not be included in the amount of property taxes that a governmental entity is authorized to levy for the purposes of determining the amount that the governmental entity may assess under the provisions of 15-10-420(1)(a). When a levy under this section decreases or is no longer levied, the revenue may not be combined with the revenue determined in 15-10-420(1)(a).

     (3)(2)  (a) For the purposes of this section, "group benefits" means group hospitalization, health, medical, surgical, life, and other similar and related group benefits provided to officers and employees of political subdivisions, including flexible spending account benefits and payments in lieu of group benefits.

     (b)  The term does not include casualty insurance as defined in 33-1-206, marine insurance as authorized in 33-1-209 and 33-1-221 through 33-1-229, property insurance as defined in 33-1-210, surety insurance as defined in 33-1-211, and title insurance as defined in 33-1-212."

 

     Section 60.  Section 2-9-316, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-9-316.  Judgments against governmental entities. A political subdivision of the state shall satisfy a final judgment or settlement out of funds that may be available from the following sources:

     (1)  insurance;

     (2)  the general fund or any other funds legally available to the governing body;

     (3) a property tax, otherwise properly authorized by law, collected by a special levy authorized by law, in an amount necessary to pay any unpaid portion of the judgment or settlement;

     (4)(3)  proceeds from the sale of bonds issued by a county, city, or school district for the purpose of deriving revenue for the payment of the judgment or settlement liability. The governing body of a county, city, or school district may issue bonds pursuant to procedures established by law. Property taxes may be levied to amortize the bonds."

 

     Section 61.  Section 2-16-117, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-16-117.  Office hours. (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, state executive branch offices must be open for the transaction of business continuously from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day except on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Each office must also be open at other times as the accommodation of the public or the proper transaction of business requires.

     (2)  The state treasurer may, in the interest of safekeeping funds, securities, and records, close the state treasurer's office from noon to 1 p.m. each day.

     (3)  The Montana historical society, established in 22-3-101, may be open for public visitation at hours other than those prescribed in this section, including hours during evenings and weekends.

     (4)  The department of revenue may establish alternative office hours for its offices located in the various counties if:

     (a)  the office is staffed by four or fewer full-time employees;

     (b)  the department holds a public hearing on the alternative office hours in the county seat after providing public notice in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county at least 2 weeks prior to the hearing;

     (c)  the county commissioners of a county in which the department employees are located in a county building approve the proposed alternative office hours if the alternative hours are outside of the county's normal business hours;

     (d)  the alternative office hours are adopted by administrative rule; and

     (e)  the office hours adopted pursuant to subsection (4)(d) are published at least two times a year in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county where the office is located."

 

     Section 62.  Section 2-18-703, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-18-703.  Contributions. (1) Each agency, as defined in 2-18-601, and the state compensation insurance fund shall contribute the amount specified in this section toward the group benefits cost.

     (2)  (a) For employees defined in 2-18-701 and for members of the legislature, the employer contribution for group benefits is $887 a month from January 2015 through December 2015, $976 a month from January 2016 through December 2016, and $1,054 a month from January 2017 through December 2017.

     (b)  For employees defined in 2-18-701 and for members of the legislature, beginning January 2018 and for each succeeding month, the cost of group benefits, including both the employer and employee contributions for group benefits and health flexible spending accounts, may not exceed the monthly amount for self-only coverage and coverage other than self-only that will trigger the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I, including any cost-of-living adjustments under 26 U.S.C. 4980I. This section limits contributions for group benefits only to the extent needed to avoid triggering the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I.

     (c)  For employees of the Montana university system, the employer contribution for group benefits is $887 a month from July 2014 through June 2016 and $1,054 a month from July 2016 through the earlier of:

     (i)  June 2018; or

     (ii) the month before the first month in which the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I applies.

     (d)  For employees of the Montana university system, beginning the earlier of July 2018 or the first month in 2018 in which the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I applies, and for each succeeding month, the cost of group benefits, including both the employer and employee contributions for group benefits and health flexible spending accounts, may not exceed the monthly amount for self-only coverage and coverage other than self-only that will trigger the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I, including any cost-of-living adjustments under 26 U.S.C. 4980I. This section limits contributions for group benefits only to the extent needed to avoid triggering the excise tax under 26 U.S.C. 4980I.

     (e)  If a state employee is terminated to achieve a reduction in force, the continuation of contributions for group benefits beyond the termination date is subject to negotiation under 39-31-305 and to the protections of 2-18-1205. Permanent part-time, seasonal part-time, and temporary part-time employees who are regularly scheduled to work less than 20 hours a week are not eligible for the group benefit contribution. An employee who elects not to be covered by a state-sponsored group benefit plan may not receive the state contribution. A portion of the employer contribution for group benefits may be applied to an employee's costs for participation in Part B of medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, as amended, if the state group benefit plan is the secondary payer and medicare the primary payer.

     (3)  For employees of elementary and high school districts, the employer's contributions may exceed but may not be less than $10 a month.

     (4)  (a) For employees of political subdivisions, as defined in 2-9-101, except school districts, the employer's contributions may exceed but may not be less than $10 a month.

     (b) Subject to the public hearing requirement provided in 2-9-212(2)(b), the The amount in excess of the base contribution of a local government's property tax levy for contributions for group benefits as determined in subsection (4)(c) is not subject to the mill levy calculation limitation provided for in 15-10-420 sales and use tax revenue received under [section 1] must be requested from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (c)  (i) Subject to subsections (4)(c)(ii) and (4)(c)(iii), the base contribution is determined by multiplying the average annual contribution for each employee on July 1, 1999, times the number of employees for whom the employer makes contributions for group benefits under 2-9-212 on July 1 of each fiscal year.

     (ii) If a political subdivision did not make contributions for group benefits on or before July 1, 1999, and subsequently does so, the base contribution is determined by multiplying the average annual contribution for each employee in the first year the political subdivision provides contributions for group benefits times the number of employees for whom the employer makes contributions for group benefits under 2-9-212 on July 1 of each fiscal year.

     (iii) If a political subdivision has made contributions for group benefits but has not previously levied for contributions in excess of the base contribution, the political subdivision's base is determined by multiplying the average annual contribution for each employee at the beginning of the fiscal year immediately preceding the year in which the levy will first be levied times the number of employees for whom the employer made contributions for group benefits under 2-9-212 in that fiscal year.

     (5)  Unused employer contributions for any state employee must be transferred to an account established for this purpose by the department of administration and upon transfer may be used to offset losses occurring to the group of which the employee is eligible to be a member.

     (6)  Unused employer contributions for any government employee may be transferred to an account established for this purpose by a self-insured government and upon transfer may be used to offset losses occurring to the group of which the employee is eligible to be a member or to increase the reserves of the group.

     (7)  The laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of marital status in Title 49 do not prohibit bona fide group insurance plans from providing greater or additional contributions for insurance benefits to employees with dependents than to employees without dependents or with fewer dependents."

 

     Section 63.  Section 7-1-112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-1-112.  Powers requiring delegation. A (1) Subject to subsection (2), a local government with self-government powers is prohibited the exercise of the following powers unless the power is specifically delegated by law:

     (1)(a)  the power to authorize a tax on income, property, or the sale of goods or services, except that, subject to 15-10-420, this section may not be construed to limit the authority of a local government to levy any other tax or establish the rate of any other tax;

     (2)(b)  the power to regulate private activity beyond its geographic limits;

     (3)(c)  the power to impose a duty on another unit of local government, except that nothing in this limitation affects the right of a self-government unit to enter into and enforce an agreement on interlocal cooperation;

     (4)(d)  the power to exercise any judicial function, except as an incident to the exercise of an independent self-government administrative power;

     (5)(e)  the power to regulate any form of gambling, lotteries, or gift enterprises.

     (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a local government with self-government powers is prohibited from imposing any tax or assessment on property after [the effective date of this act] except for statewide levies on taxable property under Title 15, chapter 10, part 1."

 

     Section 64.  Section 7-1-114, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-1-114.  Mandatory provisions. (1) A local government with self-government powers is subject to the following provisions:

     (a)  all state laws providing for the incorporation or disincorporation of cities and towns, for the annexation, disannexation, or exclusion of territory from a city or town, for the creation, abandonment, or boundary alteration of counties, and for city-county consolidation;

     (b)  Title 7, chapter 3, part 1;

     (c)  all laws establishing legislative procedures or requirements for units of local government;

     (d)  all laws regulating the election of local officials;

     (e)  all laws that require or regulate planning or zoning;

     (f)  any law directing or requiring a local government or any officer or employee of a local government to carry out any function or provide any service;

     (g)  except as provided in subsection (3), any law regulating the budget, finance, or borrowing procedures and powers of local governments;

     (h)  Title 70, chapters 30 and 31.

     (2)  These provisions are a prohibition on the self-government unit acting other than as provided.

     (3)  (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)(g) and except as provided in subsection (3)(b), self-governing local government units are not subject to the mill levy limits established by state law.

     (b)  The provisions of 15-10-420 apply to self-governing local government units."

 

     Section 65.  Section 7-1-2103, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-1-2103.  County powers. (1) A county has power to:

     (1)(a)  sue and be sued;

     (2)(b)  purchase and hold lands within its limits;

     (3)(c)  make contracts and purchase and hold personal property that may be necessary to the exercise of its powers;

     (4)(d)  make orders for the disposition or use of its property that the interests of its inhabitants require;

     (5)(e)  subject to 15-10-420, levy and collect taxes authorized by state law for public or governmental purposes, as described in 7-6-2527, under its exclusive jurisdiction unless prohibited by law.

     (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a county is prohibited from imposing any tax or assessment on property after [the effective date of this act] except for statewide levies on taxable property under Title 15, chapter 10, part 1."

 

     Section 66.  Section 7-1-4123, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-1-4123.  Legislative powers. (1) A municipality with general powers has the legislative power, subject to the provisions of state law, to adopt, amend, and repeal ordinances and resolutions required to:

     (1)(a)  preserve peace and order and secure freedom from dangerous or noxious activities;

     (2)(b)  secure and promote the general public health and welfare;

     (3)(c)  provide any service or perform any function authorized or required by state law;

     (4)(d)  exercise any power granted by state law;

     (5)(e)  subject to 15-10-420, levy any tax authorized by state law for public or governmental purposes as described in 7-6-2527;

     (6)(f)  appropriate public funds;

     (7)(g)  impose a special assessment reasonably related to the cost of any special service or special benefit provided by the municipality or impose a fee for the provision of a service;

     (8)(h)  grant franchises; and

     (9)(i)  provide for its own organization and the management of its affairs.

     (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a local government with self-government powers is prohibited from imposing any tax or assessment on property after [the effective date of this act]."

 

     Section 67.  Section 7-2-2730, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2730.  Establishment of special warrant district or special funding bond district in continuing county. (1) After all warrants have been drawn and issued against the funds of the adjoining county, referred to in 7-2-2729, to pay the claims and demands existing against the adjoining county on the date when the territory of the abandoned and abolished county was attached to the adjoining county, all money in the funds of the adjoining county must be used and applied in payment of the warrants drawn against its respective funds. If that money is not sufficient to pay all of the warrants, with the interest on the warrants, then the board of county commissioners shall make an order creating a special warrant district and shall include within the district all of the territory of the adjoining county but may not include in the district any of the territory of the abandoned and abolished county. The board of county commissioners shall, subject to 15-10-420, at the time of making levies for county purposes, levy a special tax against all taxable property in the district request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] to pay the warrants, with interest on the warrants, outstanding against the funds of the adjoining county. The board may extend the tax levy over a period of not more than 3 years.

     (2)  (a) If it appears to the board that it will require too large a tax levy to pay the warrant indebtedness, with interest, within 3 years, the board, instead of creating a special warrant district, shall create and establish a special funding bond district and shall include within the boundaries of the district all of the territory within the adjoining county but may not include in the district any of the territory of the abandoned and abolished county attached to the adjoining county. After all money in the several funds of the adjoining county applicable to payment of the warrants has been applied in payment of the outstanding warrants and interest on the warrants, the board may issue bonds in an amount sufficient to pay and redeem all warrants remaining outstanding, with interest on the warrants. An election is not required to issue the bonds.

     (b)  The bonds must be issued in the name of the adjoining county and must contain recitals to the effect that the principal and interest of the bonds will be paid by tax levies against the property situated within the boundaries of the adjoining county as the boundaries existed before the territory of the abandoned and abolished county was attached to the adjoining county and that none of the property within the territory of the abandoned and abolished county will be subjected to the levies. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the bonds must be issued and sold and tax levies must be fixed and made to pay the principal and interest on the bonds in the manner provided by 7-7-107, 7-7-108, 7-7-123, 7-7-124, 7-7-2104, 7-7-2106, and parts 22 and 23 of chapter 7, as far as applicable, apply to the bonds.

     (3)  For the purposes of 15-10-420, the adjoining county and the abandoned and abolished county are considered separate taxing jurisdictions with relation to the warrants or bonds described in this section."

 

     Section 68.  Section 7-2-2745, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2745.  Procedure if insufficient funds -- special warrant district or special funding bond district. (1) After all warrants have been drawn and issued against the funds of an abandoned and abolished county under the provisions of 7-2-2724 and 7-2-2741, if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the board of county commissioners of the county designated in the petition for abandonment as the county to which the territory of the abandoned and abolished county is to be attached and made a part that the money in the several funds of such abandoned and abolished county, together with all money which may be received for such funds from the payment and collection of delinquent taxes, unpaid licenses, and other sources owing to such abandoned and abolished county, will be insufficient to pay all outstanding and unpaid warrants issued and drawn against such funds, then the board of such county shall make an order creating a special warrant district and shall include within such district all of the territory embraced within the boundaries of the abandoned and abolished county at the time it ceased to exist.

     (2)  If it shall appear to the satisfaction of the board that a tax levy sufficient to pay such warrants and interest, when spread over a term of 3 years, will be too great a hardship on and too burdensome to the taxpayers owning property within the boundaries of such abandoned and abolished county, said board, instead of creating such special warrant district, shall create and establish a special funding bond district and shall include within the boundaries thereof all of the territory embraced within the boundaries of such abandoned and abolished district at the time it ceased to exist request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 69.  Section 7-2-2746, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2746.  Details relating to special warrant district. (1) The board of county commissioners creating a special warrant district shall, at the time of making and fixing tax levies for county purposes, subject to 15-10-420, make and fix a levy against all taxable property within the special warrant district for the payment of the warrants and the interest on the warrants may request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]. The proceeds of the levy from the state, when collected, must be deposited by the county treasurer in a separate fund that must be used for the payment of the warrants and interest on the warrants.

     (2)  The tax levy is not required to be made at a rate that will pay all of the warrants, with interest, in 1 year, but if the board considers it in the best interests of the taxpayers owning property within the special warrant district, the levy may be spread over a term of not more than 3 years."

 

     Section 70.  Section 7-2-2747, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2747.  Details relating to special funding bond district. (1) The board of county commissioners and the county clerk of the county to which the territory of such abandoned and abolished county has been attached and made a part shall be, respectively, the board of trustees and the clerk of a special funding bond district created pursuant to 7-2-2745(2), and the county treasurer shall act as the treasurer thereof. The board of trustees shall adopt an appropriate seal for such district.

     (2)  (a) After such district has been created and established, the board of trustees shall direct the county treasurer to use and apply all money in the several funds of the abandoned and abolished county, except money in any bond sinking and interest funds, to the payment of warrants issued and outstanding against such funds, with the interest thereon. Said board of trustees shall thereupon issue and sell bonds of such special funding bond district in an amount sufficient to pay all warrants against such funds remaining outstanding and unpaid, with the interest thereon. The proceeds derived from the sale of such bonds shall be used for such purpose and no other.

     (b)  All sales and use tax revenue received and taxes levied for the payment of the principal and interest of such bonds, all taxes levied by the abandoned and abolished county for all of its funds (except bond sinking and interest funds) delinquent at the time such county ceased to exist, and all money owing to such abandoned and abolished county from all other sources shall be, when collected, paid into a special sinking and interest fund and used for the purpose of paying the principal and interest of such bonds and for no other purpose."

 

     Section 71.  Section 7-2-2749, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2749.  Payment of outstanding bonds of abandoned county. (1) If any abandoned and abolished county shall have any bonds outstanding and unpaid at the time it ceases to exist, the territory within the boundaries of such county as they existed when such county so ceased to exist shall constitute a special district for the payment thereof. The board of county commissioners of the county designated in the petition for abandonment as the county to which the territory of such county is to be attached and made a part shall annually levy a tax against all taxable property in such taxing district request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] sufficient to pay the interest and principal of such bonds as the same become due, and all of the provisions of 7-7-107, 7-7-108, 7-7-123, 7-7-124, 7-7-2104, 7-7-2106, and parts 22 and 23 of chapter 7 shall apply to, govern, and control the levying and collection of such taxes and the payment of interest and principal thereof by the boards and officers of the county within which such district is situated.

     (2)  Any and all money in any bond sinking and interest funds of such abandoned and abolished county, when transmitted and paid over to the treasurer of the county to which the territory of such abandoned and abolished county has been attached, shall be credited to and deposited in a sinking and interest fund. All sales and use tax revenue received and all taxes levied for the payment of such bonds and interest and delinquent at the time such county ceased to exist, all taxes levied for such sinking and interest fund in accordance with the provisions of 7-2-2742 through 7-2-2750, and all other money coming to the hands of such county treasurer for the use or benefit of such abandoned county, when not required for any other purposes under the provisions of this part, shall be deposited to the credit of such sinking and interest fund and used for the payment of the principal and interest of such bonds and for no other purpose."

 

     Section 72.  Section 7-2-2751, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2751.  Disposition of money of abandoned district. If, after all warrants issued and drawn by an abandoned and abolished district during its existence against its several funds and all warrants drawn and issued against said funds under the provisions of 7-2-2724 and 7-2-2741 have been fully paid, with the interest thereon:

     (1)  any balance remains in such funds, such balance, with any and all money thereafter accruing to any of such funds from the collection of delinquent taxes, unpaid licenses, and from other sources shall be deposited:

     (a)  to the credit of any special sinking and interest fund for the payment of district funding bonds issued under the provisions of 7-2-2745(2), 7-2-2747, and 7-2-2748; and

     (b)  if there be no such fund, then to the credit of any bond sinking and interest fund under 7-2-2749 and 7-2-2750; and

     (2)  after all warrants issued and drawn against any of such funds with the interest thereon, and all district funding bonds issued under the provisions of 7-2-2745(2), 7-2-2747, and 7-2-2748 and all bonds referred to in 7-2-2749 have been fully paid, then any balance remaining in any of such funds and all money accruing to any or all of such funds thereafter from any and all sources shall be deposited to the credit of such funds of the county designated in the petition for abandonment as the county to which the territory of the abandoned and abolished county has been attached and made a part, as its board of county commissioners may direct."

 

     Section 73.  Section 7-2-2759, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2759.  Distribution of money derived from acquired property. (1) Money received from leases or sales of real or personal property by any county other than the county designated in the petition for abandonment as the county to which the territory of the abandoned county is to be allocated shall be transmitted by the officers of such county to the treasurer of the county designated in such petition for abandonment.

     (2)  All money received from the sale of personal property and from the leasing or sale of real estate, after deducting therefrom the amounts paid appraisers and for publishing notices of sale, shall be used and applied as follows:

     (a)  if there are any warrants issued and outstanding against any of the funds of the abandoned and abolished county, such money shall be applied in payment of such warrants and interest;

     (b)  if there are no warrants outstanding but district bonds have been issued under the provisions of 7-2-2745(2), 7-2-2747, and 7-2-2748, then the money shall be deposited in the sinking and interest fund for district bonds;

     (c)  if there are no district bonds outstanding, then the money shall be deposited to the credit of the sinking and interest funds for bonds issued and outstanding when the abandoned and abolished county ceased to exist; and

     (d)  if there are no bonds outstanding, then the money shall be apportioned to all of the counties to which parts of the abandoned county were attached in the proportion which the taxable value of the property in each part on January 1 immediately preceding the abandonment bears to the taxable value of all the property in the abandoned county, and the apportioned money shall be deposited in the funds of each county as the boards of county commissioners of the counties may direct."

 

     Section 74.  Section 7-2-2807, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-2807.  Transfer of certified copies -- costs to be reimbursed -- tax levy authorized. (1) Upon a resolution adopted as provided in 7-2-2806, the county clerk in the county from which property will be transferred shall prepare certified copies of the indexes to recorded documents maintained by the county clerk pursuant to 7-4-2619.

     (2)  (a) The clerk shall contract with a land title company that maintains a geographical tract index of the recorded documents in the county to prepare an abstract of the property to be transferred. The abstract must include deeds, mortgages, assignments of mortgages, leases, mining claims, and any other documents recorded from the date that the county was created to the date of the boundary change implementation as provided in 7-2-2806.

     (b)  The land title company with which the clerk contracts must be a member in good standing of the Montana land title association.

     (3)  The clerk shall certify each copy of the recorded documents included in the abstract and shall transfer all copies of indexes and recorded documents certified pursuant to this section to the county clerk of the county to which the property will be transferred. The clerk of the county to which the property will be transferred shall record the documents pursuant to 7-4-2617 and shall maintain an index of the documents pursuant to 7-4-2619.

     (4)  Actual or customary costs incurred by a county in complying with subsections (1) through (3) must be reimbursed to the county from which certified copies are transferred. Subject to 15-10-420, the The county to which records are transferred may levy a property tax against the property that has been transferred in the amount necessary to reimburse the county that incurred the costs. The property tax levied as provided in this subsection may be collected over a period of up to 5 years request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 75.  Section 7-2-4625, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-4625.  Annexation district. An incorporated city or town may create an annexation district outside of the city or town. Territory may be included in an annexation district only upon an agreement between the city or town and the owner of the property included in a district. The agreement may specify the duration of the district, which may not exceed 10 years. A city or town may provide the services specified in the agreement between the city or town and the property owner to the property in the district. The city or town may impose a tax levy or a fee on the owner of the property within the annexation district based upon the difference between the municipal levy or fee and the nonmunicipal levy or fee. By the end of the period specified in the agreement, the levy or fee must be the full amount that a resident of the city or town would pay in the year that the property is annexed. Unless the agreement provides otherwise, the property in the district is annexed after the period specified in the agreement, and the district is dissolved. A delinquency in a payment by the owner of property in the annexation district is collectible in the same manner that other delinquent taxes or fees are collectible."

 

     Section 76.  Section 7-2-4918, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-4918.  Tax levy Supplemental funding in event of insolvency. (1) If, at any time after the disincorporation of a city or town, there is insufficient money in the treasury to the credit of the special fund provided for in 7-2-4912 with which to pay any indebtedness of the corporation, the board of county commissioners shall, subject to 15-10-420, levy and collect from the territory formerly included within the city or town a tax or taxes sufficient in amount to pay the indebtedness of the corporation as the indebtedness becomes due request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2) The tax or taxes, assessments, and collections must be made in the same manner and at the same time that other taxes of the county are levied and collected and are an additional tax upon the property included within the territory or portions of territory of the disincorporated city or town for the payment of the debts. For the purposes of 15-10-420, the levy is considered a levy on the property in the city or town until the debt is paid.

     (3)(2)  All money paid into the county treasury received from the state under the provisions of this part must be credited to the special fund."

 

     Section 77.  Section 7-3-175, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-175.  Ballot form and question. The question of conducting a local government review and establishing a study commission must be submitted to the electors in substantially the following form:

     Vote for one:

     []  FOR the review of the government of (insert name of local government) and the establishment and funding request from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11], not to exceed (insert dollar or mill amount), of a local government study commission consisting of (insert number of members) members to examine the government of (insert name of local government) and submit recommendations on the government.

     []  AGAINST the review of the government of (insert name of local government) and the establishment and funding request from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11], not to exceed (insert dollar or mill amount), of a local government study commission consisting of (insert number of members) members to examine the government of (insert name of local government) and submit recommendations on the government."

 

     Section 78.  Section 7-3-184, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-184.  Financial administration. (1) A study commission shall prepare a budget for each fiscal year that it is in existence and shall submit it to the local governing body for approval.

     (2)  (a) For the support of the study commission, for each fiscal year that the study commission is in existence, each local government under study shall appropriate an amount necessary to fund the study, and the local government may levy mills in excess of all other mill levies authorized by law to fund the appropriation submit a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the support of the study commission.

     (b)  The local government shall provide office and meeting space and clerical assistance to the study commission. The cost of clerical assistance and other in-kind services provided by the local government may be used to partially fulfill the appropriation provision of subsection (2)(a).

     (c)  The local government may provide additional funds and other assistance.

     (3)  The study commission may apply for and accept available private, state, and federal money and may accept donations from any source.

     (4)  All money received by the study commission must be deposited with the local government finance administrator. The finance administrator is authorized to disburse appropriated money of the study commission on the study commission's order after approval of the budget by the governing body. Unexpended money of the study commission does not revert to the general fund of the local government at the end of the fiscal year but carries over to the study commission's appropriation for the following fiscal year. Upon termination of the study commission, unexpended money reverts to the general fund of the local government."

 

     Section 79.  Section 7-3-1104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-1104.  General powers of consolidated local governments. A consolidated local government has and may exercise all powers that are conferred on counties, cities, or towns by the constitution and laws of the state. Subject to 15-10-420, the consolidated local government may levy all taxes that counties, cities, and towns are authorized to levy."

 

     Section 80.  Section 7-3-1223, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-1223.  Effective date of ordinances. (1) Ordinances making the annual tax levy, ordinances and resolutions providing for local improvements and assessments, and emergency Emergency measures shall take effect at the time indicated therein. All other ordinances and resolutions enacted by the commission shall be in effect from and after 30 days from the date of their passage.

     (2)  When an ordinance proposed by initiative petition is passed by the commission in a changed or amended form and the committee of the petitioners requires that such proposed ordinance be submitted to a vote of the electors, as provided in 7-3-1229, the ordinance as passed by the commission shall not take effect until after such vote, and if the proposed ordinance so submitted be approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, the ordinance as passed by the commission shall be deemed repealed.

     (3)  Ordinances adopted by the electors shall take effect at the time fixed therein or, if no time is specified, 30 days after the adoption thereof."

 

     Section 81.  Section 7-3-1230, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-1230.  Petition for referendum. (1) The electors shall have power to approve or reject at the polls any ordinance passed by the commission except an ordinance making a tax levy or an emergency measure, such power being known as the referendum. Ordinances submitted to the commission and passed by the commission without change or passed in an amended form and not required by the committee of the petitioners to be submitted to a vote of the electors shall be subject to the referendum in the same manner as other ordinances.

     (2)  If, within 30 days after the final passage of an ordinance, a petition signed by 10% of the qualified electors whose names appear on the register of voters on the date when such petition is filed shall be filed with the clerk requesting that the ordinance or any specified part thereof be either repealed or submitted to a vote of the electors, it shall not become operative until the steps indicated herein have been taken. Referendum petitions shall contain the text of the ordinance or part thereof, the repeal of which is sought."

 

     Section 82.  Section 7-3-1313, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-1313.  Special taxing districts for indebtedness existing prior to consolidation. (1) A district comprised within the boundaries of any city, town, or district existing within the county at the time of the adoption of part 12 and this part by the electors of the consolidated government is, for the purpose of paying the interest and principal of any debt incurred by the city, town, or district prior to the adoption of the consolidated government, continued as a special district until the debt has been paid. Subject to 15-10-420, the The commission shall, in the annual tax levy ordinance, levy upon the property within each district a tax, in addition to all other taxes, request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] that the director of finance reports to be necessary to provide for paying the interest on each debt as it falls due and the principal of the debt as it matures, and no other property within the municipality is taxable or liable for the payment of any district debt.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, the commission shall provide in the annual tax levy ordinance adopted for the levy of a tax upon all property within the municipality that the director of finance reports to be necessary to provide for paying the interest as it falls due and the principal as it matures of any debt of the municipality as a whole.

     (3)  The tax levy for the debt of the municipality as a whole and the tax levy for the debt of each district must be a separate levy and must be distinct from and in addition to all other tax levies. The proceeds of each tax levy must be placed in a separate fund for the payment of the interest and principal of the debt for which the tax was levied, and the fund may not be used for any other purpose."

 

     Section 83.  Section 7-3-4312, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-4312.  Effect of organization of communities into single municipal district. (1) Whenever any group of communities becomes a single municipal district under the provisions of this part, the commissioners elected at the first election have the same functions and authority and municipal procedure must be the same as is provided in this part when single communities, cities, or towns adopt the commission-manager form of government. The terms of all municipal officers in any prior city or town that is included in the new municipal district cease and terminate as soon as the commissioners adopt a resolution terminating the terms, and the corporate functions and existence of any prior municipal corporation may be terminated by the commissioners when the need for the further existence of the prior corporation has ended.

     (2)  Whenever any group of communities, including one or more incorporated cities or towns, becomes a single municipal district under this part, the municipal district has the same name as the principal incorporated city or town in the district.

     (3)  Whenever any group of communities, including one or more incorporated cities or towns, becomes a single municipal district under this part, the corporate property of each city or town becomes the property of the new municipality, but improvements paid for in whole or in part by special assessments upon abutting property within special improvement districts may not be considered municipal property within the meaning of this part to the extent of the special assessment payments. If a prior city or town has an unpaid indebtedness, the commissioners of the new municipality elected at the first municipal election shall inventory and appraise or cause to be inventoried and appraised all of the property, and if the amount of the indebtedness of the prior city or town exceeds the inventory value of the property surrendered to the new municipality by the prior city or town, then the excess of the indebtedness over the inventory value of the property is a charge only against the taxable property within the limits of the prior city or town and, subject to 15-10-420, must be paid by levy upon the property located within the prior city or town."

 

     Section 84.  Section 7-3-4313, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-4313.  Powers of municipalities under commission-manager plan. (1) The inhabitants of any municipality coming under the provisions of this part and part 44, as its limits now are or may hereafter be, shall be a body politic and corporate and have a corporate name and as such shall have perpetual succession and may use a corporate seal. Through its duly elected officers, it may sue and be sued; may acquire property in fee simple or lesser interest or estate by purchase, gift, devise, appropriation, lease, or lease with the privilege to purchase for any municipal purpose; may sell, lease, hold, manage, and control such property and make any and all rules, by ordinance or resolution, which may be required to carry out fully all provisions of any conveyance, deed, or will, in relation to any gift or bequest, or the provisions of any lease by which it may acquire property; may acquire, construct, own, lease, and operate and regulate public utilities; may assess, levy, and collect taxes for general and special purposes on all the subjects or objects which the municipality may lawfully tax; may borrow money on the faith and credit of the municipality by the issue or sale of bonds or notes of the municipality; may appropriate money of the municipality for all lawful purposes; may create, provide for, construct, regulate and maintain all things of nature of public works and improvements; may levy and collect assessments for improvement districts and other local improvements; may license and regulate persons, corporations, and associations engaged in any business, occupation, profession, or trade; may define, prohibit, abate, suppress, and prevent all things detrimental to the health, morals, comfort, safety, convenience, and welfare of the inhabitants of the municipality and all nuisances and the causes thereof; may regulate the construction, height, and the material used in all buildings and the maintenance and occupancy thereof; may regulate and control the use, for whatever purpose, of the streets and other public places; may create, establish, abolish, and organize offices and fix the salaries and compensation of all officers and employees; may make and enforce local sanitary and police and other regulations; and may pass such ordinances as may be expedient for maintaining and promoting peace, good government, and welfare of the municipality and for the performance of the functions thereof.

     (2)  The municipality shall have all powers that now are or hereafter may be granted to municipalities by the constitution or laws of Montana. All such powers, whether expressed or implied, shall be exercised and enforced in the manner prescribed by this part and part 44 or, when not prescribed therein, in such manner as shall be prescribed by the ordinances or resolutions of the commission."

 

     Section 85.  Section 7-4-2504, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-4-2504.  Salaries to be fixed by resolution -- cost-of-living increments. The county governing body shall annually adopt a resolution by the date established in 7-6-4036 the later of the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in September to adjust and uniformly fix the salaries of the county treasurer, county clerk, county assessor, county school superintendent, county sheriff, clerk of district court, county auditor (if there is one), justice of the peace, county coroner, and county surveyor (if the surveyor receives a salary) by adding to the annual salary provided for in 7-4-2503(1) a cost-of-living increment based upon the schedule developed and approved by the county compensation board provided for in 7-4-2503(4)."

 

     Section 86.  Section 7-5-131, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-5-131.  Right of initiative and referendum. (1) The powers of initiative and referendum are reserved to the electors of each local government. Resolutions and ordinances within the legislative jurisdiction and power of the governing body of the local government, except those set out in subsection (2), may be proposed or amended and prior resolutions and ordinances may be repealed in the manner provided in 7-5-132 through 7-5-135 and 7-5-137.

     (2)  The powers of initiative do not extend to the following:

     (a)  the annual budget;

     (b)  bond proceedings, except for ordinances authorizing bonds;

     (c)  the establishment and collection of charges pledged for the payment of principal and interest on bonds;

     (d)  the levy of special assessments pledged for the payment of principal and interest on bonds; or

     (e)(d)  the prioritization of the enforcement of any state law by a unit of local government."

 

     Section 87.  Section 7-6-502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-502.  Levy for juvenile Juvenile detention programs. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, a A local government may impose a levy on the taxable value of all property within its jurisdiction in an amount determined by the governing body submit a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of financing the establishment and operation of juvenile detention programs.

     (2)  Local governments may use the funds derived from a levy authorized in requested pursuant to subsection (1) to contract with other units of local government to purchase services from available juvenile detention programs consistent with the purposes of the levy as stated in subsection (1)."

 

     Section 88.  Section 7-6-621, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-621.  Volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance authorized -- voted levy -- fund. (1) Disability income insurance, as defined in 33-1-235, may be purchased for volunteer firefighters. Disability income insurance purchased under this section is not the same as workers' compensation coverage provided for under 7-33-4510.

     (2)  If the voters have approved a levy funding has been received from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purchase of volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance or workers' compensation coverage, the governing body of a local government entity may establish a volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance account. The governing body may hold money in the account for any time period considered appropriate by the governing body. Money held in the account may not be considered as cash balance for the purpose of reducing mill levies.

     (3)  Money may be expended from the account to purchase disability income insurance coverage or for workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters organized or deployed pursuant to any of the provisions of Title 7, chapter 33, parts 21 through 24 or 41.

     (4)  Money in the account must be invested as provided by law. Interest and income from the investment of money in the account must be credited to the account."

 

     Section 89.  Section 7-6-1502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-1502.  Resort community taxing authority -- specific delegation. As required by 7-1-112, 7-6-1501 through 7-6-1507 7-6-1506 specifically delegate to the qualified electors of each respective resort community the power to authorize their municipality to impose a resort tax within the corporate boundary of the municipality as provided in 7-6-1501 through 7-6-1507 7-6-1506."

 

     Section 90.  Section 7-6-1506, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-1506.  Use of resort community tax revenue -- bond issue -- pledge. (1) Unless otherwise restricted by the voter-approved tax authorization provided for in 7-6-1504, a resort community or a resort area district may appropriate and expend revenue derived from a resort tax for any activity, undertaking, or administrative service that the municipality or resort area district is authorized by law to perform, including costs resulting from the imposition of the tax.

     (2)  A resort community may issue bonds to provide, install, or construct any of the public facilities, improvements, or undertakings authorized under 7-7-4101, 7-7-4404, and 7-12-4102.

     (3)  Bonds issued under this section must be authorized by a resolution of the governing body, stating the terms, conditions, and covenants of the municipality or resort area district as the governing body considers appropriate. The bonds may be sold at a discount at a public or private sale.

     (4)  A resort community may pledge for repayment of bonds issued under this section the revenue derived from a resort tax, special assessments levied for and revenue collected from the facilities, improvements, or undertakings for which the bonds are issued, and any other source of revenue authorized by the legislature to be imposed or collected by the resort community. The bonds do not constitute debt for purposes of any statutory debt limitation, provided that in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds, the municipality determines that the resort tax revenue, special assessments levied for and revenue from the facilities, improvements, or undertakings, or other sources of revenue, if any, pledged to the payment of the bonds will be sufficient in each year to pay the principal and interest on the bonds when due.

     (5)  Bonds may not be issued pledging proceeds of the resort tax for repayment unless the municipality in the resolution authorizing issuance of the bonds determines that in any fiscal year the annual revenue expected to be derived from the resort tax, less the amount required to reduce property taxes pursuant to 7-6-1507, equals at least 125% of the average amount of the principal and interest payable from the resort tax revenue on the bonds and any other outstanding bonds payable from the resort tax except any bonds to be refunded upon the issuance of the proposed bonds."

 

     Section 91.  Section 7-6-2501, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2501.  Authorization for county mill levy funding. Subject to 15-10-420, the The board of county commissioners may levy a tax annually on the taxable property of the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for county public or governmental purposes that is necessary to defray current expenses and may levy taxes that are required to be levied by special or local statutes."

 

     Section 92.  Section 7-6-2511, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2511.  County levy request for funding for certain court expenses. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The governing body of each county may each year levy and collect a tax on the taxable property of the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for certain county district court costs, as provided in subsection (2).

     (2)  District court costs for which a tax may be levied funding may be requested under subsection (1) are the:

     (a)  costs of the office of the clerk of district court;

     (b)  costs of providing office, courtroom, and other space for district court operations under 3-1-125; and

     (c)  contracted costs of supplementing a district court budget, as provided in 3-1-126, if incurred in the discretion of the county commissioners.

     (3)  Costs of the office of the clerk of district court include but are not limited to salary and benefits for clerks of district court, deputy clerks of district court, and other employees of the office of the clerk of district court and expenses of the office.

     (4)  If remaining funds are available after paying the costs provided for in subsection (2), the county commissioners, in their discretion, may use the remaining funds to pay the expenses of the office of county attorney.

     (5)  This section may not be construed as a limitation on the authority or ability of a county or district court to apply for, receive, or administer grants from state, federal, or private funds."

 

     Section 93.  Section 7-6-2512, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2512.  County tax levy funding for health care facilities. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The board of county commissioners may, annually at the time of levying county taxes, fix and levy a tax upon all property within the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] to erect, furnish, equip, expand, improve, maintain, and operate county-owned or county-operated health care facilities created under 7-8-2102, 7-34-2201, and 7-34-2502. "Health care facilities" as used in this section has the meaning as defined in 7-34-2201. If a hospital district is created under Title 7, chapter 34, part 21, the mill levy authorized by this section may not be imposed on property within that hospital district.

     (2)  If a county issues bonds under 7-34-2411 to finance or refinance the costs of a health care facility, the board of county commissioners may covenant to levy the tax authorized by this section request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] during the term of the bonds, to the extent necessary, and to apply the collections of the tax funding to the costs of erecting, furnishing, equipping, expanding, improving, maintaining, and operating the health care facility or facilities of the county or the payment of principal of or interest on the bonds. The pledge of the taxes to the payment of funding for the bonds may not cause the bonds to be considered indebtedness of the county for the purpose of any statutory limitation or restriction. The pledge may be made by the board only upon authorization of a majority of the electors of the county voting on the pledge at a general or special election as provided in 7-34-2414."

 

     Section 94.  Section 7-6-2513, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2513.  County public safety levy funding -- purpose. Subject to 15-10-420, the The board of county commissioners may, annually at the time of levying county taxes, fix and levy a tax on all property within the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of providing for the public safety of citizens. The tax funds must be used to support county law enforcement services and to maintain county detention centers. Money received from the tax must be placed in a special account to be used for the purposes of this section."

 

     Section 95.  Section 7-6-2527, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2527.  Taxation Funding -- public and governmental purposes. A county may impose a property tax levy request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for any public or governmental purpose not specifically prohibited by law. Public and governmental purposes include but are not limited to:

     (1)  district court purposes as provided in 7-6-2511;

     (2)  county-owned or county-operated health care facility purposes as provided in 7-6-2512;

     (3)  county law enforcement services and maintenance of county detention center purposes as provided in 7-6-2513 and search and rescue units as provided in 7-32-235;

     (4)  multijurisdictional service purposes as provided in 7-11-1022;

     (5)  transportation services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities as provided in 7-14-111;

     (6)  support for a port authority as provided in 7-14-1132;

     (7)  county road, bridge, and ferry purposes as provided in 7-14-2101, 7-14-2501, 7-14-2502, 7-14-2503, and 7-14-2801, and 7-14-2807;

     (8)  recreational, educational, and other activities of the elderly as provided in 7-16-101;

     (9)  purposes of county fair activities, parks, cultural facilities, and any county-owned civic center, youth center, recreation center, or recreational complex as provided in 7-16-2102 and 7-16-2109;

     (10) programs for the operation of licensed day-care centers and homes as provided in 7-16-2108 and 7-16-4114;

     (11) support for a museum, facility for the arts and the humanities, collection of exhibits, or a museum district created under provisions of Title 7, chapter 11, part 10, or former Title 7, chapter 16, part 22;

     (12) extension work in agriculture and home economics as provided in 7-21-3203;

     (13) weed control and management purposes as provided in 7-22-2142;

     (14) insect control programs as provided in 7-22-2306;

     (15) fire control as provided in 7-33-2209;

     (16) ambulance service as provided in 7-34-102;

     (17) public health purposes as provided in 50-2-111 and 50-2-114;

     (18) public assistance purposes as provided in 53-3-115;

     (19) indigent assistance purposes as provided in 53-3-116;

     (20) developmental disabilities facilities as provided in 53-20-208;

     (21) mental health services as provided in 53-21-1010;

     (22) airport purposes as provided in 67-10-402 and 67-11-302;

     (23) purebred livestock shows and sales as provided in 81-8-504;

     (24) economic development purposes as provided in 90-5-112;

     (25) prevention programs, including programs that reduce substance abuse; and

     (26) forest or grassland hazardous fuels reduction projects in areas near homes and communities where wildland fire is a threat."

 

     Section 96.  Section 7-6-4020, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-4020.  Preliminary annual operating budget. (1) A preliminary annual operating budget must be prepared for the local government.

     (2)  This part does not provide for the consolidation or reassignment, but does not prohibit delegation by mutual agreement, of any duties of elected county officials.

     (3)  (a) Before June 1 of each year, the county clerk and recorder shall notify the county commission and each board, office, regional resource authority, or official that they are required to file preliminary budget proposals for their component of the total county budget.

     (b)  Component budgets must be submitted to the clerk and recorder before June 10th or on a date designated by the county commission and must be submitted on forms provided by the county clerk and recorder.

     (c)  The county clerk and recorder shall prepare and submit the county's preliminary annual operating budget.

     (d)  Component budget responsibilities as provided in this subsection (3) include but are not limited to the following:

     (i)  The county surveyor or any special engineer shall compute road and bridge component budgets and submit them to the county commission.

     (ii) The county commission shall submit road and bridge component budgets.

     (iii) The county treasurer shall submit debt service component budgets.

     (iv) The county commission shall submit component budgets for construction or improvements to be made from new general obligation debt.

     (4)  The preliminary annual operating budget for each fund must include, at a minimum:

     (a)  a listing of all revenue and other resources for the prior budget year, current budget year, and proposed budget year;

     (b)  a listing of all expenditures for the prior budget year, the current budget year, and the proposed budget year. All expenditures must be classified under one of the following categories:

     (i)  salaries and wages;

     (ii) operations and maintenance;

     (iii) capital outlay;

     (iv) debt service; or

     (v)  transfers out.

     (c)  a projection of changes in fund balances or cash balances available for governmental fund types and a projection of changes in cash balances and working capital for proprietary fund types. This projection must be supported by a summary for each fund or group of funds listing the estimated beginning balance plus estimated revenue, less proposed expenditures, cash reserves, and estimated ending balances.

     (d)  a detailed list of proposed capital expenditures and a list of proposed major capital projects for the budget year;

     (e)  financial data on current and future debt obligations;

     (f)  schedules or summary tables of personnel or position counts for the prior budget year, current budget year, and proposed budget year. The budgeted amounts for personnel services must be supported by a listing of positions, salaries, and benefits for all positions of the local government. The listing of positions, salaries, and benefits is not required to be part of the budget document.

     (g)  all other estimates that fall under the purview of the budget.

     (5)  The preliminary annual operating budget for each fund for which the local government will levy an ad valorem property tax request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] must include the estimated amount to be raised by the tax requested."

 

     Section 97.  Section 7-6-4034, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-4034.  Determination of fund requirements -- property tax levy. (1) After determining the final budget, the governing body shall determine the property tax levy needed for each fund by:

     (a)  adding the total amount of the appropriations and authorized expenditures for the budget year;

     (b)  adding an additional amount, subject to the provisions of subsection (2), as a reserve to meet expenditures made from the fund during the months of July to November of the next fiscal year;

     (c)  subtracting the working capital; and

     (d)  subtracting the total estimated revenue, other than the property tax levy, for the budget year.

     (2)  After deducting from the amount of the appropriations and authorized expenditures the total amount appropriated and authorized to be spent for election expenses and payment of emergency warrants, the amount that may be added as a reserve, as provided in subsection (1)(b), to:

     (a)(1)  a county's fund may not exceed one-third of the total amount appropriated and authorized to be spent from the fund during the current fiscal year; and

     (b)(2)  a city's or town's fund may not exceed one-half of the total amount appropriated and authorized to be spent from the fund during the current fiscal year."

 

     Section 98.  Section 7-6-4431, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-4431.  Authorization to exceed or impose less than maximum mill levy -- election required to exceed Supplemental funding. The governing body of a municipality may raise money by taxation for the support of municipal government services, facilities, or other capital projects in excess of the levy allowed by 15-10-420 under the following conditions:

     (1)  The governing body shall pass a resolution indicating its intent to exceed the current statutory mill levy limit on the approval of a majority of the qualified electors voting in an election under subsection (2). The resolution must include:

     (a)  the specific purpose for which the additional money will be used;

     (b)  the specific dollar amount to be raised; and

     (c)  the approximate number of mills required.

     (2)  The governing body shall submit the question of the additional mill levy to the qualified electors of the municipality at an election as provided in 15-10-425. The question may not be submitted more than once in any calendar year. If the majority of voters voting on the question is in favor of the additional levy or levies, the governing body is authorized to impose the mill levy in the amount specified in the resolution.

     (3)  An election is not required for a governing body to impose less than the maximum number of mills or to carry forward authorization to impose the maximum number of mills in a subsequent tax year as provided in 15-10-420(1)(b) by submitting a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 99.  Section 7-6-4438, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-4438.  Tax levy and expenditures Expenditures for municipal and administrative purposes when limits on municipal indebtedness exceeded. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, taxes levied and collected Funding received from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for municipal and administrative purposes by any city or town in which the indebtedness equals or exceeds the limit allowed by statute may be used in payment of current expenses during the fiscal year for which the taxes were levied as if a special levy had been made for each of the purposes funding was requested. The council of the city or town may designate the amount of the general levy funding applicable to each of the purposes. The amount designated constitutes a special fund for the special purpose of paying the expenses incurred for the purpose. The expenses are payable only out of the fund.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, a A city, the indebtedness of which equals or exceeds the limit allowed by statute, may levy and collect special taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for municipal and administrative purposes, and the city council in making special levies requesting funding shall designate the amount for each of the purposes. Each tax The funding, when collected, constitutes a fund out of which the expenses incurred for the purpose for which the tax was levied funding was requested must be paid. The expenses incurred for any particular purpose may be paid only out of the specified fund."

 

     Section 100.  Section 7-7-105, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-105.  Challenges to local government bond elections. (1) No action may be brought for the purpose of restraining the issuance and sale of bonds or other obligations by any county, city, town, or political subdivision of the state or for the purpose of restraining the levy and collection of taxes for the payment of such bonds or other obligations after the expiration of 60 days from the date of the election on such bonds or obligations or, if no election was held thereon, after the expiration of 60 days from the date of the order, resolution, or ordinance authorizing the issuance thereof, on account of any defect, irregularity, or informality in giving notice of or in holding the election. No defense based upon any such defect, irregularity, or informality may be interposed in any action unless brought within this period. This subsection applies but is not limited to any action and defense in which the issue is raised whether a voted debt or liability has carried by the required majority vote of the electors qualified and offering to vote thereon.

     (2)  (a) Any elector qualified to vote in a bond election of a county, a city, or any political subdivision of either may contest a bond election for any of the following causes:

     (i)  that the precinct board, in conducting the election or in canvassing the returns, made errors sufficient to change the result of the election;

     (ii) that any official charged with a duty under the election laws failed to perform that duty;

     (iii) that in conducting the election, any official charged with a duty under the election laws violated any of the provisions of Title 13 relating to bond elections;

     (iv) that electors qualified to vote in the election under the provisions of the constitutions of Montana and the United States were not given opportunity to vote in the election;

     (v)  that electors not qualified to vote in the election under the provisions of the constitutions of Montana and the United States were permitted to vote in the election.

     (b)  Within 60 days after the election, the contestant shall file a verified petition with the clerk of the court in the judicial district where the election was held.

     (3)  The word "action", as used in this section, is to be construed, whenever it is necessary to do so, as including a special proceeding of a civil nature."

 

     Section 101.  Section 7-7-121, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-121.  Misconduct in relation to bond funds. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), when any officer or officers or board or body of officers of any county, city, or other municipal or public corporation of the state are or shall be required by law to provide by a levy of taxes or by certifying the amount of money required or otherwise a sinking fund or fund required to pay at maturity any bonds hereafter issued or created, such officer or officers and the members of such board or body of officers shall be jointly and severally liable to the county, city, or other municipal or public corporation which they represent if they shall fail to perform any such duties required by law, as specified in this section, in an amount equal to the sum which would have been added to such fund had they performed such duty.

     (b)  When any such board shall fail or neglect to perform any such duty, no minority member of said board who shall have moved said board or voted in favor of a performance of such duty shall be held liable.

     (2)  Any person or persons who shall take, use, or appropriate or permit to be taken, used, or appropriated any portion of any such fund as herein specified for any purpose other than that permitted by law shall be jointly and severally liable to the county, city, or other municipal or public corporation to which said fund shall belong for the portion of such fund so unlawfully taken, used, or appropriated."

 

     Section 102.  Section 7-7-2206, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-2206.  Term of general obligation bonds. (1) Bonds issued for any of the purposes designated in 7-7-2201(1) through (4) may not be for a longer term than 20 years.

     (2)  Bonds issued for any of the purposes designated in 7-7-2201(5) and (6) may not be for a longer term than 10 years.

     (3)  Bonds issued for any of the purposes designated in 7-7-2202 may not be for a longer term than 20 years.

     (4)  The length of the term required must be estimated and calculated by the board of county commissioners, based upon the percentage of valuation of the property upon which taxes are levied and paid within the county as ascertained from the last-completed assessment for state and county taxes, taking into account probable changes in the taxable valuation and losses in tax collections. Irrespective of any miscalculation by the county commissioners in fixing the term of the bonds, the county shall from year to year make a sufficient tax levy to pay the interest and installments on principal on the bonds as the payments are due.

     (5)  For purposes of 7-7-2207 and this section, the term of a bond issue commences on July 1 of the fiscal year in which the county first levies taxes to pay pays principal and interest on the bonds."

 

     Section 103.  Section 7-7-2264, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-2264.  Statement as to amount of principal and interest due and payable on bonds. (1) Whenever any county has any issue or series of bonds outstanding and there are not sufficient funds on hand available for the payment of the full amount of the interest and principal thereof, the county treasurer of such county shall, between the first and fifth days of August in each year while such bonds or any thereof remain outstanding and unpaid, make out and deliver to the board of county commissioners of such county a statement.

     (2)  The statement required by subsection (1) shall show the amount required to be raised by tax levy during the then-current fiscal year for payment of interest and principal becoming due and payable during such fiscal year or within 90 days thereafter on each issue or series of bonds outstanding. If no part of the principal of any such issue or series of bonds will become due and payable within such time, then such statement shall show the amount required to be raised by tax levy during such year for payment of interest becoming due during such time and to place the proper amount in the sinking fund for the payment of the principal of such bonds when they become due, as provided in 7-7-2265."

 

     Section 104.  Section 7-7-2302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-2302.  Applicability of certain other bond provisions. (1) The provisions of 7-7-2203 through 7-7-2207, 7-7-2209 through 7-7-2211, 7-7-2222, 7-7-2255 through 7-7-2263, 7-7-2265, 7-7-2266, 7-7-2268 through 7-7-2270, and 7-7-2272 through 7-7-2274 apply to refunding bonds issued under this part; however, the board of county commissioners may at its option sell bonds issued under this part at a private negotiated sale or at a public sale conducted pursuant to the provisions of 7-7-2251, 7-7-2252, and 7-7-2254.

     (2)  If a refunding bond issue refunds only a portion of an outstanding bond issue, the unrefunded portion of the outstanding bond issue and the refunding bond issue must be treated as a single bond issue for the purposes of 7-7-2211."

 

     Section 105.  Section 7-7-4264, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-4264.  Statement as to amount of principal and interest due and payable on bonds. (1) Whenever any city or town has any issue or series of bonds outstanding and there are not sufficient funds on hand available for the payment of the full amount of the interest and principal thereof, the city treasurer or town clerk shall, between July 1 and July 15 in each year while such bonds or any of them remain outstanding and unpaid, make out and deliver to the city or town clerk a statement.

     (2)  The statement required by subsection (1) shall show the amount required to be raised by tax levy requested from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] during the then-current fiscal year for payment of interest and principal becoming due and payable during such fiscal year or within 90 days thereafter on each issue or series of bonds outstanding. If no part of the principal of any such issue or series of bonds outstanding or if no part of the principal of any such issue or series of bonds will become due and payable within such time, then such statement shall show the amount required to be raised by tax levy requested from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] during such year for payment of interest becoming due during such time and to place the proper amount in the sinking fund for the payment of the principal of such bonds when they become due, as provided in 7-7-4204.

     (3)  The statement prepared by the city treasurer or town clerk shall be presented by the city or town clerk to the city or town council at its next meeting."

 

     Section 106.  Section 7-7-4302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-4302.  Applicability of certain other bond provisions. (1) The provisions of 7-7-4201 through 7-7-4206, 7-7-4208 through 7-7-4210, 7-7-4255 through 7-7-4266 7-7-4264, 7-7-4268 through 7-7-4270, and 7-7-4272 through 7-7-4274 apply to refunding bonds issued under this part; however, the city or town council may at its option sell bonds issued under this part at a private negotiated sale or at a public sale conducted pursuant to the provisions of 7-7-4251, 7-7-4252, and 7-7-4254.

     (2)  If a refunding bond issue refunds only a portion of an outstanding bond issue, the unrefunded portion of the outstanding bond issue and the refunding bond issue must be treated as a single bond issue for the purposes of 7-7-4210."

 

     Section 107.  Section 7-7-4424, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-4424.  Undertakings to be self-supporting. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsections (1)(b) and (1)(c), the governing body of a municipality issuing bonds pursuant to this part shall prescribe and collect reasonable rates, fees, or charges for the services, facilities, and commodities of the undertaking and shall revise the rates, fees, or charges from time to time whenever necessary so that the undertaking is and remains self-supporting.

     (b)  The property taxes specifically authorized to be levied for the general purpose served by an undertaking or resort taxes approved, levied, and appropriated to an undertaking in compliance with 7-6-1501 through 7-6-1506, 7-6-1508, and 7-6-1509 constitute revenue of the undertaking and may not result in an undertaking being considered not self-supporting.

     (c)  Revenue from assessments and fees enacted by local ordinance constitutes revenue of the undertaking and may not result in an undertaking being considered not self-supporting.

     (2)  The rates, fees, or charges prescribed, along with any appropriated property or resort tax collections, must produce revenue at least sufficient to:

     (a)  pay when due all bonds and interest on the bonds for the payment of which the revenue has been pledged, charged, or otherwise encumbered, including reserves for the bonds; and

     (b)  provide for all expenses of operation and maintenance of the undertaking, including reserves."

 

     Section 108.  Section 7-8-2306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-8-2306.  Distribution of sale and lease proceeds. The proceeds of each sale or lease under this part or part 25 must be paid over to the county treasurer, who shall apportion and distribute the proceeds in the following manner:

     (1)  (a) Upon a sale of the property, the proceeds of each sale must be credited to the county general fund for reimbursement of expenditures made from it in connection with the procurement of the tax deed and holding of the sale.

     (b)  Upon a sale of the property, if there is any money remaining after the payment of the amount specified in subsection (1)(a) and the remainder is:

     (i)  in excess of the aggregate amount of all taxes and assessments accrued against the property for all funds and purposes, without penalty and interest, then as much of the remaining proceeds must be credited to each fund or purpose as each fund or purpose would have received had the taxes been paid before becoming delinquent, and all excess must be credited to the general fund of the county; or

     (ii) less in amount than the aggregate amount of all taxes and assessments accrued against the property for all funds and purposes, without penalty or interest, the proceeds must be prorated between the funds and purposes in the proportion that the amount of taxes and assessments accrued against the property for each fund or purpose bears to the aggregate amount of taxes and assessments accrued against the property for all funds and purposes.

     (2)  If tax-deed lands have been sold and the county has reserved a royalty interest, any sums of money received from the royalty interest must be credited to the general fund of the county, except that the board of county commissioners may allocate to the county road fund not more than 50% of the money received from reserved royalty interests.

     (3)  Upon a lease of the property, except as otherwise provided, the amount received as rent, royalty, or otherwise, including interest received on the payments under either a sale or lease, must be apportioned on the current year's levy and must be credited as earnings of tax-deed property and not considered as a credit to tax-deed accrued accounts as in the case of the principal received from sales of tax-deed lands."

 

     Section 109.  Section 7-10-115, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-10-115.  Regional resource authority -- powers -- limits. (1) A regional resource authority has power to:

     (a)  sue and be sued;

     (b)  purchase and hold lands within its limits;

     (c)  make contracts and purchase and hold personal property that may be necessary to the exercise of its powers;

     (d)  make orders for the disposition or use of its property that the interests of its inhabitants require; and

     (e)  subject to 15-10-420, levy and collect taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission for public or governmental purposes, as described in 7-6-2527 [section 11], under its exclusive jurisdiction unless prohibited by law;

     (f)  impose fees or assessments for services provided;

     (g)  pay debts and expenses;

     (h)  solicit and accept bequests, donations, or grants of money, property, services, or other advantages and comply with any condition that is not contrary to the public interest;

     (i)  execute documents necessary to receive money, property, services, or other advantages from the state government, the federal government, or any other source;

     (j)  make grants and loans of money, property, and services for public purposes;

     (k)  require the attendance of witnesses and production of documents relevant to matters being considered by the governing body;

     (l)  hire, direct, and discharge employees and appoint and remove members of boards;

     (m)  ratify any action of the regional resource authority or its officers or employees that could have been approved in advance;

     (n)  acquire by eminent domain, as provided in Title 70, chapter 30, any interest in property for a public use authorized by law;

     (o)  initiate a civil action to restrain or enjoin an action adverse to the regional resource authority;

     (p)  enter private property, obtaining warrants when necessary, for the purpose of enforcing its authority that affects the general welfare and public safety;

     (q)  conduct preparatory studies;

     (r)  purchase insurance and establish self-insurance plans;

     (s)  exercise powers not inconsistent with law necessary for effective administration of authorized services and functions;

     (t)  enter into interlocal agreements or other agreements with the federal government or its agencies; and

     (u)  issue bonds and notes for the purpose of funding projects as provided in part 2 of this chapter.

     (2)  A regional resource authority may not:

     (a)  authorize a tax on income or the sale of goods or services;

     (b)  regulate private activity beyond its geographic limits;

     (c)  impose a duty on another unit of local government, except that nothing in this limitation affects the right of a regional resource authority to enter into and enforce an agreement on interlocal cooperation;

     (d)  exercise any judicial function, except as an incident to the exercise of an administrative power; or

     (e)  exercise any power enumerated in 7-1-111."

 

     Section 110.  Section 7-11-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-11-104.  Authorization to create interlocal agreements -- issuance of bonds for joint construction -- hiring of teacher, specialist, or superintendent. One or more public agencies may contract with any one or more other public agencies to perform any administrative service, activity, or undertaking or to participate in the provision or maintenance of any public infrastructure facility, project, or service, including the issuance of bonds for the joint construction of a facility under 20-9-404, the hiring of a teacher or specialist under 20-4-201 or a superintendent under 20-4-401, or the hiring of or contracting with any other professional person licensed under Title 37, that any of the public agencies entering into the contract is authorized by law to perform. The contract must be authorized and approved by the governing body of each party to the contract. The contract must outline fully the purposes, powers, rights, obligations, and responsibilities of the contracting parties."

 

     Section 111.  Section 7-11-1003, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-11-1003.  Authorization to create special districts. (1) Whenever the public convenience and necessity may require:

     (a)  the governing body may:

     (i)  create a special district by resolution; or

     (ii) order a referendum on the creation of a special district to serve the inhabitants of the special district as provided in 7-11-1011; or

     (b)  petitioners may initiate the creation of a special district to serve inhabitants of the special district as provided in subsection (2).

     (2)  (a) (i) Upon receipt of a petition to institute the creation of a special district that is signed by at least 25% of the registered voters or by the owners of at least 25% of the real property within the boundary of the proposed special district and that is submitted to the clerk of the governing body, the governing body shall order a referendum on the creation of the special district pursuant to 7-11-1011.

     (ii) Upon receipt of a petition to institute the creation of a special district that is signed by more than 50% of the registered voters or by the owners of more than 50% of the real property within the boundary of the proposed special district, the governing body shall conduct a public hearing pursuant to 7-11-1007. Following the hearing and if insufficient protests are made as provided in 7-11-1008, the governing body shall order the creation of the special district in accordance with 7-11-1013.

     (b)  If a proposed special district would be financed by a mill levy, a petition to institute the creation of the special district must be signed by at least 40% of the registered voters or at least 40% of the property taxpayers within the boundary of the proposed district.

     (c)(b)  The form of the petition may be prescribed by the governing body, and the clerk of the governing body shall verify the signatures on the petition.

     (d)(c)  Subject to subsection (2)(c) (2)(b), the petition must:

     (i)  require the printed name of each signatory;

     (ii) specify whether the signatory is a property taxpayer or owner of real property within the proposed special district and either the street address or the legal description, whichever the signatory prefers, of that property;

     (iii) describe the type of special district being proposed and the general character of any proposed improvements and program to be administered within the special district;

     (iv) designate the method of financing any proposed improvements or maintenance program within the special district;

     (v)  include a description of the areas to be included in the proposed special district; and

     (vi) specify whether the proposed special district would be administered by the local governing body or an appointed or elected board.

     (3)  Within 60 days of receipt of a petition to create a special district, the clerk of the governing body shall:

     (a)  certify that the petition is sufficient under the provisions of subsection (2) and present it to the governing body at its next meeting; or

     (b)  reject the petition if it is insufficient under the provisions of subsection (2).

     (4)  A defect in the contents of the petition or in its title, form of notice, or signatures may not invalidate the petition and subsequent proceedings as long as the petition has a sufficient number of qualified signatures attached."

 

     Section 112.  Section 7-11-1029, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-11-1029.  Dissolution of special district. (1) A special district may be dissolved if it is considered to be in the best interest of a local government or the inhabitants of the local government or if the purpose for creating the special district has been fulfilled and the special district is not needed in perpetuity.

     (2)  The governing body may pass a resolution of intention to dissolve a special district upon its own request or upon request of the separate board administering the special district.

     (3)  After the passage of the resolution provided for in subsection (2), the clerk of the local government that established the special district shall publish a notice, as provided in 7-1-2121 or 7-1-4127, of the intention to dissolve the district.

     (4)  The notice must specify the boundaries of the special district to be dissolved, the date of the passage of the resolution of intention to dissolve, the date set for the passage of the resolution of dissolution, and that the resolution will be passed unless the clerk of the local government receives written protest in advance from:

     (a) 40% of registered voters or 40% of the owners of real property in the district; or

     (b)  40% of registered voters or 40% of the property taxpayers in the district if the district program or improvements have been financed through a mill levy.

     (5)  If the special district is dissolved, the clerk of the local government shall immediately send written notice to:

     (a)  the secretary of state; and

     (b)  the department of revenue, providing the same information required in 7-11-1014 when a district is created. The department of revenue and the state library shall respond to the dissolution in the same manner as they respond to the creation of a district, as described in 7-11-1014.

     (6)  The dissolution of a special district may not relieve the property owners from the assessment and payment of a sufficient amount to liquidate all charges existing against the special district prior to the date of dissolution.

     (7)  Any assets remaining after all debts and obligations of the special district have been paid, discharged, or irrevocably settled must be:

     (a)  deposited in the general fund of the local government;

     (b)  in the case of multiple local governments, divided in accordance with their interlocal agreement and deposited in the general fund of each local government; or

     (c)  transferred to a new special district that has been created to provide substantially the same service as provided by the dissolved special district.

     (8)  If the remaining assets are derived from private grants or gifts that restrict the use of those funds, the funds must be returned to the grantor or donor."

 

     Section 113.  Section 7-12-1132, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-1132.  Annual budget and work plan -- approval -- procedure -- tax. (1) At a time determined by the governing body, the board shall submit to the governing body for approval a work plan and budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

     (2)  A board created for the purpose of 7-12-1102(4) in a municipality or county where a nonprofit convention and visitors bureau, as defined in 15-65-101, is operating shall consult with the nonprofit convention and visitors bureau in developing a work plan and budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

     (3)  Following public notice that a work plan and budget have been submitted and that the governing body will levy an assessment to defray the cost of the work plan and budget, the governing body shall hold a public hearing on objections to the work plan and budget. After the hearing, the governing body may modify the work plan and budget as it considers necessary and appropriate.

     (4)  After approval of the work plan and budget and to defray the cost of the work plan and budget for the next fiscal year, the governing body shall by resolution levy an assessment upon all of the property in the district using as a basis one of the methods prescribed in 7-12-1133.

     (5)(4)  A copy of the resolution must be delivered to the treasurer of the local government to be placed on the tax roll and collected in the same manner as other taxes."

 

     Section 114.  Section 7-12-2105, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-2105.  Notice of resolution of intention to create district -- hearing -- exception. (1) Upon passage of a resolution of intention pursuant to 7-12-2103, the board of county commissioners shall publish notice of the passage as provided in 7-1-2121.

     (2)  A copy of the notice must be mailed, as provided in 7-1-2122, to each person, firm, or corporation or the agent of the person, firm, or corporation owning real property within the proposed district listed in the owner's name upon the last-completed assessment roll for state, county, and school district taxes.

     (3)  (a) The notice must describe the general character of the improvements proposed to be made or acquired by purchase, state the estimated cost of the improvements, describe generally the method or methods by which the costs of the improvements will be assessed, and designate the time when and the place where the board will hear and pass upon all protests that may be made against the making or maintenance of the improvements or the creation of the district. If the method of assessment described in 7-12-2151(1)(d) is used, the notice must state that if an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district during the term of the bonded indebtedness, the assessment per lot, tract, or parcel then in the district will be recalculated as provided in 7-12-2151(4).

     (b)  If the revolving fund is to be pledged to secure the payment of bonds and warrants, the notice must include a statement that, subject to the limitations in 7-12-2182:,

     (i) the county general fund may be used to provide loans to the revolving fund; or

     (ii) a general tax levy may be imposed on all taxable property in the county to meet the financial requirements of the revolving fund.

     (c)  The notice must refer to the resolution on file in the office of the county clerk for the description of the boundaries. If the proposal is for the purchase of an existing improvement, the notice must state the exact purchase price of the existing improvement.

     (4)  The provisions of this section do not apply to a resolution of intention to create a district that is passed upon receipt of a petition as provided in 7-12-2102(2)."

 

     Section 115.  Section 7-12-2151, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-2151.  Assessment of costs. (1) To defray the cost of making or acquiring any of the improvements provided for in this part, including incidental expenses, the board of county commissioners shall assess the entire cost of the improvements against benefited lots, tracts, or parcels of land in the district, based upon the benefits received, and shall adopt one or any combination of the following methods of assessment for each improvement made or acquired for the benefit of the district:

     (a)  Each lot, tract, or parcel of land assessed in the district may be assessed with that part of the whole cost which its assessable area bears to the assessable area of all the benefited lots, tracts, or parcels in the district, exclusive of streets, avenues, alleys, and public places. For the purposes of this subsection (1)(a), "assessable area" means an area of a lot, tract, or parcel of land representing the benefit conferred upon the lot, tract, or parcel by the improvement. Assessable area may be less than but may not exceed the actual area of the lot, tract, or parcel.

     (b)  Each lot, tract, or parcel of land assessed in the district may be assessed with that part of the whole cost of the improvement based upon the assessed value of the benefited lots or pieces of land within the district, if the board determines the assessment to be equitable in proportion to and not exceeding the benefits received from the improvement by the lot, tract, or parcel.

     (c)  Each lot, tract, or parcel of land in the district abutting upon the street where the improvement has been made may be assessed in proportion to its lineal feet abutting the street.

     (d)  Each lot, tract, or parcel of land in the district may be assessed an equal amount based upon the total cost of the improvement.

     (e)  Each lot, tract, or parcel of land in the district served by a utility connection may be assessed an equitable lump sum for the connection based on the bid price in the applicable contract.

     (2)  The board may use one or any combination of methods of assessment in a single special improvement district and, if more than one improvement is undertaken, need not assess each lot, tract, or parcel in the district for the cost of all the improvements. If the method of assessment described in subsection (1)(d) is used, the resolution of intention under 7-12-2103 and notice under 7-12-2105 must provide that if an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district during the term of the bonded indebtedness, the assessment per lot, tract, or parcel then in the district will be recalculated as provided in subsection (4).

     (3)  The board in its discretion may pay the whole or any part of the cost of any street, avenue, or alley intersection out of any funds that are available to it for that purpose or to include the whole or any part of the costs within the amount of the assessment to be paid by the benefited property in the district.

     (4)  (a) If the method specified for assessment is that provided in subsection (1)(d) and an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of a district created as provided in this part during the term of bonded indebtedness that is payable from the assessments, the board shall recalculate the amount assessable to each lot, tract, or parcel. The board shall comply with the provisions of 7-12-2158 through 7-12-2160 in adopting the recalculated amount.

     (b)  The board shall base the recalculation on the amount of the district's outstanding bonded indebtedness for the current fiscal year and shall spread the assessments across the district based on the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district as of July 1 following the action that resulted in the increase in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels."

 

     Section 116.  Section 7-12-2182, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-2182.  Sources of money for revolving fund. (1) For the purpose of providing funds for the revolving fund, the board of county commissioners:

     (a)  shall, if the bonds or warrants are secured by the revolving fund pursuant to 7-12-2185, include in the cost of the improvements to be paid from the proceeds of the bonds or warrants an amount of at least 5% and not more than 10% of the principal amount of the bonds or warrants to be issued as provided in 7-12-2153(2);

     (b)  may, from time to time, transfer to the revolving fund from the general fund of the county an amount as may be necessary. The amount transferred is a loan from the general fund to the revolving fund.

     (c)  shall, in addition to a transfer or transfers from the general fund or in lieu of a transfer, levy for the revolving fund a tax, declared to be for a public purpose, on all taxable property in the county as is necessary to meet the financial requirements of the revolving fund. A tax may not be levied if the balance in the revolving fund will exceed 10% or, with the amount levied by the tax, will exceed 10% of the principal amount of the then-outstanding rural improvement district bonds and warrants secured by the revolving fund after all required transfers have been made to the district funds through fiscal yearend.

     (2)  Whenever there is money in the district fund that is not required for payment of any bond or warrant of the district secured by the revolving fund or of interest on the bond or warrant, as much of the money as may be necessary to pay the loan provided for in 7-12-2183 must, by order of the board, be transferred to the revolving fund and the balance of the money or, if there is no outstanding loan, as much of the money as the board considers necessary may be transferred to the improvement district's maintenance fund. After all the bonds and warrants secured by the revolving fund issued on any rural improvement district have been fully paid, all money remaining in the district fund must, by order of the board, be transferred to and become part of the revolving fund or the improvement district's maintenance fund."

 

     Section 117.  Section 7-12-2185, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-2185.  Covenants to use revolving fund -- duration of revolving fund obligation -- factors to be considered. (1) In connection with the issuance of rural improvement district bonds or warrants, the board of county commissioners may undertake and agree:

     (a)  to make loans or advances from the revolving fund to the district fund involved in amounts sufficient to make good any deficiency in the bond and interest accounts, to the extent that funds are available;

     (b)  to provide funds for the revolving fund pursuant to the provisions of 7-12-2182 by annually making a tax levy or, in lieu of the tax levy, a loan from the general fund, subject to the maximum limitations imposed by 7-12-2182; and

     (c)  to retain in the revolving fund a balance up to 10% of the then-outstanding rural improvement district bonds and warrants secured by the revolving fund.

     (2)  (a) The undertakings and agreements are binding upon the county with respect to the rural improvement district bonds or warrants until the earlier of:

     (i)  the date on which all bonds or warrants of the issue and interest on the bonds or warrants have been fully paid or discharged in a bankruptcy case in which the rural improvement district is the debtor; or

     (ii) the date that is the later of:

     (A)  the final stated maturity date of the bonds or warrants; or

     (B)  the date on which all special assessments levied in the district have been either paid or discharged.

     (b)  The discharge of delinquent special assessments levied with respect to a particular lot or parcel is considered to occur upon:

     (i)  the issuance of a tax deed, as provided in 15-18-214, or, if the county is the recipient of the tax deed, upon the sale, lease, or other disposition of the property by the county as provided in Title 7, chapter 8, part 22, 23, 24, or 25, or other applicable law; or

     (ii) payment in full of the allowed secured claim for the special assessments in a bankruptcy case in which the owner of the lot or parcel is the debtor.

     (3)  Prior to entering into the undertakings and agreements set forth in subsection (1), the board of county commissioners shall take into consideration the following factors, including other circumstances that the board may determine to be material to the public interest of securing the bonds or warrants by the revolving fund:

     (a)  the estimated market value of the lots, parcels, or tracts included in the district at the time that the district is created in comparison to the estimated market value of the lots, parcels, or tracts after the improvements are made;

     (b)  the diversity of ownership of property in the district;

     (c)  the amount of the special assessments proposed to be levied against each lot, parcel, or tract in the district in comparison to the estimated market value of the lot, parcel, or tract after the improvements are made;

     (d)  the amount of any outstanding special assessments against the property in the district;

     (e)  the amount of delinquencies in the payment of outstanding special assessments or property taxes levied against property in the district;

     (f)  the public benefit of the improvements proposed to be financed; and

     (g)  in the case of a district created to make improvements in a newly platted subdivision:

     (i)  the prior subdivision development experience and credit rating or credit history of the person developing the land; and

     (ii) any contribution by property owners to the costs of the improvements or any security given by property owners to secure payment of special assessments levied in the district.

     (4)  Any findings or determinations with respect to the factors contained in subsection (3) made by the board of county commissioners in a resolution authorizing the undertakings and agreements or the issuance of bonds or warrants are conclusive evidence that the board has taken into consideration the factors required by subsection (3).

     (5)  In lieu of the undertakings and agreements set forth in subsection (1), the board of county commissioners may determine in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds or warrants that the revolving fund does not secure the bonds or warrants and that the bonds or warrants are payable solely from the district fund created for the bonds or warrants and do not have a claim against the revolving fund."

 

     Section 118.  Section 7-12-2203, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-2203.  Rural improvement district maintenance fund. (1) The money collected pursuant to 7-12-2202, from funding that is received from the critical needs assessment commission under [section 11] shall be paid into a fund known as the special improvement district No. .... maintenance fund, the number of which shall correspond with the number of the special improvement district in which the improvements so maintained are situated.

     (2)  Such funds shall be used to defray the expense of maintenance of said system and for no other purpose."

 

     Section 119.  Section 7-12-4104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4104.  Resolution of intention to create special improvement district. (1) Before creating any special improvement district for the purpose of making any of the improvements or acquiring any private property for any purpose authorized by this part, the city council shall pass a resolution of intention to do so.

     (2)  The resolution shall:

     (a)  designate the number of such district;

     (b)  describe the boundaries thereof;

     (c)  state therein the general character of the improvement or improvements which are to be made and an approximate estimate of the cost thereof; and

     (d)  specify the method or methods by which the costs of the improvements will be assessed against property in the district; and

     (e)  if the method of assessment is that described in 7-12-4162(3)(a), specify that if an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district during the term of the bonded indebtedness, the assessment per lot, tract, or parcel then in the district will be recalculated as provided in 7-12-4162(3)(b).

     (3)  When any improvement is to be made in paving, the city or town council may, in describing the general character of it in the resolution, describe several kinds of paving."

 

     Section 120.  Section 7-12-4106, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4106.  Notice of passage of resolution of intention -- exception. (1) Except as provided in subsection (4), upon having passed the resolution of intention pursuant to 7-12-4104, the council shall give notice of the passage of the resolution of intention.

     (2)  The notice must be published as provided in 7-1-2121. A copy of the notice must be mailed to each person, firm, or corporation or the agent of the person, firm, or corporation having real property within the proposed district listed in the owner's name upon the last-completed assessment roll for state, county, and school district taxes, at the owner's last-known address, upon the same day that the notice is first published or posted.

     (3)  (a) The notice must describe the general character of the proposed improvements, state the estimated cost of the improvements, describe generally the method by which the costs of the improvements will be assessed, and designate the time when and the place where the council will hear and pass upon all written protests that may be made against the making or acquisition of the improvements or the creation of the district. If the method of assessment described in 7-12-4162(3)(a) is used, the notice must state that if an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district during the term of the bonded indebtedness, the assessment per lot, tract, or parcel then in the district will be recalculated as provided in 7-12-4162(3)(b).

     (b)  If the revolving fund is to be pledged to secure the payment of bonds and warrants, the notice must include a statement that, subject to the limitations in 7-12-4222:,

     (i) the general fund of the city or town may be used to provide loans to the revolving fund; or

     (ii) a general tax levy may be imposed on all taxable property in the city or town to meet the financial requirements of the revolving fund.

     (c)  The notice must refer to the resolution on file in the office of the city clerk for the description of the boundaries. If the proposal is for the purchase of an existing improvement, the notice must state the exact purchase price of the existing improvement.

     (4)  The provisions of this section do not apply to a district that is created under 7-12-4114 following receipt of a petition as provided in 7-12-4102(3)."

 

     Section 121.  Section 7-12-4161, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4161.  Choice in manner of assessing costs. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), to defray the cost of making or acquiring any of the improvements provided for in this part, including incidental expenses, the city council or commission shall adopt one of the methods of assessment, where applicable, provided in 7-12-4162 through 7-12-4165 for each improvement to be made or acquired for the benefit of the district.

     (2)  The city council may use one or any combination of methods of assessment in a single special improvement district, and if more than one improvement is undertaken, each lot or parcel of land in the district need not be assessed for the cost of all the improvements. If the method of assessment described in 7-12-4162(3)(a) is used, the resolution of intention under 7-12-4104 and notice under 7-12-4106 must provide that if an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district during the term of the bonded indebtedness, the assessment per lot, tract, or parcel then in the district will be recalculated as provided in 7-12-4162(3)(b)."

 

     Section 122.  Section 7-12-4162, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4162.  Assessment of costs -- area option -- assessed valuation option -- equal amount option Supplemental funding. (1) (a) The city council or commission shall assess the entire cost of an improvement against benefited property in the district, each lot or parcel of land assessed within such district to be assessed for that part of the whole cost which its assessable area bears to the assessable area of all benefited lots or parcels in the district, exclusive of streets, avenues, alleys, and public places. For the purposes of this subsection, "assessable area" means an area of a lot or parcel of land representing the benefit conferred on the lot or parcel by the improvement. Assessable area may be less than but may not exceed the actual area of the lot or parcel.

     (b)  The council or commission, in its discretion, shall have has the power to pay the whole or any part of the cost of any street, avenue, or alley intersection out of any funds in its hands available for that purpose or to include the whole or any part of such costs within the amount of the assessment to be paid by the benefited property in the district.

     (c)  In order to equitably apportion the cost of any of the improvements herein provided for between that land within the district which lies within 25 feet of the line of the street on which the improvement is to be made and all other benefited land within the district, the council or commission may, in the resolution creating any improvement district, provide that the amount of the assessment against the property in such district to defray the cost of such improvements shall be so assessed that each square foot of land within the district lying within 25 feet of the line of the street on which the improvements therein provided for are made shall bear double the amount of cost of such improvements per square foot of such land that each square foot of any other benefited land within the district shall bear.

     (2)  The city council or city commission may assess the cost of an improvement against each lot or parcel of land in the district based on the assessed value of the benefited lots or parcels of land within the district if the council or commission determines such assessment to be equitable and in proportion to and not exceeding the benefits derived from the improvement by the lot or parcel.

     (3)  (a) The city council or city commission may assess each lot or parcel of land in the district an equal amount based upon the total cost of the improvement.

     (b)  If the method specified for assessment is that described in subsection (3)(a) and an increase occurs in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of a district created as provided in this part during the term of bonded indebtedness that is payable from the assessments, the city council or city commission shall recalculate the amount assessable to each lot, tract, or parcel. The city council or city commission shall comply with the provisions of 7-12-4176 through 7-12-4178 in adopting the recalculated amount. The city council or city commission shall base the recalculation on the amount of the district's outstanding bonded indebtedness for the current fiscal year and shall spread the assessments across the district based on the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels within the boundaries of the district as of July 1 following the action that resulted in the increase in the number of benefited lots, tracts, or parcels may request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 123.  Section 7-12-4222, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4222.  Sources of money for revolving fund. (1) For the purpose of providing funds for the revolving fund, the city or town council:

     (a)  may, from time to time, transfer to the revolving fund from the general fund of the city or town an amount as may be necessary. The amount transferred is a loan from the general fund to the revolving fund.

     (b)  shall, if the bonds or warrants are secured by the revolving fund pursuant to 7-12-4225, include in the cost of the improvement to be paid from the proceeds of the bonds or warrants an amount of at least 5% and not more than 10% of the principal amount of the bonds or warrants as provided in 7-12-4169; and

     (c)  shall, in addition to a transfer or transfers from the general fund or in lieu of a transfer, levy for the revolving fund a tax, declared to be for a public purpose, on all taxable property in the city or town as is necessary to meet the financial requirements of the revolving fund. A tax may not be levied if the balance in the revolving fund will exceed 10% or, with the amount levied by the tax, will exceed 10% of the principal amount of the then-outstanding special improvement district bonds and warrants secured by the revolving fund after all required transfers have been made to the district funds through fiscal yearend.

     (2)  Whenever there is money in the district fund that is not required for payment of any bond or warrant of the district secured by the revolving fund or of interest on the bond or warrant, as much of the money as may be necessary to pay the loan provided for in 7-12-4223 must, by order of the council, be transferred to the revolving fund. After all the bonds and warrants issued on any special improvement district or sidewalk, curb, and alley approach warrants secured by the revolving fund have been fully paid, all money remaining in the district fund must, by order of the council, be transferred to and become part of the revolving fund."

 

     Section 124.  Section 7-12-4225, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4225.  Covenants to use revolving fund -- duration of revolving fund obligation -- factors to be considered. (1) In connection with the issuance of special improvement district bonds or sidewalk, curb, and alley approach warrants, the city or town council may undertake and agree:

     (a)  to make loans or advances from the revolving fund to the district fund involved in amounts sufficient to make good any deficiency in the bond and interest accounts, to the extent that funds are available;

     (b)  to provide funds for the revolving fund pursuant to the provisions of 7-12-4222(1) by annually making a tax levy or, in lieu of the tax levy, a loan from the general fund, subject to the maximum limitations imposed by 7-12-4222(1); and

     (c)  to retain in the revolving fund a balance of up to 10% of the then-outstanding special improvement district bonds and warrants secured by the revolving fund.

     (2)  The undertakings and agreements referred to in subsection (1) are binding upon the city or town with respect to the special improvement district bonds or sidewalk, curb, and alley approach warrants until the earlier of:

     (a)  the date on which all bonds or warrants of the issue and interest on the bonds or warrants have been fully paid or discharged in a bankruptcy case in which the special improvement district is the debtor; or

     (b)  the date that is the later of:

     (i)  the final stated maturity date of the bonds or warrants; or

     (ii) the date on which all special assessments levied in the district have been either paid or discharged.

     (3)  The discharge of delinquent special assessments levied with respect to a particular lot or parcel is considered to have occurred upon:

     (a)  the issuance of a tax deed, as provided in 15-18-214, or, if the county is the recipient of the tax deed, upon the sale, lease, or other disposition of the property by the county as provided in Title 7, chapter 8, part 22, 23, 24, or 25, or other applicable law;

     (b)  the discharge of the trust pursuant to 15-17-318 or upon the sale or lease of the property under 15-17-319 if the property in the district has been assigned to the city or town under Title 15, chapter 17, part 3; or

     (c)  payment in full of the allowed secured claim for the special assessments in a bankruptcy case in which the owner of the lot or parcel is the debtor.

     (4)  Prior to entering into the undertakings and agreements set forth in subsection (1), the city or town council shall take into consideration the following factors, including other circumstances that the city or town council may determine to be material to the public interest of securing the bonds or warrants by the revolving fund:

     (a)  the estimated market value of the lots, parcels, or tracts included in the district at the time that the district is created in comparison to the estimated market value of the lots, parcels, or tracts after the improvements are made;

     (b)  the diversity of ownership of property in the district;

     (c)  the amount of the special assessments proposed to be levied against each lot, parcel, or tract in the district in comparison to the estimated market value of the lot, parcel, or tract after the improvements are made;

     (d)  the amount of any outstanding special assessments against the property in the district;

     (e)  the amount of delinquencies in the payment of outstanding special assessments or property taxes levied against property in the district;

     (f)  the public benefit of the improvements proposed to be financed; and

     (g)  in the case of a district created to make improvements in a newly platted subdivision:

     (i)  the prior subdivision development experience and credit rating or credit history of the person developing the land; and

     (ii) any contribution by property owners to the costs of the improvements or any security given by property owners to secure payment of special assessments levied in the district.

     (5)  Any findings or determinations with respect to the factors contained in subsection (4) made by the city or town council in a resolution authorizing the undertakings and agreements or the issuance of bonds or warrants are conclusive evidence that the city or town council has taken into consideration the factors required by subsection (4).

     (6)  In lieu of the undertakings and agreements set forth in subsection (1), the city or town council may determine in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds or warrants that the revolving fund does not secure the bonds or warrants and that the bonds or warrants are payable solely from the district fund created for the bonds or warrants and do not have a claim against the revolving fund."

 

     Section 125.  Section 7-12-4252, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4252.  Judicial determination of validity of proceedings -- petition. (1) Within 10 days after the adoption of the resolution providing for the issuance of bonds under 7-12-4241 through 7-12-4258, the council may file a petition in the district court of the judicial district wherein said city or town is located to determine the validity of the proceedings theretofore had relative to the issuance of said bonds, and the creation of the supplemental revolving fund, and the levy of a special assessment.

     (2)  The petition shall set forth generally the facts in reference to the improvement, the creation of the supplemental revolving fund, and the issuance of bonds and shall have as exhibits thereto certified copies of the ordinances and resolutions and shall pray for confirmation of the proceedings and of the bond issue and the special assessments, if theretofore levied."

 

     Section 126.  Section 7-12-4255, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4255.  Contents of notice of hearing -- protest. (1) The notice must state the substance of the petition and the time and place for hearing and that any interested person or any person whose rights may be affected by the issuance or sale of the bonds or the levy of the special assessment, may, on or before the day fixed for the hearing on the petition, answer the petition and may appear at the hearing and contest the granting of the request of the petition and the entry of any order of confirmation pursuant to the petition.

     (2)  A person eligible to appear may enter an appearance in the proceedings and answer the petition and contest the granting of the request of the petition, and all provisions of the code of civil procedure are applicable to the proceedings."

 

     Section 127.  Section 7-12-4256, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4256.  Decision of district court. (1) If upon the hearing the court shall find and determine that the requirements of 7-12-4241 through 7-12-4258 have been complied with and notice of the hearing duly given as required by law, it shall have power to examine and determine the regularity, legality, and validity of the proceedings relative to the issuance of the bonds and the levy of special assessments and the legality and validity of the bonds and the special assessment and may ratify, approve, and confirm the proceedings in whole or in part and enter its judgment or decree accordingly.

     (2)  If no appeal pursuant to 7-12-4257 is taken within the time provided for in 7-12-4257 or if the judgment or decree of the district court be affirmed upon such appeal, such judgment or decree shall be forever conclusive upon all the world as to the validity of the bonds and the special assessment, and the same shall never be called into question in any court of the state."

 

     Section 128.  Section 7-12-4337, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-12-4337.  Incorporation of procedures to correct errors and omissions. All remedies, provisions, and means provided by existing laws or by the ordinances of any city availing itself of the provisions of this part which are for the correction of errors or omissions in the adoption of any resolution or proceeding or in the levy of any assessment or for the collection thereof, for the enforcement of any such levy by the sale of the property against which the assessment is made, or for the redemption of the property from such sale or which are otherwise applicable to the administration of this part are available in the administration of this part as if such remedies, provisions, and means were contained in this part."

 

     Section 129.  Section 7-13-114, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-114.  Applicable provisions of laws relating to rural improvement districts. The provisions of 7-12-2101, 7-12-2107, 7-12-2115 through 7-12-2120, 7-12-2131 through 7-12-2140, 7-12-2153, 7-12-2154, 7-12-2161 through 7-12-2165 7-12-2164, 7-12-2166(2), 7-12-2168(2), and 7-12-2169 and 7-12-2171 through 7-12-2174 pertaining to rural improvement districts apply under the provisions of this part unless in conflict with the provisions of this part."

 

     Section 130.  Section 7-13-142, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-142.  Authorization to utilize federal funds. The board of county commissioners is hereby authorized to apply for and receive from the federal government, on behalf of said metropolitan sanitary and/or storm sewer district, any money that may be appropriated by the congress for aiding in local public works projects. Likewise, the board may borrow from the federal government any funds available for assisting in the planning or financing of local public works projects and repay the same out of the money received from the tax levy provided for in this part."

 

     Section 131.  Section 7-13-144, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-144.  Resolution to establish service charges -- hearing -- limitations and tax levy. The board of county commissioners may, subject to the provisions of Title 69, chapter 7, by resolution and after public hearing:

     (1)  fix and establish the sewer rates, charges, and rentals at amounts sufficient in each year to provide income and revenue adequate for the payment of the reasonable expense of operation and maintenance of the system;

     (2)  fix and establish an additional charge for the operation and maintenance of a sanitary and storm sewer system and of a sewage treatment plant; and

     (3)  subject to 15-10-420, levy and assess a tax upon the taxable valuation of each and every lot or parcel of land and improvements on the parcel or lot in the district request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] in order to provide sufficient revenue funding for the reserve fund in an amount necessary to meet the financial requirements of the fund as described in 7-13-151 through 7-13-156."

 

     Section 132.  Section 7-13-2221, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-2221.  Powers related to district finances -- audits. (1) Any district incorporated as provided in this part may:

     (a)  accept funds and property or other assistance, financial or otherwise, from federal, state, and other public or private sources for the purposes of aiding the construction or maintenance of water or sewer development projects;

     (b)  cooperate and contract with the state or federal government or any department or agency of the state or federal government in furnishing assurances for and meeting local cooperation requirements of any project involving control, conservation, and use of water;

     (c)  borrow money and incur indebtedness and issue bonds or other evidence of indebtedness and refund or retire any indebtedness or lien that may exist against the district or property of the district;

     (d)  cause taxes to be levied in the manner provided for in part 23 and this part for the purpose of paying any obligation of the district and to accomplish the purposes of part 23 and this part in the manner provided in part 23 and this part;

     (e)  levy special assessments against property located in the district and benefited by any of its improvements, as provided in 7-13-2280 through 7-13-2289, request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] and pledge the collections of the special assessments in whole or in part, with any other revenue of the district, to the payment of bonds issued pursuant to part 23; and

     (f)  enter into covenants and agreements as to the establishment and maintenance of reasonable rates and charges for the use of its systems or improvements or any part of the systems or improvements as required, in the judgment of the board of directors, for the favorable sale of bonds issued pursuant to part 23, including, without limitation, a covenant to establish and maintain rates and charges sufficient, with the collection of any special assessments, to pay debt service and operating, maintenance, and replacement costs of the system or improvement and fund necessary reserves or a covenant to establish and maintain rates and charges sufficient, with the collection of any special assessments, to pay operating and maintenance costs of the system or improvement, fund necessary reserves for the system or improvement, and pay debt service on bonds and to provide additional funds necessary for the purposes of the system or improvement or to provide assurance to the holders of bonds as to the sufficiency of the revenue.

     (2)  The board of directors shall cause an audit of the financial records of the district to be made in compliance with the requirements of Title 2, chapter 7, part 5, at the expense of the district."

 

     Section 133.  Section 7-13-2301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-2301.  Establishment of charges for services -- payment of charges funding. (1) The board of directors shall fix all water and sewer rates and shall, through the general manager, collect sales and use tax account revenue as provided in [section 1] to support the the sewer charges and the charges for the sale and distribution of water to all users.

     (2)  (a) The board, in furnishing water, sewer service, other services, and facilities, shall review, at least once every year, and set, as required, the rate, fee, toll, rent, tax, or other charge for the services, facilities, and benefits directly afforded by the facilities, taking into account services provided and direct benefits received. Taking into account the collections of any special assessments levied pursuant to 7-13-2280 through 7-13-2290 and any property taxes that will be levied to pay debt service on general obligation bonds authorized pursuant to 7-13-2331, the amount to be collected and appropriated, which must be sufficient in each year to provide income and revenue adequate for the:

     (i)  payment of the reasonable expense of operation and maintenance of the facilities;

     (ii) administration of the district;

     (iii) payment of principal and interest on any bonded or other indebtedness of the district;

     (iv) establishment or maintenance of any required reserves, including reserves needed for expenditures for depreciation and replacement of facilities, as may be determined necessary from time to time by the board or as covenanted in the ordinance or resolution authorizing the outstanding bonds of the district; and

     (v)  payment of rates, fees, and charges levied by a regional authority established pursuant to Title 75, chapter 6, part 3.

     (b)  A portion of the rate, fee, toll, rent, tax, or other charge revenue provided for in subsection (2)(a) may be charged to the owner of an undeveloped lot, tract, or parcel used to pay a share of the principal of and interest on bonded indebtedness issued to finance the capital cost of improvements to an existing water or sewer system, so long as the board makes findings in a resolution or ordinance of the district that demonstrate that the improvements to the existing system to be financed by the bonded indebtedness confer a direct benefit on the lot, tract, or parcel.

     (3)  A person or entity may not use any facility without paying the rate established for the facility. In the event of nonpayment, the board may order the discontinuance of water or sewer service, or both, to the property and may require that all delinquent charges, interest, penalties, and deposits be paid before restoration of the service.

     (4)  (a) If the board has ordered discontinuance of service as provided in subsection (3) and the person or entity who received the service has not made full payment of all delinquent charges, interest, penalties, and deposits, then a district may elect to have its delinquent charges for water or sewer services collected as a tax against the property by following the procedures of this subsection (4). If a charge for services is due and payable in a fiscal year and is not paid by the end of the fiscal year, the general manager shall, by July 15 of the succeeding fiscal year, give notice to the owners of the property to which the service was provided. The notice must be in writing and:

     (i)  must specify the charges owed, including any interest and penalty;

     (ii) must specify that the amount due must be paid by August 15 or it will be levied as a tax against the property;

     (iii) must state that the district may institute suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover the amount due; and

     (iv) may be served on the owner personally or by letter addressed to the post-office address of the owner as recorded in the county assessor's office.

     (b)  On September 1 of each year, the general manager shall certify and file with the county assessor a list of all property, including legal descriptions, on which arrearages remain unpaid. The list must include the amount of each arrearage, including interest and penalty. The county assessor shall assess the amount owed as a tax against each lot or parcel with an arrearage. If the property on which arrearages remain unpaid contains a mobile home, the amount owed must be assessed as a tax against the owner of the mobile home. If the mobile home for which arrearages remain unpaid is no longer on the property, the amount owed must be assessed as a tax against the property.

     (5)  In addition to collecting delinquent charges in the same manner as a tax, a district may bring suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect amounts due as a debt owed to the district.

     (6)  Notwithstanding any other section of part 22 or this part or any limitation imposed in part 22 or this part, when the board has applied for and received from the federal government any money for the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities, the board may adopt a system of charges and rates to require that each recipient of facility services pays its proportionate share of the costs of operation, maintenance, and replacement and may require industrial users of facilities to pay the portion of the cost of construction of the facilities that is allocable to the treatment of that industrial user's wastes."

 

     Section 134.  Section 7-13-2302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-2302.  Levy of taxes Supplemental funding to meet bond obligations and other expenses. (1) If for any reason the revenue of the district is inadequate to pay the interest or principal of any bonded debt as it becomes due, exclusive of revenue or special assessment bonded indebtedness incurred pursuant to 7-13-2333 or bonded indebtedness incurred to refund the revenue or special assessment bonded indebtedness without authorization at an election, or any other expenses or claims against the district, then the board of directors shall, at least 15 days before the first day of the month in which the board of county commissioners of the county, city and county, or counties in which the district is located are required by law to levy the amount of taxes required for county or city and county purposes, furnish to the board or boards of county commissioners and to the auditor or auditors, respectively, an estimate in writing:

     (a)  of the amount of money required by the district for the payment of the principal of or interest on any bonded debt as it becomes due;

     (b)  of the amount of money required to establish reasonable reserve funds for either purpose, together with a description of the lands benefited by the bonds, as stated by the board of directors in the resolution declaring the necessity to incur bonded indebtedness; and

     (c)  of the amount of money required by the district for any other purpose set forth in this section.

     (2)  The board of county commissioners of the county or city and county, annually, at the time and in the manner of levying other county or city and county taxes, shall:

     (a)  until any bonded debt is fully paid, levy upon the benefited lands and collect the proportionate share to be borne by the land located in their county of a tax sufficient for the payment of the bonded debt, to be known as the ...... district bond tax; and

     (b)  until all other expenses or claims are fully paid, levy upon all of the lands of the district and collect the proportionate share to be borne by the land located in their county of a tax sufficient for the payment of the other expenses or claims, to be known as the ....... district water and/or sewer tax annually request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (3)  Taxes for the payment of any bonded debt must be levied on the property benefited, as stated by the board of directors in the resolution declaring the necessity for the bonds, and all taxes for other purposes must be levied on all property in the territory comprising the district."

 

     Section 135.  Section 7-13-2321, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-2321.  Procedure to incur bonded indebtedness. (1) Whenever the board of directors considers it necessary for the district to incur a bonded indebtedness, other than for indebtedness to refund bonded indebtedness as provided for in 7-13-2332 or revenue or special indebtedness incurred pursuant to 7-13-2333, it shall by resolution state the purpose for the proposed debt, the land within the district to be benefited, the amount of debt to be incurred, the maximum term for the proposed bonds before maturity, and the proposition to be submitted to the qualified electors.

     (2)  If no qualified electors reside in the district at the time of adoption of the resolution or if the proposition is approved by all of the real property owners in the district to be benefited in a certificate of approval to be presented to the board of directors, the board of directors may incur the bonded indebtedness without an election. The board of directors may by resolution, at times that it considers proper, provide for the form and execution of the bonds and for their issuance."

 

     Section 136.  Section 7-13-2349, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-2349.  Establishment of subdistricts. (1) The board of directors may establish one or more subdistricts within a district to provide for and finance the cost of water or sewer projects, improvements, or extensions that would benefit land in the subdistrict but not other land in the district. Before establishing a subdistrict, the board shall conduct a public hearing on the establishment of the proposed subdistrict after 10 days' notice published in a newspaper of general circulation in the district. The notice of public hearing must contain a description of the subdistrict and the proposed water or sewer project and its estimated cost. After the public hearing, the board of directors may, by resolution, establish the subdistrict if it finds that it is in the best interests of the owners of the land in the subdistrict and the district wishing to establish the subdistrict, that the subdistrict constitutes all land in the district benefited by the proposed water or sewer project, and that the establishment of the subdistrict and the financing of water or sewer projects for the benefit of the subdistrict will not violate any covenants of the district made with owners of outstanding bonds of the district.

     (2)  The board shall describe in the resolution establishing the subdistrict the land to be included in the subdistrict. The land does not need to be contiguous but must be located within the district and must constitute all of the land in the district benefited by the proposed water or sewer project.

     (3)  Following the establishment of a subdistrict, the board of directors may undertake and finance water or sewer projects, improvements, or extensions that benefit land in the subdistrict but not other land in the district, as provided in Title 7, chapter 13, parts 22 and 23, including but not limited to the incurrence of bonded indebtedness to finance costs and the levy of special assessments or the imposition of rates and charges, all subject to any covenants made with owners of outstanding bonds of the district. If general obligation bonds are to be issued to finance the costs of the projects, the subdistrict must be treated as the district for the purposes of 7-13-2331.

     (4)  The powers granted in this section are supplementary to the powers otherwise granted to county water and sewer districts."

 

     Section 137.  Section 7-13-3027, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-3027.  Resolution to establish service charges -- hearing -- limitations and tax levy. The governing body may, subject to the provisions of Title 69, chapter 7, by resolution and after public hearing:

     (1)  establish the rates, charges, and rentals in amounts sufficient in each year to provide income and revenue adequate for the payment of the reasonable expense of operation and maintenance of the system; and

     (2)  establish an additional charge for the operation and maintenance of a system and a plant; and

     (3)  subject to 15-10-420, levy and assess a tax upon the taxable valuation of each and every lot or parcel of land and improvements in the district to provide sufficient revenue for the reserve fund in an amount necessary to meet the financial requirements of the fund as described in 7-13-3034 through 7-13-3039."

 

     Section 138.  Section 7-13-3029, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-3029.  Preparation and filing of district budget. (1) Not less than 30 days prior to the date of the public hearing on the resolution, the governing body shall prepare and file in the office of the clerk of the local government in which the district is located and in the office of the governing body a complete, detailed budget for operation and maintenance of the system, showing all income and expenditures for the year prior to the hearing and all estimated income and expenditures for the next ensuing year in which the levy is assessed.

     (2)  The provisions of law relating to local government budgets and expenditures must be complied with by the district."

 

     Section 139.  Section 7-13-3031, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-3031.  Authorization to use federal funds. The governing body may apply for and receive from the federal government, on behalf of the district, any money that may be appropriated by congress for aiding in local public works projects. The governing body may borrow from the federal government any funds available for assisting in the planning or financing of local public works projects and repay the loan out of the money received from the tax levy provided for in this part."

 

     Section 140.  Section 7-13-3043, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-3043.  Applicable provisions of laws relating to rural improvement districts. The provisions of 7-12-2101, 7-12-2107, 7-12-2115 through 7-12-2120, 7-12-2131 through 7-12-2140, 7-12-2153, 7-12-2154, 7-12-2161 through 7-12-2165 7-12-2164, 7-12-2166(2), 7-12-2168(2), 7-12-2169, and 7-12-2171 through 7-12-2174 pertaining to rural improvement districts apply to this part unless in conflict with the provisions of this part."

 

     Section 141.  Section 7-13-4406, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-4406.  Control over territory occupied by water supply system -- taxation and condemnation powers. (1) Cities and towns have jurisdiction and control:

     (a)  over the territory occupied by their public works;

     (b)  over and along the line of reservoirs, streams, trenches, pipes, drains, and other appurtenances used in the construction and operation of the public works; and

     (c)  over the source of streams from which water is taken for the enforcement of its sanitary ordinances, the abatement of nuisances, and the general preservation of the purity of its water supply.

     (2)  Cities and towns may enact all ordinances and regulations necessary to implement subsection (1). For this purpose, the city or town may condemn private property in the manner provided in Title 70, chapter 30, and may levy a tax on all consumers of water for the purpose of defraying the expenses of procurement."

 

     Section 142.  Section 7-13-4502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-4502.  Definitions. As used in this part, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Board of directors" means the board of directors provided for in 7-13-4516 or a joint board of directors provided for in 7-13-4527.

     (2)  "Board of environmental review" means the board of environmental review as provided in 2-15-3502.

     (3)  "Commissioners" means the board of county commissioners or the governing body of a city-county consolidated government.

     (4)  "Family residential unit" means a single-family dwelling.

     (5)  "Fee-assessed units" means all real property with improvements, including taxable and tax-exempt property as shown on the property assessment records maintained by the county, and mobile homes and manufactured homes as defined in 15-24-201.

     (6) "Housetrailer" means a form of housing designed to be moved from one place to another by an independent power connected to the housetrailer, which is either 8 feet wide or less or 45 feet long or less.

     (6)(7)  "Local water quality district" means an area established with definite boundaries for the purpose of protecting, preserving, and improving the quality of surface water and ground water in the district as authorized by this part.

     (8) "Manufactured home" means a residential dwelling built in a factory in accordance with the United States department of housing and urban development code and the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. A manufactured home does not include a mobile home or a housetrailer.

     (9) "Mobile home" means forms of housing known as "trailers", "housetrailers", or "trailer coaches" exceeding 8 feet in width or 45 feet in length, designed to be moved from one place to another by an independent power connected to the mobile home or any trailer, housetrailer, or trailer coach up to 8 feet in width or 45 feet in length used as a principal residence."

 

     Section 143.  Section 7-14-111, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-111.  Transportation for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, a A county, urban transportation district, or municipality may levy property taxes to fund special transportation services request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

     (2)  The proceeds of the levy funding may be used to:

     (a)  contract with public or private transportation providers for services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities; or

     (b)  augment or subsidize provisions for the transportation of senior citizens and individuals with disabilities provided by public transportation providers.

     (3)  If the taxing jurisdiction county, urban transportation district, or municipality determines that it is not in the best interest of senior citizens and individuals with disabilities to use the tax levy funding as provided for in subsection (2), the taxing jurisdiction county, urban transportation district, or municipality may use the proceeds of the levy funding to establish and operate an independent transportation system for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

     (4)  Counties, urban transportation districts, and municipalities are encouraged to enter into interlocal agreements to provide regional transportation services to senior citizens and persons with disabilities and may create regional advisory committees to coordinate regional transportation services."

 

     Section 144.  Section 7-14-1111, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-1111.  General powers of authority. An authority has all the powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this part, including but not limited to the power to:

     (1)  subject to 15-10-420, request annually the amount of tax to be levied by the governing body funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for port purposes, which request the governing body may in its discretion approve for port purposes;

     (2)  sue and be sued, have a seal, and have perpetual succession;

     (3)  execute contracts and other instruments and take other action that may be necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this part;

     (4)  plan, establish, acquire, develop, construct, purchase, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip, operate, regulate, and protect transportation, storage, or other facilities. For these purposes an authority may, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, or otherwise, acquire real or personal property or any interest in property, including easements.

     (5)  establish comprehensive port zoning regulations in accordance with the laws of this state;

     (6)  acquire, by purchase, gift, devise, lease, or otherwise, existing transportation, storage, or other facilities that may be necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this part. However, an authority may not acquire or take over any transportation, storage, or other facility owned or controlled by another authority, county, municipality, or public agency without the consent of the authority, county, municipality, or public agency.

     (7)  provide financial and other support to organizations in its jurisdiction, including corporations organized under the provisions of the development corporation act in Title 32, chapter 4, whose purpose is to promote, stimulate, develop, and advance the general welfare, economic development, and prosperity of its jurisdiction and of the state and its citizens by stimulating, assisting in, and supporting the growth of all kinds of economic activity, including the creation, expansion, modernization, retention, and relocation of new and existing businesses and industry in the state, all of which will tend to promote business development, maintain the economic stability and prosperity of the state, and thus provide maximum opportunities for employment and improvement in the standards of living of citizens of the state."

 

     Section 145.  Section 7-14-1131, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-1131.  Municipal tax levy supplemental funding. Subject to 15-10-420, the The port authority may request funding annually from the governing bodies the amount of tax to be levied by each municipality participating in the creation of the port authority, and the municipality may levy the amount requested, pursuant to provisions of law authorizing cities and other political subdivisions of this state to levy taxes. The municipality shall collect the taxes requested by a port authority that it has authorized in the same manner as other taxes are levied and collected and make payment to the port authority by submitting a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]. The proceeds of the taxes when and as paid to the port authority received from the state must be deposited in a special account or accounts in which other revenue of the authority is deposited and may be expended by the authority as provided for in this part. Prior to the issuance of bonds under 7-14-1133 and 7-14-1134, the port authority or the municipality may by resolution covenant and agree that the total amount of taxes revenue received then authorized by law, or the portion of the taxes revenue received that may be specified by the resolution, will be requested, levied, and deposited annually as provided in this section until the bonds and interest are fully paid."

 

     Section 146.  Section 7-14-1133, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-1133.  Bonds and obligations. (1) Except for providing financial support to a private development organization, including a corporation organized under Title 32, chapter 4, whose purpose is to advance the economic development of its jurisdiction and of the state and its citizens, an authority may borrow money for any of its corporate purposes and issue bonds, including refunding bonds, for any of its corporate purposes. The bonds may be in the form and upon terms as it determines, payable out of any revenue of the authority, including revenue derived from:

     (a)  any port or transportation and storage facility;

     (b)  taxes levied funding received pursuant to 7-14-1131 or 67-10-402;

     (c)  grants or contributions from the federal government; or

     (d)  other sources.

     (2)  The bonds may be issued by resolution of the authority, without an election and without any limitation of amount, except that bonds may not be issued at any time if the total amount of principal and interest to become due in any year on the bonds and on any then outstanding bonds for which revenue from the same source is pledged exceeds the amount of revenue to be received in that year, as estimated in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the bonds. The authority shall take all action necessary and possible to impose, maintain, and collect rates, charges, and rentals and to request taxes, if any are pledged, sufficient to make the revenue from the pledged source in such year at least equal to the amount of principal and interest due in that year.

     (3)  The bonds may be sold at public or private sale and may bear interest as provided in 17-5-102. Except as otherwise provided in this part, any bonds issued pursuant to this part by an authority may be payable as to principal and interest solely from revenue of the authority or from particular port, transportation, storage, or other facilities of the authority. The bonds must state on their face the applicable limitations or restrictions regarding the source from which principal and interest are payable.

     (4)  Bonds issued by an authority, county, or municipality pursuant to the provisions of this part are declared to be issued for an essential public and governmental purpose by a political subdivision within the meaning of 15-30-2110(2)(a).

     (5)  (a) For the security of bonds, the authority, county, or municipality may by resolution make and enter into any covenant, agreement, or indenture and may exercise any additional powers authorized to be exercised by a municipality under Title 7, chapter 7, parts 44 and 45. The sums required from time to time to pay principal and interest and to create and maintain a reserve for the bonds may be paid from any revenue referred to in this part, prior to the payment of current costs of operation and maintenance of the facilities.

     (b)  As further security for the bonds, the authority, with the approval of the governing body of the county or municipality that created the authority, may pledge, lease, sell, mortgage, or grant a security interest in all or any portion of its port, transportation, storage, or other facilities, whether or not the facilities are financed by the bonds. The instrument effecting the pledge, lease, sale, mortgage, or security interest may contain any agreements and provisions customarily contained in instruments securing bonds, as the commissioners of the authority consider advisable. The provisions must be consistent with this part and are subject to and must be in accordance with the laws of this state governing mortgages, trust indentures, security agreements, or instruments. The instrument may provide that in the event of a default in the payment of principal or interest on the bonds or in the performance of any agreement contained in the proceedings authorizing the bonds or instrument, the payment or performance may be enforced by mandamus or by the appointment of a receiver in equity. The receiver may collect charges, rental, or fees and may apply the revenue from the mortgaged property or collateral in accordance with the proceedings or the provisions of the instrument.

     (6)  Nothing in this section or 7-14-1134 may be construed to limit the use of port authority revenue, including federal and state money as described in 7-14-1136, to make grants and loans or to otherwise provide financial and other support to private development organizations, including corporations organized under the provisions of the development corporation act in Title 32, chapter 4. The credit of the state, county, or municipal governments or their agencies or authorities may not be pledged to provide financial support to the development organizations."

 

     Section 147.  Section 7-14-1134, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-1134.  Method of funding deficiency -- election required. (1) Subject to the conditions stated in this section, the governing body of a county or of a municipality having a population in excess of 10,000 may by resolution covenant that if at any time all revenue, including taxes, sales and use tax account revenue provided in [section 1], appropriated and collected for bonds issued pursuant to this part is insufficient to pay principal or interest then due, it will levy a general tax on all of the taxable property in the county or municipality shall submit a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the payment of the deficiency. The governing body may further covenant that at any time a deficiency is likely to occur within 1 year for the payment of principal and interest due on the bonds, it will levy a general tax on all the taxable property in the county or municipality shall submit a request for funding to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the payment of the deficiency. The taxes are not subject to any limitation of rate or amount applicable to other county or municipal taxes but are request is limited to a rate an amount estimated to be sufficient to produce the amount of the deficiency. If more than one local government is included in an authority issuing bonds pursuant to this part, the local governments may apportion the obligation to levy taxes provide funding for the payment of, or in anticipation of, a deficiency in the revenue appropriated for the bonds in a manner that the local governments may determine.

     (2)  The resolution must state the principal amount and purpose of the bonds and the substance of the covenant respecting deficiencies.

     (3)  A resolution is not effective until the question of its approval has been submitted to the qualified electors of the local government at an election called for that purpose by the governing body of the local government and held as provided in 15-10-425 and the question is approved by a majority of the electors voting.

     (4)  If a majority of the electors voting on the issue vote against approval of the resolution, the local government may not make the covenant or levy a tax for the payment of deficiencies pursuant to this section. The local government or authority may issue bonds under this part payable solely from the sources referred to in 7-14-1133(1)."

 

     Section 148.  Section 7-14-1632, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-1632.  Mill levy Funding authorized. The authority may certify annually to the board of county commissioners the amount of money necessary for the operation of the authority. Upon approval by the electorate, the board shall annually, at the time of levying county taxes, fix and levy a tax in mills upon all property within the boundaries of the authority clearly sufficient to raise the amount certified by the authority. The authority may utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 149.  Section 7-14-2101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-2101.  General powers of county relating to roads and bridges -- definitions. (1) The board of county commissioners, under the limitations and restrictions that are prescribed by law, may:

     (a)  (i) lay out, maintain, control, and manage county roads and bridges within the county;

     (ii) subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the laying out, maintenance, control, and management of the county roads and bridges within the county as provided by law;

     (b)  (i) in the exercise of sound discretion, jointly with other counties, lay out, maintain, control, manage, and improve county roads and bridges in adjacent counties, wholly or in part as agreed upon between the boards of the counties concerned;

     (ii) subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the laying out, maintenance, control, management, and improvement of county roads and bridges in adjacent counties or shared jointly with other counties, as agreed upon between the boards of the counties concerned and as provided by law;

     (c)  (i) enter into agreements for adjusted annual contributions over not more than 6 years toward the cost of joint highway or bridge construction projects entered into in cooperation with other counties, the state, or the United States;

     (ii) subject to 15-10-420, place a joint project in the budget and levy taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for a joint project as provided by law.

     (2)  (a) Following a public hearing, a board of county commissioners may accept by resolution a road that has not previously been considered a county road but that has been laid out, constructed, and maintained with state department of transportation or county funds.

     (b)  A survey is not required of an existing county road that is accepted by resolution by a board of county commissioners.

     (c)  A road that is abandoned by the state may be designated as a county road upon the acceptance and approval by resolution of a board of county commissioners.

     (3)  The board of county commissioners may adopt regulations for unincorporated areas within a county governing:

     (a)  the assignment of numerical physical addresses except for roads under the jurisdiction of a federal, state, or tribal entity if that entity objects to the assignment; and

     (b)  the naming of roads except roads under the jurisdiction of a federal, state, or tribal entity unless that entity consents to the naming.

     (4)  Unless the context requires otherwise, for the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  "Bridge" includes rights-of-way or other interest in land, abutments, superstructures, piers, and approaches except dirt fills.

     (b)  "County road" means:

     (i)  a road that is petitioned by freeholders, approved by resolution, and opened by a board of county commissioners in accordance with this title;

     (ii) a road that is dedicated for public use in the county and approved by resolution by a board of county commissioners;

     (iii) a road that has been acquired by eminent domain pursuant to Title 70, chapter 30, and accepted by resolution as a county road by a board of county commissioners;

     (iv) a road that has been gained by the county in an exchange with the state as provided in 60-4-201; or

     (v)  a road that has been the subject of a request under 7-14-2622 and for which a legal route has been recognized by a district court as provided in 7-14-2622."

 

     Section 150.  Section 7-14-2502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-2502.  Special bridge tax authorized -- combined ferry and bridge fund. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, a A board may levy a special tax on all taxable property in the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and repairing free public bridges, which includes those bridges within the municipalities.

     (2)  For the purposes of this section, a free public bridge is defined as any drainage structure located on, over, or through any road or highway.

     (3)  These taxes must be levied and collected in the same manner as other taxes. Except that when When the county has a combined ferry and bridge fund, the money funding must be kept as a special bridge fund, subject to the order of the board for use as provided in this section and may not be transferable to any other fund.

     (4)  If a county owns or operates a public ferry, the board may combine into a single fund the revenue from funding received pursuant to [section 11] for the county public ferry tax levy authorized in 7-14-2807, the revenue from the special funding received pursuant to [section 11] for municipal bridge levy authorized in 7-14-2503, and the revenue from the levy bridges, and funding received pursuant to [section 11] and authorized by this section. The fund may be used for any lawful purpose authorized for bridges in this part or in Title 7, chapter 14, part 22, or for public ferries in Title 7, chapter 14, part 28."

 

     Section 151.  Section 7-14-2801, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-2801.  General powers of county relating to ferries. The board of county commissioners, under limitations and restrictions as are prescribed by law, may:

     (1)  lay out, maintain, control, and manage county ferries within the county and, subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for county ferries as provided by law;

     (2)  in the exercise of sound discretion, jointly with other counties, lay out, maintain, control, manage, and improve county ferries in adjacent counties, wholly or in part as may be agreed upon between the boards of the counties concerned, and subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes as provided by law request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 152.  Section 7-14-4109, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4109.  Power to order certain improvements without creation of special improvement district. (1) Without the formation of a special improvement district, the city council may order sidewalks, curbs, or gutters constructed in front of any lot or parcel of land and may order alley approaches constructed or replaced adjacent to any lot or parcel of land.

     (2)  Whenever the council orders a sidewalk, curb, or gutter constructed or an alley approach constructed or replaced, the order must be entered upon the minutes of the council and must name the street along which the sidewalk, curb, or gutter is to be constructed or along which the alley approach is to be constructed or replaced.

     (3)  After issuing an order, the council shall provide a written notice to the owner or agent of the owner and to any purchaser under contract for deed of the property or the owners or agents of all adjacent owners having access to their properties by the alley approach, as appropriate.

     (4)  If the owner or agent of the owner of a lot or parcel of land or if the owners or agents of all adjacent owners having access to their property by the alley approach fail or neglect for a period of 30 days after the date of service of the notice to cause the sidewalk, curb, or gutter to be constructed or to cause the alley approaches to be constructed or replaced, the city may construct or cause the sidewalk, curb, or gutter to be constructed or may construct or cause the alley approach to be constructed and shall assess the cost of those improvements, including engineering costs and the costs enumerated in 7-12-4121 and 7-12-4169, against the property in front of which those improvements are constructed or against the lots or parcels of land having access via the constructed alley approaches. The collection of the assessed costs is provided in 7-12-4181 through 7-12-4191.

     (5)  (a) When any sidewalk, curb, or gutter or alley approach is constructed by or under direction of the city council, payment for the construction must be made by special warrants or bonds in a form that is prescribed by ordinance or resolution and drawn against a fund to be known as the special sidewalk, curb, and gutter fund or the special alley approach fund. The council may provide for the payment of interest annually or semiannually. Except as otherwise expressly provided in 7-14-4110 and this section, the warrants or bonds that the city council authorizes may be issued subject to the terms and security provisions provided in Title 7, chapter 12, parts 41 and 42.

     (b)  The warrants drawn on the special alley approach fund shall bear interest at a rate pursuant to 17-5-102."

 

     Section 153.  Section 7-14-4404, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4404.  Tax levy Funding for contracts to operate bus service. For the purpose of raising the necessary money to defray the cost of the transportation service authorized by 7-14-4401(2) pursuant to a contract, lease, or lease and operating agreement with an independent carrier or carriers, the city or town council may annually levy a tax on the taxable value of all taxable property within the limits of the city or town. Whenever the council of the city or town considers it necessary to raise money by taxation for transportation services in excess of the levy allowed by 15-10-420, the council of the city or town shall in the manner prescribed by law submit the question of the additional levy to the qualified electors of the city or town at an election held pursuant to 15-10-425 utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 154.  Section 7-14-4644, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4644.  Restrictions on use of reserve to make payments on revenue bonds. The funds from which the transfers authorized by 7-14-4643(2)(g) are made must be reimbursed from the next collections of other revenue enumerated in 7-14-4643 that is not needed for full compliance with provisions of indentures securing all outstanding obligations of the commission. This section does not permit the levy of taxes at any time in excess of the deficiency existing in the reserve, but subject to 15-10-420, a tax as may be needed, with other funds determined by the legislative body to be available to meet the deficiency, may be levied."

 

     Section 155.  Section 7-14-4666, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4666.  Exemption from execution for property of parking commission -- exception. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), all real property of a commission shall be exempt from levy and sale by virtue of an execution, and no execution or other judicial process shall issue against the same, nor shall any judgment against a commission be a charge or lien upon its real property.

     (2)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to or limit the right of obligees to foreclose or otherwise enforce any mortgage, deed of trust, or other encumbrance of a commission or the right of obligees to pursue any remedies for the enforcement of any pledge or lien given by a commission on its rents, fees, or revenues."

 

     Section 156.  Section 7-14-4703, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4703.  Provision for payment of damages due to creation of pedestrian mall. When the public interest or convenience requires, the governing body of a municipality may pay, from general funds of the municipality or other available money or from the proceeds of assessments levied on lands benefited by the establishment of a pedestrian mall, the damages, if any, allowed or awarded to any property owner by reason of the establishment of a pedestrian mall. The resolution of intention must contain a statement that, subject to 15-10-420, an assessment will be levied to pay the whole or a stated portion of damages, if any, allowed or awarded to any property owner by reason of the establishment of the pedestrian mall."

 

     Section 157.  Section 7-14-4712, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4712.  Procedure upon receipt of petition from all property owners within proposed district. If a petition for the formation of an improvement district under the provisions of 7-14-4711 is presented to the governing body purporting to be signed by all of the real property owners in the proposed district, exclusive of mortgagees and other lienholders, the governing body, after verifying the ownership and making a finding of the fact, shall adopt a resolution of intention to order the improvement, as provided in 7-12-4104 and 7-12-4117, and may adopt the resolution ordering the improvement pursuant to 7-14-4711, 7-14-4712, and 7-14-4714 through 7-14-4723 without the publication of the resolution of intention provided for in 7-12-4106. However, if special improvement district bonds are proposed to be issued and secured by the revolving fund, the requirements of 7-12-4106, 7-12-4108 through 7-12-4110, 7-12-4112 through 7-12-4114, 7-12-4169, 7-12-4189, 7-12-4222, 7-12-4223, and 7-12-4225 must be met by the governing body."

 

     Section 158.  Section 7-14-4731, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4731.  Authorization for improvement districts to lease and operate offstreet parking facilities. (1) In addition to the purposes for which an improvement district may be formed under the provisions of 7-12-4301, 7-14-4701, and 7-14-4711, an improvement district may be formed for the sole purpose of leasing real property to be used as offstreet parking sites; for the improvement of such offstreet parking sites by grading, paving, ordering the installation of lighting poles, wires, conduits, lamps, standards, and other appliances for the purpose of lighting and beautifying the offstreet parking areas and entrances thereto; and for the operation and maintenance thereof.

     (2)  Subject to the powers granted and the limitations contained in this section, 7-12-4131, 7-12-4301(2), 7-12-4327, 7-14-4701 through 7-14-4704, 7-14-4711, 7-14-4712, through 7-14-4714, and 7-14-4733, and 7-14-4735 through 7-14-4737, the powers and duties of the governing body of the municipality and the procedure to be followed shall be as provided in parts 41 and 42 of chapter 12 for other types of special improvement districts.

     (3)  No improvement district formed under provisions of this section shall be authorized to engage in any activity other than the leasing of offstreet parking sites and the improvement, operation, and maintenance of same.

     (4)  The formation of an improvement district for offstreet parking purposes under the provisions of this section shall not prevent the subsequent establishment of improvement districts for any other purpose authorized by law."

 

     Section 159.  Section 7-15-4260, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4260.  Exemption from levy and sale for certain property. All property of a municipality, including funds, owned or held by it for the purposes of this part and part 43 shall be exempt from levy and sale by virtue of an execution, and no execution or other judicial process shall issue against the same nor shall judgment against a municipality be a charge or lien upon such property; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to or limit the right of obligees to pursue any remedies for the enforcement of any pledge or lien given pursuant to this part or part 43 by a municipality on an urban renewal project or the rents, fees, grants, or revenues derived from these projects."

 

     Section 160.  Section 7-15-4279, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4279.  Targeted economic development districts. (1) A local government may, by ordinance and following a public hearing, authorize the creation of a targeted economic development district in support of value-adding economic development projects. The purpose of the district is the development of infrastructure to encourage the location and retention of value-adding projects in the state.

     (2)  A targeted economic development district:

     (a)  must consist of a continuous area with an accurately described boundary that is large enough to host a diversified tenant base of multiple independent tenants;

     (b)  must be zoned:

     (i)  for uses by a local government under Title 76, chapter 2, part 2 or 3, in accordance with the area growth policy, as defined in 76-1-103; or

     (ii) if a county has not adopted a growth policy, then for uses in accordance with the development pattern and zoning regulations or the development district adopted under Title 76, chapter 2, part 1;

     (c)  may not comprise any property included within an existing tax increment financing district;

     (d)  must, prior to its creation, be found to be deficient in infrastructure improvements as stated in the resolution of necessity adopted under 7-15-4280;

     (e)  must, prior to its creation, have in place a comprehensive development plan adopted by the local governments that ensures that the district can host a diversified tenant base of multiple independent tenants; and

     (f)  may not be designed to serve the needs of a single district tenant or group of nonindependent tenants.

     (3)  The local government may use tax increment financing pursuant to the provisions of 7-15-4282 through 7-15-4294 sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] for the targeted economic development district. If the local government uses tax increment financing sales and use tax revenue, the use of and purpose for tax increment of the financing must be specified in the comprehensive development plan required in subsection (2)(e).

     (4)  For the purposes of 7-15-4277 through 7-15-4280:

     (a)  "secondary value-added products or commodities" means products or commodities that are manufactured, processed, produced, or created by changing the form of raw materials or intermediate products into more valuable products or commodities that are capable of being sold or traded in interstate commerce;

     (b)  "secondary value-adding industry" means a business that produces secondary value-added products or commodities or a business or organization that is engaged in technology-based operations within Montana that, through the employment of knowledge or labor, adds value to a product, process, or export service resulting in the creation of new wealth."

 

     Section 161.  Section 7-15-4281, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4281.  Financial authority in connection with urban renewal. (1) A municipality shall have power to:

     (a)  borrow money and apply for and accept advances, loans, grants, contributions, and any other form of financial assistance for the purposes of this part and enter into and carry out contracts in connection with the financial assistance from:

     (i)  the federal government;

     (ii) the state, a county, or any other public body; or

     (iii) any sources, public or private;

     (b)  (i)  appropriate funds and make expenditures as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this part; and

     (ii) subject to 15-10-420 and in accordance with state law, levy taxes and assessments for the purposes of this part;

     (c)  invest any urban renewal project funds held in reserves or sinking funds or any funds that are not required for immediate disbursement in property or securities in which mutual savings banks may legally invest funds subject to their control;

     (d)  adopt, in accordance with state law, annual budgets for the operation of an urban renewal agency, department, or office vested with urban renewal project powers under 7-15-4231;

     (e)  enter, in accordance with state law, into agreements, which may extend over any period, with agencies or departments vested with urban renewal project powers under 7-15-4231 respecting action to be taken by the municipality pursuant to any of the powers granted by part 43 or this part;

     (f)  close, vacate, plan, or replan streets, roads, sidewalks, ways, or other places and plan or replan, zone or rezone any part of the municipality in accordance with state law.

     (2)  A municipality may include in any application or contract for financial assistance with the federal government for an urban renewal project the conditions imposed pursuant to federal laws that the municipality may consider reasonable and appropriate and that are not inconsistent with the purposes of part 43 and this part."

 

     Section 162.  Section 7-15-4283, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4283.  Definitions related to tax increment financing supplemental sales and use tax funding. For purposes of 7-15-4277 through 7-15-4280, and 7-15-4282 7-15-4283, 7-15-4284, 7-15-4288 through 7-15-4294 7-14-4290, and 7-15-4292, the following definitions apply unless otherwise provided or indicated by the context:

     (1)  "Actual taxable value" means the taxable value of all taxable property at any time, as calculated from the property tax record.

     (2)  "Base taxable value" means the actual taxable value of all taxable property within an urban renewal area or targeted economic development district as it appears on the property tax record prior to the effective date of a tax increment financing provision. This value may be adjusted as provided in 7-15-4287 or 7-15-4293.

     (3)  "Incremental taxable value" means the amount, if any, by which the actual taxable value at any time exceeds the base taxable value of all taxable property within an urban renewal area or targeted economic development district.

     (4)(1)  "Local government", for the purposes of a targeted economic development district, means any incorporated city or town, a county, or a city-county consolidated local government.

     (5)(2)  "Targeted economic development district" means a district created pursuant to 7-15-4277 through 7-15-4280.

     (6)  "Tax increment" means the collections realized from extending the tax levies, expressed in mills, of all taxing bodies in which the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district or a part of the area or district is located against the incremental taxable value.

     (7)  "Tax increment provision" means a provision for the segregation and application of tax increments as authorized by 7-15-4282 through 7-15-4294.

     (8)  "Taxes" means all taxes levied by a taxing body against property on an ad valorem basis.

     (9)  "Taxing body" means any incorporated city or town, county, city-county consolidated local government, school district, or other political subdivision or governmental unit of the state, including the state, that levies taxes against property within the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district."

 

     Section 163.  Section 7-15-4284, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4284.  Filing of tax increment provisions plan or district ordinance. (1) The clerk of the local government shall provide a certified copy of the ordinance creating each urban renewal plan or targeted economic development district comprehensive development plan and an amendment to either of the plans containing a tax increment provision to the department of revenue.

     (2)  A certified copy of each plan, ordinance, or amendment must also be filed with the clerk or other appropriate officer of each of the affected taxing bodies."

 

     Section 164.  Section 7-15-4288, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4288.  Costs that may be paid by tax increment sales and use tax financing. The tax increments sales and use tax revenue provided in [section 1] and funding received from the legislature based on recommendations of the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] may be used by the local government to pay the following costs of or incurred in connection with an urban renewal area or targeted economic development district as identified in the urban renewal plan or targeted economic development district comprehensive development plan:

     (1)  land acquisition;

     (2)  demolition and removal of structures;

     (3)  relocation of occupants;

     (4)  the acquisition, construction, and improvement of public improvements or infrastructure, including streets, roads, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, pedestrian malls, alleys, parking lots and offstreet parking facilities, sewers, sewer lines, sewage treatment facilities, storm sewers, waterlines, waterways, water treatment facilities, natural gas lines, electrical lines, telecommunications lines, rail lines, rail spurs, bridges, publicly owned buildings, and any public improvements authorized by Title 7, chapter 12, parts 41 through 45; Title 7, chapter 13, parts 42 and 43; and Title 7, chapter 14, part 47, and items of personal property to be used in connection with improvements for which the foregoing costs may be incurred;

     (5)  costs incurred in connection with the redevelopment activities allowed under 7-15-4233;

     (6)  acquisition of infrastructure-deficient areas or portions of areas;

     (7)  administrative costs associated with the management of the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district;

     (8)  assemblage of land for development or redevelopment by private enterprise or public agencies, including sale, initial leasing, or retention by the local government itself at its fair value;

     (9)  the compilation and analysis of pertinent information required to adequately determine the needs of the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district;

     (10) the connection of the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district to existing infrastructure outside the area or district;

     (11) the provision of direct assistance to secondary value-adding industries to assist in meeting their infrastructure and land needs within the area or district; and

     (12) the acquisition, construction, or improvement of facilities or equipment for reducing, preventing, abating, or eliminating pollution."

 

     Section 165.  Section 7-15-4289, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4289.  Use of tax increments sales and use tax revenue for bond payments. The tax increment sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] may be pledged to the payment of the principal of premiums, if any, and interest on bonds that the local government may issue for the purpose of providing funds to pay those costs. Supplemental funding requests may be submitted to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 166.  Section 7-15-4290, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4290.  Use of property taxes and other revenue for payment of bonds. (1) (a) The tax increment derived from an urban renewal area sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] may be pledged for the payment of revenue bonds issued for urban renewal projects or of general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, or special assessment bonds issued to pay urban renewal costs described in 7-15-4288 and 7-15-4289.

     (b)  The tax increment derived from a targeted economic development district sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] may be pledged for the payment of revenue bonds issued for targeted economic development district projects or of general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, or special assessment bonds issued to pay targeted economic development district costs described in 7-15-4288 and 7-15-4289.

     (2)  A local government issuing bonds pursuant to subsection (1) may, by resolution of its governing body, enter into a covenant for the security of the bondholders, detailing the calculation and adjustment of the tax increment and the taxable value on which it is based and the revenue projected to be received from the state and, after a public hearing, pledging or appropriating other revenue of the local government, except property taxes prohibited by subsection (3), to the payment of the bonds if collections of the tax increment are sales and use tax allocation is insufficient.

     (3)  Property taxes, except the tax increment derived from property within the area or district and tax collections used to pay for services provided to the local government by a project, may not be applied to the payment of bonds issued pursuant to 7-15-4301 for which a tax increment has been pledged.

     (4)(3)  If applicable, the local government shall specify whether the bonds are tax credit bonds as provided in 17-5-117, recovery zone economic development bonds or recovery zone facility bonds as provided in 7-7-140, or qualified energy conservation bonds as provided in 7-7-141."

 

     Section 167.  Section 7-15-4292, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4292.  Termination of tax increment financing plan -- exception. (1) The tax increment provision contained Sales and use tax funding in an urban renewal plan or a targeted economic development district comprehensive development plan terminates upon the later of:

     (a)(1)  the 15th year following its adoption; or

     (b)(2)  the payment or provision for payment in full or discharge of all bonds for which the tax increment sales and use tax revenue has been pledged and the interest on the bonds.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), any amounts remaining in the special fund or any reserve fund after termination of the tax increment provision must be distributed among the various taxing bodies in proportion to their property tax revenue from the area or district.

     (b)  Upon termination of the tax increment provision, a local government may retain and use in accordance with the provisions of the urban renewal plan:

     (i)  funds remaining in the special fund or a reserve fund related to a binding loan commitment, construction contract, or development agreement for an approved urban renewal project or targeted economic development district project that a local government entered into before the termination of a tax increment provision;

     (ii) loan repayments received after the date of termination of the tax increment provision from loans made pursuant to a binding loan commitment; or

     (iii) funds from loans previously made pursuant to a loan program established under an urban renewal plan or targeted economic development district comprehensive development plan.

     (3)  After termination of the tax increment provision, all taxes must be levied upon the actual taxable value of the taxable property in the urban renewal area or targeted economic development district and must be paid to each of the taxing bodies as provided by law.

     (4)  Bonds secured in whole or in part by a tax increment provision may not be issued after the 15th anniversary of tax increment provisions. However, if bonds secured by a tax increment provision are outstanding on the applicable anniversary, additional bonds secured by the tax increment provision may be issued if the final maturity date of the bonds is not later than the final maturity date of any bonds then outstanding and secured by the tax increment provision."

 

     Section 168.  Section 7-15-4301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4301.  Authorization to issue urban renewal bonds, targeted economic development bonds, and refunding bonds. (1) A local government or municipality may:

     (a)  issue bonds from time to time, in its discretion, to finance the undertaking of any urban renewal project or targeted economic development district project under Title 7, chapter 15, part 42, and this part, including, without limiting the generality of projects, the payment of principal and interest upon any advances for surveys and plans for the projects; and

     (b)  issue refunding bonds for the payment or retirement of bonds previously issued by it.

     (2)  Except as provided in 7-15-4302, bonds may not pledge the general credit of the local government or municipality and must be made payable, as to both principal and interest, solely from the income, proceeds, revenue, and funds of the local government or municipality derived from or held in connection with its undertaking and carrying out of urban renewal projects or targeted economic development district projects under Title 7, chapter 15, part 42, and this part, including the tax increment received and sales and use tax revenue pledged by the local government or municipality pursuant to 7-15-4282 7-15-4283, 7-15-4284, 7-15-4288 through 7-15-4294 7-15-4290, and 7-15-4292, and, if the income, proceeds, revenue, and funds of the local government or municipality are insufficient for the payment, from other revenue of the local government or municipality pledged to the payment. Payment of the bonds, both as to principal and interest, may be further secured by a pledge of any loan, grant, or contribution from the federal government or other source in aid of any urban renewal projects or targeted economic development district projects of the local government or municipality under Title 7, chapter 15, part 42, and this part or by a mortgage on all or part of any projects.

     (3)  Bonds issued under this section must be authorized by resolution or ordinance of the local governing body.

     (4)  If applicable, the governing body of the local government or municipality shall specify whether the bonds are tax credit bonds as provided in 17-5-117, recovery zone economic development bonds or recovery zone facility bonds as provided in 7-7-140, or qualified energy conservation bonds as provided in 7-7-141."

 

     Section 169.  Section 7-15-4324, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4324.  Special bond provisions when tax increment sales and use tax financing is involved. (1) Bonds issued under this part for which a tax increment sales and use tax revenue is pledged pursuant to 7-15-4282 through 7-15-4294 7-15-4283, 7-15-4284, 7-15-4288 through 7-15-4290, and 7-15-4292 must be designed to mature not later than 25 years from their date of issue and must mature in years and amounts so that the principal and interest due on the bonds in each year may not exceed the estimated tax increment sales and use tax revenue projected to be received, payments in lieu of taxes or other amounts agreed to be paid by the property owners in a district, and other estimated revenue, including proceeds of the bonds available for payment of interest on the bonds, pledged to their payment to be received in that year.

     (2)  The governing body, in the resolution or ordinance authorizing the bonds, shall determine the estimated tax increment sales and use tax revenue, payments in lieu of taxes or other amounts agreed to be paid by the property owners in an area or district, and other revenue, if any, for each year the bonds are to be outstanding. In calculating the costs under 7-15-4288 for which the bonds are issued, the local government or municipality may include an amount sufficient to pay interest on the bonds prior to receipt of tax increments sales and use tax revenue pledged and sufficient for the payment of the bonds and to fund any reserve fund in respect of the bonds."

 

     Section 170.  Section 7-15-4532, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-15-4532.  Limitations on remedies of obligees. (1) No interest of the authority in any real or personal property shall be subject to sale by the foreclosure of a mortgage thereon, either through judicial proceedings or the exercise of a power of sale contained in such mortgage, except in the case of the mortgages provided for in 7-15-4526.

     (2)  All property of the authority shall be exempt from levy and sale by virtue of an execution, and no execution or other judicial process shall issue against the same. No judgment against the authority shall be a charge or lien upon its real or personal property.

     (3)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to or limit the right of obligees to foreclose any mortgage of the authority provided for in 7-15-4526 and, in case of a foreclosure sale thereunder, to obtain a judgment or decree for any deficiency due on the indebtedness secured thereby and issued on the credit of the authority. Such deficiency judgment or decree shall be a lien and charge upon the property of the authority which may be levied on and sold by virtue of an execution or other judicial process for the purpose of satisfying such deficiency judgment or decree."

 

     Section 171.  Section 7-16-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-101.  Creation of funds for recreational and other activities of elderly by local governments. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The governing body of a city, county, town, or municipality may in its discretion establish a fund to promote, establish, and maintain recreational, educational, and other activities of the elderly by a levy on taxable property. The tax levy is in addition to all other tax levies requesting funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  The governing body may, by resolution, make expenditures from the fund as it may from time to time determine. Expenditures must be made for the promotion and development of recreational, educational, and other activities of the elderly, including motivation of the use of the talents of the elderly.

     (3)  The governing body may make payment of expenditures to nonprofit corporations or associations engaged in aiding the activities."

 

     Section 172.  Section 7-16-2102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-2102.  Authorization for tax levy other revenue for parks and certain cultural, social, and recreational facilities. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The board of county commissioners may annually levy on the taxable property of the county, in the same manner and at the same time as other county taxes are levied, a tax utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of maintaining, operating, and equipping parks, cultural facilities, and any county-owned civic center, youth center, recreation center, recreational complex, or any combination of purposes, parks, and facilities.

     (2)  (a) The board of county commissioners shall submit the question of imposing or the continued imposition of the property tax mill levy provided in subsection (1) to the electors of the county if a petition requesting an election, signed by at least 15% of the resident taxpayers of the county, is filed with the county clerk. The petition must be filed with the county clerk at least 90 days prior to the date of the election.

     (b)  The question must be submitted as provided in 15-10-425.

     (c)  The board of county commissioners shall levy the tax if the question for the imposition of the tax is approved by a majority of the electors voting on the question.

     (3)  All laws applicable to the collection of county taxes apply to the collection of the tax provided for in this section."

 

     Section 173.  Section 7-16-2108, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-2108.  Authorization to levy tax and establish fund for establishment and maintenance of programs and employee training for day-care facilities. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The governing body of a county, city, town, or municipality may establish a fund to establish and maintain programs for the operation of licensed day-care centers and homes within the geographic boundaries of the governing body by a levy on the taxable property within the county, city, town, or municipality. The tax levy is in addition to all other tax levies requesting funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  The governing body may, by resolution, make expenditures from the fund as it may from time to time determine, provided that expenditures must be made solely for the establishment, maintenance, and development of programs for and training of operators and employees of day-care centers and homes."

 

     Section 174.  Section 7-16-2109, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-2109.  Single assessment Funding for county fair activities, county parks, and certain cultural, social, and recreational facilities -- restriction. (1) Subject to 15-10-420 and except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the The county commissioners of a county that has levied taxes pursuant to 7-16-2102 may combine that levy with any fees assessed in accordance with 7-11-1024 into a single assessment may utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of maintaining, operating, and equipping county fair activities, county parks, cultural facilities, and any county-owned civic center, youth center, recreation center, recreational complex, or any combination of purposes, activities, and facilities. The money collected may be distributed among the activities and facilities as determined by the county commissioners.

     (2)  (a) The board of county commissioners shall submit the question of imposing or continuing the imposition of the single assessment provided for in subsection (1) to the electors of the county if a petition requesting a vote on the single assessment, signed by at least 15% of the resident taxpayers of the county, is filed with the county clerk and recorder at least 90 days prior to the date of the election.

     (b)  The question must be submitted as provided in 15-10-425.

     (c)  The board of county commissioners shall collect the assessment if the imposition or continued imposition of the single assessment is approved by a majority of the electors voting on the question."

 

     Section 175.  Section 7-16-4112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-4112.  Presentation of public band concerts. (1) Cities of the first, second, and third class, as defined by the laws of Montana, and incorporated towns may at their discretion provide public band concerts for the entertainment of their people and to pay therefor out of any money in a fund to be provided in accordance with the provisions of 7-16-4113.

     (2)  Said band Band concerts and entertainment shall must occur be given at a place or places and at a time or times to be designated by the city council.; provided, however, that said However, band concerts shall be given may not occur more than twice each week. No A band shall may not be employed in connection with the giving of said band concerts except one having its headquarters in the city or town in which said the band concert is given."

 

     Section 176.  Section 7-16-4114, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-16-4114.  Authorization to levy tax and establish fund for establishment and maintenance of programs and employee training for day-care facilities. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, the The governing body of a county, city, town, or municipality may establish a fund to establish and maintain programs for the operation of licensed day-care centers and homes within the geographic boundaries of the governing body by a levy on the taxable property in the county, city, town, or municipality. The tax levy is in addition to all other tax levies requesting funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  The governing body may, by resolution, make expenditures from the fund as it may from time to time determine, provided that expenditures must be made solely for the establishment, maintenance, and development of programs for and training of operators and employees of day-care centers and homes."

 

     Section 177.  Section 7-21-3203, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-21-3203.  Support of extension work in agriculture and home economics. (1) The county commissioners of any county may appropriate money from the general funds of the county treasury or from funds provided by a levy for the purpose of carrying on extension work in agriculture and home economics within the county in cooperation with Montana state university-Bozeman and the United States department of agriculture. Subject to 15-10-420, the county commissioners may impose the levy for the purpose of this section at the same time as other levies for county purposes are imposed.

     (2)  The amount of an appropriation in any county, its method of expenditure, the responsibility for the direction of the work, and the procedure of appointing agents and the compensation and conditions of service of agents must be covered in memoranda of agreement between the county commissioners and Montana state university-Bozeman."

 

     Section 178.  Section 7-21-3411, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-21-3411.  Restriction on use of appropriation or tax money. An amount of the appropriation or tax levy or assessment for a county fair district or a multiple county fair district may not be expended for horseracing."

 

     Section 179.  Section 7-22-2142, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-22-2142.  Sources of money for noxious weed fund. (1) The commissioners may provide sufficient money in the noxious weed fund for the board to fulfill its duties, as specified in 7-22-2109, by:

     (a)  appropriating money from any source in an amount not less than $100,000 or an amount equivalent to 1.6 mills levied upon the taxable value of all property; and

     (b)  subject to 15-10-420 and at any time fixed by law for levy and assessment of taxes, levying a tax of not less than 1.6 mills on the taxable value of all taxable property in the county. The tax levied under this subsection must be identified on the assessment as the tax that will be used utilizing sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for noxious weed control.

     (2)  The proceeds of the noxious weed control tax revenue or other contribution must be used solely for the purpose of managing noxious weeds in the county and must be deposited in the noxious weed fund.

     (3)  Any proceeds from work or chemical sales must revert to the noxious weed fund and must be available for reuse within that fiscal year or any subsequent year.

     (4)  The commissioners may accept any private, state, or federal gifts, grants, contracts, or other funds to aid in the management of noxious weeds within the district. These funds must be placed in the noxious weed fund.

     (5)  Subject to 15-10-420, the The commissioners may impose a tax utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for weed control within a special management zone as provided in 7-22-2121(4). For the purposes of imposing the tax, the special management zone boundaries must be established by the board and approved by a majority of the voters within the special management zone. Pursuant to an election held in accordance with 15-10-425, the amount of the tax must be approved by a majority of the voters within the special management zone, and approval of the zone and the tax may occur simultaneously. Revenue received from a special management zone tax must be spent on weed management projects within the boundaries of the special management zone."

 

     Section 180.  Section 7-22-2306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-22-2306.  Financing of insect pest control program. (1) The governing body of the county shall annually determine the amount of the warrants drawn on the general fund for the purposes of controlling insect pests under a control program approved by the department of agriculture.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, in In the succeeding year, the governing body shall levy a tax may request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of insect pest extermination sufficient to reimburse the general fund for the money paid out on the warrants. The tax must be levied on all taxable property in the county.

     (3)  If there is no money in the general fund with which to pay the warrants, they must be registered and bear interest in the same manner as other county warrants. In this case, the interest must be computed and added to the amount for which the tax is levied funding is requested as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 181.  Section 7-22-2512, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-22-2512.  Financing of vertebrate pest management program -- tax. (1) A governing body may:

     (a)  appropriate from the county general fund an amount to fund vertebrate pest management and transfer it to the county vertebrate pest management fund; and

     (b)  subject to 15-10-420, levy a request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for vertebrate pest management tax on the taxable valuation of all agricultural, horticultural, grazing, and timber lands and their improvements. Land within a rodent control district may not be taxed in any given year under both 7-11-1024 and this section for the control of rodents. Land within a rodent control district may be taxed under this section only in a dollar amount that is proportional to the part of the vertebrate pest program's projected fiscal year budget that is allocated to the management and suppression of vertebrate pests other than rodents.

     (2)  The tax funding provided for in subsection (1) must be collected as other county taxes and credited to the county vertebrate pest management fund."

 

     Section 182.  Section 7-31-116, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-31-116.  Payment of bonds and other obligations. (1) The faith of the county or incorporated city or town issuing bonds under the provisions of this part is solemnly pledged for the payment of the principal and interest according to the tenure of said bonds and the coupons attached to the same.

     (2)  The board of county commissioners of the county or council of the incorporated city or town issuing said bonds:

     (a)  shall ascertain and levy and assess a tax request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] sufficient to pay the interest upon said bonds, which shall become a lien and be collected as other taxes; and

     (b)  shall form such sinking fund for the payment of the principal thereof as may be necessary and proper, in the manner provided by law or ordinance, which shall be kept as a separate fund.

     (3)  All bonds, coupons, orders, and warrants issued and drawn under the provisions of this part shall be promptly paid, registered, and entered in books kept for that purpose, with correct and proper entries made in respect thereto, and the same, when paid, shall be canceled and preserved, with proper entries made thereof, as provided by law in cases of other bonds, warrants, and orders."

 

     Section 183.  Section 7-32-235, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-32-235.  Search and rescue units authorized -- under control of county sheriff -- optional funding. (1) A county may establish or recognize one or more search and rescue units within the county.

     (2)  (a) Except in time of martial rule as provided in 10-1-106, search and rescue units and their officers are under the operational control and supervision of the county sheriff, or the sheriff's designee, having jurisdiction and whose span of control would be considered within reasonable limits.

     (b)  A county sheriff or the sheriff's designee may authorize the participation of members of the civil air patrol, including cadets under 18 years of age, in search and rescue operations.

     (3)  Subject to 15-10-420, a A county may, after approval by a majority of the people voting on the question at an election held throughout the county, levy an annual tax on the taxable value of all taxable property within the county utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] to support one or more search and rescue units established or recognized under subsection (1). The election must be held as provided in 15-10-425 Supplemental funding requests may be submitted to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 184.  Section 7-32-2141, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-32-2141.  Fees of sheriff. (1) For the services provided in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(n), the sheriff shall receive the fees, if any, set by the county governing body. If fees have not been set by the county governing body, the sheriff shall receive the following:

     (a)  for the service of summons and complaint on each defendant, $5;

     (b)  for making a return of a summons for a person not found in the county, in addition to actual mileage traveled, $5;

     (c)  for levying and serving each writ of attachment of execution on real or personal property, $5;

     (d)  for service of attachment on the body or order of arrest on each defendant, $5;

     (e)  for the service of affidavit, order, and undertaking in claim and delivery, $5;

     (f)  for serving a subpoena, $2.50 for each witness summoned;

     (g)  for serving a writ of possession or restitution, $5;

     (h)  for trial of the right of property or damages, including all services except mileage, $7;

     (i)  for taking bond or undertaking in any case authorized by law, $5;

     (j)  for serving every notice, rule, or order, $5 for each person served;

     (k)  for a copy of any writ, process, or other paper when demanded or required by law, 25 cents for each page;

     (l)  for posting notices and advertising any property for sale on execution or under any judgment or order of sale, exclusive of cost of publication, $5;

     (m)  for holding any sheriff's sale for personal or real property on execution or under any judgment or order of sale, $7.50;

     (n)  for cancellation or postponement of sheriff's sale, $5.

     (2)  All fees collected by the sheriff for the services provided in subsection (1) must be paid to the county treasurer as provided in 7-4-2511(1), and the fees must be deposited by the county treasurer in the general fund of the county unless the county has instituted a public safety levy, in which case the fees must be deposited in the account established pursuant to 7-6-2513."

 

     Section 185.  Section 7-32-4117, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-32-4117.  Group insurance for police officers -- funding. (1) Cities of all classes, if they provide insurance for other city employees under Title 2, chapter 18, part 7, shall:

     (a)  provide the same insurance to their respective police officers;

     (b)  notwithstanding Title 2, chapter 18, part 7, pay no less than the premium rate in effect as of July 1, 1980, for insurance coverage for police officers and their dependents;

     (c)  provide for collective bargaining or other agreement processes to negotiate additional premium payments beyond the amount guaranteed by subsection (1)(b).

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, the The administration of this section is declared a public purpose of a city, which may be paid out of the general fund of the governing body and financed by a levy on the taxable value of all taxable property within the city or town."

 

     Section 186.  Section 7-33-2109, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-2109.  Tax levy Funding requests, debt incurrence, and bonds authorized -- voted levy for volunteer firefighters' disability income or workers' compensation coverage. (1) At the time of the annual levy of taxes, the The board of county commissioners may, subject to 15-10-420, levy a tax upon all property within a rural fire district utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of buying or maintaining fire protection facilities, including real property, and apparatus, including emergency response apparatus, for the district or for the purpose of paying to a city, town, or private fire service the consideration provided for in any contract with the council of the city, town, or private fire service for furnishing fire protection service to property within the district. The tax must be collected as are other taxes.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-425, the The board of county commissioners may levy a tax upon all taxable property within a rural fire district utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of purchasing disability income insurance coverage or workers' compensation coverage for the volunteer firefighters of the district as provided in 7-6-621.

     (3)  The board of county commissioners or the trustees, if the district is governed by trustees, may pledge the income of the district, subject to the requirements and limitations of 7-33-2105(1)(d), to secure financing necessary to procure equipment and buildings, including real property, to house the equipment.

     (4)  In addition to the levy funding authorized in subsection (1), a district may borrow money by the issuance of bonds to provide funds for the payment of all or part of the cost of buying or maintaining fire protection facilities, including real property, and apparatus, including emergency response apparatus, for the district.

     (5)  The amount of debt incurred pursuant to subsection (3) and the amount of bonds issued pursuant to subsection (4) and outstanding at any time may not exceed 1.1% of the total assessed value of taxable property, determined as provided in 15-8-111, within the district, as ascertained by the most recent assessment for state and county taxes prior to the incurrence of debt or the issuance of the bonds.

     (6)(5)  The bonds must be authorized, sold, and issued and provisions must be made for their payment in the manner and subject to the conditions and limitations prescribed for the issuance of bonds by counties under Title 7, chapter 7, part 22."

 

     Section 187.  Section 7-33-2120, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-2120.  Consolidation of fire districts and fire service areas -- mill levy limitations -- supplemental funding. (1) Two or more rural fire districts or rural fire districts and fire service areas established pursuant to 7-33-2401 may consolidate to form a single rural fire district upon an affirmative vote of each consolidating rural fire district's or fire service area's governing board.

     (2)  (a) At the time they vote to consolidate, the governing boards shall also adopt a consolidation plan. The plan must contain:

     (i)  a timetable for consolidation, including the effective date of consolidation, which must be after the time allowed for protests to the creation of the new rural fire district under subsection (4);

     (ii) the name of the new rural fire district;

     (iii) a boundary map of the new rural fire district; and

     (iv) the estimated financial impact of consolidation on the average taxpayer within the proposed district.

     (b)  The consolidation plan must state if the consolidation is to be made with or without the mutual assumption of the warrant or bonded indebtedness of each district or fire service area. Without agreement among the governing boards on the assumption of warrant or bonded indebtedness, the consolidation may not occur.

     (3)  (a) Within 14 days of the date that the governing boards vote to consolidate, notice of the consolidation must be:

     (i)  published as provided in 7-1-2121 or as provided in 7-1-4127 if the district or part of the district is in an incorporated third-class city or town in each county in which any part of the consolidated fire district will be located; and

     (ii) mailed as provided in 7-1-2122 or as provided in 7-1-4129 if the proposed district or part of the district is in an incorporated third-class city or town to each registered voter and real property owner residing in the proposed new district.

     (b)  A public hearing on the consolidation must be held within 14 days of the first publication and mailing of notice. The hearing must be held before the joint governing boards at a time and place set forth in the notice.

     (4)  Real property owners in each affected rural fire district or fire service area may submit written protests opposing consolidation to the governing board of their district or fire service area. If within 30 days of the first publication of notice the owners of 40% or more of the real property in an existing district or fire service area and owners of property representing 40% or more of the taxable value of property in an existing district or fire service area protest the consolidation, it is void.

     (5)  After consolidation, the former rural fire districts and fire service areas constitute a single rural fire district governed under the provisions of 7-33-2104 through 7-33-2106.

     (6)  (a) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6)(b) and (6)(c), the consolidation of two or more rural fire districts or rural fire districts and fire service areas pursuant to this section results in the creation of a new rural fire district for the purposes of determining mill levy limitations.

     (b)  The mill levy authority under 15-10-420 for each former rural fire district that is consolidated under this section must be aggregated to establish the base mill levy authority for the new district in the year following consolidation.

     (c)  If the electors of a former rural fire district have approved mill levy authority for the district in excess of the limit established in 15-10-420 pursuant to an election held under 15-10-425, the authority applies to the new district under the limitations established by the electors.

     (7)(6)  For the purposes of this section, "governing board" means the board of trustees of a rural fire district or fire service area or a board of county commissioners that governs a fire service area as provided in 7-33-2403(1)(a)."

 

     Section 188.  Section 7-33-2209, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-2209.  Finance of fire control activities -- voted levy supplemental revenue for volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance or workers' compensation coverage. (1) The county governing body may appropriate funds for the purchase, care, and maintenance of firefighting equipment or for the payment of wages in prevention, detection, and suppression of fires.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, if the general fund is budgeted to the full limit, the The county governing body may, at any time fixed by law for levy and assessment of taxes, levy a tax for the purposes of subsection (1) utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (3)  Subject to 15-10-425, the county governing body may levy a tax for the purpose of purchasing disability income insurance coverage or workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters of volunteer rural fire control crews and county volunteer fire companies as provided in 7-6-621."

 

     Section 189.  Section 7-33-2403, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-2403.  Operation of fire service area -- voted levy supplemental revenue for volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance or workers' compensation coverage. (1) Whenever the board of county commissioners has established a fire service area, the commissioners may:

     (a)  govern and manage the affairs of the area;

     (b)  appoint five qualified trustees to govern and manage the affairs of the area; or

     (c)  authorize the election of five qualified trustees to govern and manage the affairs of the area. The term of office and procedures for nomination and election are the same as those provided for election of rural fire district trustees in 7-33-2106.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-425, the The commissioners may levy a tax upon all property within the county utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of buying disability income insurance coverage or workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters deployed within the fire service area as provided in 7-6-621.

     (3)  If the commissioners appoint trustees under subsection (1), the provisions of 7-33-2105 apply and 7-33-2106 applies whether the trustees are elected or appointed, except that the trustees shall prepare annual budgets and request a schedule of rates for the budget."

 

     Section 190.  Section 7-33-4109, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-4109.  Supplementary volunteer fire department authorized for cities of second class -- voted levy supplemental funding for volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance or workers' compensation coverage. (1) In addition to a paid department, the city council, city commission, or other governing body in cities of the second class may make provision for a volunteer fire department.

     (2)  The city commission or governing department is exempted from compliance with 7-33-4128 to the extent that section applies to the volunteer fire department by way of penalties and infringements.

     (3)  A volunteer is an enrolled member of the volunteer fire department, assists the paid fire department, and is eligible to serve only on the board of trustees of the fire department relief association of the city. However, not more than three volunteer members may be on the board of trustees. A person who is a volunteer for the purposes of this section is not entitled to receive a service pension.

     (4)  The governing body of the city may:

     (a)  pay an enrolled volunteer firefighter a minimum of $1 for attending a fire and a minimum of $1 for each hour or fraction of an hour after the first hour in active service at a fire or returning equipment to its proper place;

     (b)  subject to 15-10-425, levy a tax upon all property within a fire district utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of buying disability income insurance coverage or workers' compensation coverage for the volunteer firefighters of the volunteer fire department as provided in 7-6-621.

     (5)  In attending fires, any volunteer shall act and serve under the supervision of the chief of the paid fire department."

 

     Section 191.  Section 7-33-4111, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-4111.  Tax levy Supplemental funding for volunteer fire departments -- voted levy for volunteer firefighters' disability income insurance or workers' compensation coverage. (1) For the purpose of supporting volunteer fire departments in any city or town that does not have a paid fire department and for the purpose of purchasing the necessary equipment for them, the council in any city or town may, subject to 15-10-420, levy, in addition to other levies permitted by law, a tax on the taxable value of all taxable property in the city or town utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-425, a A city or town may levy a tax on the taxable value of all taxable property in the city or town utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the purpose of purchasing disability income insurance coverage or workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters of volunteer fire departments as provided in 7-6-621."

 

     Section 192.  Section 7-33-4130, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-33-4130.  Group insurance for firefighters -- funding. (1) Cities of the first and second class, if they provide insurance for other city employees under Title 2, chapter 18, part 7, shall:

     (a)  provide the same insurance to their respective firefighters;

     (b)  pay no less than the premium rate in effect as of July 1, 1980, for insurance coverage for firefighters and their dependents notwithstanding the provisions of Title 2, chapter 18, part 7;

     (c)  provide for collective bargaining or other agreement processes to negotiate additional premium payments beyond the amount guaranteed by subsection (1)(b).

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, those Those incorporated cities and towns that require additional funds to finance the provisions of this section may request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] levy, by the amount required to meet these provisions, a tax on the taxable value of all taxable property in the respective city or town. This levy must be collected in the same manner and at the same time as other taxes are levied."

 

     Section 193.  Section 7-34-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-102.  Ambulance service mill levy permitted funding. Subject to 15-10-420 and in addition to all other levies authorized by law, each Each county, city, or town may levy an annual tax on the taxable value of all taxable property within the county, city, or town request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] to defray the costs incurred in providing ambulance service. These costs may include workers' compensation coverage for emergency medical technicians on volunteer duty with the ambulance service or members of a paid or volunteer nontransporting medical unit defined in 50-6-302."

 

     Section 194.  Section 7-34-2122, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-2122.  Powers of district. A hospital district has all powers necessary and convenient to the acquisition, betterment, operation, maintenance, and administration of hospital facilities that its board of trustees considers necessary and expedient. In addition to the general grant of powers, a hospital district, acting by its board of trustees, may:

     (1)  employ nursing, administrative, and other personnel, legal counsel, engineers, architects, accountants, and other qualified persons, who may be paid for their services by monthly salaries, hourly wages, and pension benefits or by fees that may be agreed upon;

     (2)  cause reports, plans, studies, and recommendations to be prepared;

     (3)  lease, purchase, and contract for the purchase of real and personal property by option, contract for deed, or otherwise and acquire real or personal property by gift;

     (4)  lease or construct, equip, furnish, and maintain necessary buildings and grounds;

     (5)  adopt, by resolution, rules for the operation and administration of hospital facilities under its control and for the admission of persons to the facilities;

     (6)  impose by resolution and collect charges for all services and facilities provided and made available by it;

     (7)  subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes as prescribed in this part;

     (8)  borrow money by the issuance of its bonds as prescribed in this part;

     (9)  borrow money by the issuance of notes;

     (10) procure insurance against liability of the district or its officers and employees, or both, for torts committed within the scope of their official duties, whether governmental or proprietary, and against damage to or destruction of any of its facilities, equipment, or other property;

     (11) sell or lease any of its facilities or equipment as may be considered expedient;

     (12) cause audits to be made of its accounts, books, vouchers, and funds by competent public accountants; and

     (13) provide educational benefits to qualified individuals, including the payment of tuition, room and board, educational materials, and stipends and the repayment of student loans in return for an agreement by those persons to provide services to the district."

 

     Section 195.  Section 7-34-2131, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-2131.  Hospital district bonds and notes authorized. (1) (a) A hospital district may borrow money by the issuance of its bonds to provide funds for payment of part or all of the cost of acquisition, furnishing, equipment, improvement, extension, and betterment of hospital facilities and to provide an adequate working capital for a new hospital.

     (b)  The amount of bonds issued for the purposes referred to in subsection (1)(a) and outstanding at any time may not exceed 1.4% of the total assessed value of taxable property, determined as provided in 15-8-111, within the district, as ascertained by the last assessment for state and county taxes prior to the issuance of the bonds the amount of sales and use tax revenue projected to be received under [section 1].

     (c)  The bonds must be authorized, sold, and issued and provisions made for their payment in the manner and subject to the conditions and limitations prescribed for bonds of school districts by Title 20, chapter 9, part 4.

     (2)  (a) A hospital district may borrow money by the issuance of notes to provide funds to finance the costs described in subsection (1) and to finance the working capital requirements of the district. The notes must be authorized and in a form and terms prescribed by a resolution adopted by the board of trustees. The notes must mature over a term not to exceed 15 years or, if authorized by the electors of the district, a term not to exceed 30 years.

     (b)  The principal and interest on the notes must be paid from the taxes levied pursuant to 7-34-2133 sales and use tax revenue received from the state, exclusive of the taxes levied to pay bonds issued in accordance with subsection (1), and all other revenue of the district. The annual amount of principal and interest payable on notes in any fiscal year must be included in the district's budget for that year.

     (c)  The notes may be secured by a mortgage of or a security interest in all or part of the district's assets and by a pledge of the taxes and sales and use tax revenue of the district, or either of them.

     (d)  Notes may not be issued unless the projected annual revenue of the district, including the taxes levied pursuant to 7-34-2133 but exclusive of the taxes levied to pay bonds, is at least equal to the sum of the cost of operating and maintaining the hospital district plus the maximum amount of principal and interest due in any future fiscal year on the notes proposed to be issued and all notes outstanding upon the issuance of the proposed notes.

     (3)  This section may not be construed to amend or repeal the provisions of Title 50, chapter 6, part 1, allowing the state to apply for and accept federal funds."

 

     Section 196.  Section 7-34-2137, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-2137.  Collection of taxes money and disposition of funds. (1) The procedures for the collection of the tax shall funds must be in accordance with the existing laws of Montana.

     (2)  The funds collected under the tax levy shall must be held by the county treasurer, who shall be is, ex officio, the treasurer for the hospital district, and such the treasurer shall keep a detailed account of all tax money paid into the fund, of all other money from any source received by the district, and of all payments and disbursements from the fund. Funds shall must be paid out on warrants issued by direction of the board of trustees, signed by the majority of its membership."

 

     Section 197.  Section 7-34-2417, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-2417.  Health care facility tax levy authorized. If the bonds are not paid or are not expected to be paid from ordinary revenue of the facility, a county that has issued bonds under 7-34-2411 for a health care facility may, subject to 15-10-420, levy taxes on the taxable value of all taxable property within the county in the manner provided for public hospital districts under 7-34-2133 request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11]."

 

     Section 198.  Section 7-34-2418, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-34-2418.  General tax Funding to support bonds authorized. (1) (a) The governing body of a county may, with respect to bonds issued by the county pursuant to 7-34-2411 for a health care facility and if approved by the voters as provided in 7-34-2414, by resolution covenant that:

     (i)  in the event that at any time all revenue, including taxes, appropriated and collected for the bonds is insufficient to pay principal or interest then due, it will levy a general tax upon all of the taxable property in the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the payment of the deficiency; and

     (ii) at any time a deficiency is likely to occur within 1 year for the payment of principal and interest due on the bonds, it will levy a general tax upon all the taxable property in the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] for the payment of the deficiency.

     (b)  The resolution must state the principal amount and purpose of the bonds and the substance of the covenant respecting deficiencies.

     (2)  The taxes are not subject to any limitation of rate or amount applicable to other county taxes but are funding request is limited to a rate estimated to be sufficient to produce the amount of the deficiency.

     (3)  In the event that the health care facility for which bonds are issued pursuant to 7-34-2411 is a joint institution, as provided in part 25, and the deficiency tax levy is authorized under 7-34-2417, the counties may apportion the obligation to levy taxes for the payment of or in anticipation of a deficiency in the revenues appropriated for the bonds in the manner as the counties shall determine."

 

     Section 199.  Section 7-35-2205, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-35-2205.  Veterans' cemetery. (1) Pursuant to Article II, section 35, of the Montana constitution, a county may provide for the construction, maintenance, and administration of a veterans' cemetery, set the standards by which the cemetery must be constructed and maintained, and determine qualifications for burial in the cemetery.

     (2)  Subject to 15-10-420, to To fund the cemetery, the county may impose a property tax levy request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11], accept gifts, grants, or donations, and receive allowances and collect charges authorized by state or federal law regarding burial of a veteran or a veteran's spouse."

 

     Section 200.  Section 10-2-115, MCA, is amended to read:

     "10-2-115.  County veterans' service officers. A county may, with the advice of the board, provide for a county veterans' service officer to assist veterans and their families in filing benefit claims. If a county provides for a veterans' service officer under this section, the officer must be trained, accredited, and supervised in accordance with the applicable provisions of 38 CFR 14.629. A county may fund the position as provided for in 15-10-425 or by utilizing sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] or through other means provided by law."

 

     Section 201.  Section 10-3-405, MCA, is amended to read:

     "10-3-405.  Levying emergency tax -- disposition of surplus. (1) The governing body of the city or town or the governing body of the county, or both, shall estimate expenditures and levy an emergency millage to cover the expenditures. The millage levied by the governing body of the city or town shall not exceed 2 mills on the municipality's taxable valuation. The millage levied by the governing body of the county shall not exceed 2 mills on the taxable valuation of the county outside the municipalities.

     (2)  No expenditure of revenue received from the millage shall be made without approval of the appropriate levying body.

     (3)  An additional levy or levies may be made by the appropriate levying body, providing that the sum of the levies for emergencies as set forth in this section shall not exceed 2 mills in any one year.

     (4)  All levies under this section may be passed only by a unanimous vote of the appropriate body request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (5)(2)  Funds levied for an emergency and remaining when no further expenditures are necessary shall remain in a separate emergency fund and shall be used only for expenditures arising from future emergencies."

 

     Section 202.  Section 13-1-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-1-101.  Definitions. As used in this title, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Active elector" means an elector whose name has not been placed on the inactive list due to failure to respond to confirmation notices pursuant to 13-2-220 or 13-19-313.

     (2)  "Active list" means a list of active electors maintained pursuant to 13-2-220.

     (3)  "Anything of value" means any goods that have a certain utility to the recipient that is real and that is ordinarily not given away free but is purchased.

     (4)  "Application for voter registration" means a voter registration form prescribed by the secretary of state that is completed and signed by an elector, is submitted to the election administrator, and contains voter registration information subject to verification as provided by law.

     (5)  "Ballot" means a paper ballot counted manually or a paper ballot counted by a machine, such as an optical scan system or other technology that automatically tabulates votes cast by processing the paper ballots.

     (6)  (a) "Ballot issue" or "issue" means a proposal submitted to the people at an election for their approval or rejection, including but not limited to an initiative, referendum, proposed constitutional amendment, recall question, school levy question, bond issue question, or ballot question.

     (b)  For the purposes of chapters 35 and 37, an issue becomes a "ballot issue" upon certification by the proper official that the legal procedure necessary for its qualification and placement on the ballot has been completed, except that a statewide issue becomes a "ballot issue" upon preparation and transmission by the secretary of state of the form of the petition or referral to the person who submitted the proposed issue.

     (7)  "Ballot issue committee" means a political committee specifically organized to support or oppose a ballot issue.

     (8)  "Candidate" means:

     (a)  an individual who has filed a declaration or petition for nomination, acceptance of nomination, or appointment as a candidate for public office as required by law;

     (b)  for the purposes of chapter 35, 36, or 37, an individual who has solicited or received and retained contributions, made expenditures, or given consent to an individual, organization, political party, or committee to solicit or receive and retain contributions or make expenditures on the individual's behalf to secure nomination or election to any office at any time, whether or not the office for which the individual will seek nomination or election is known when the:

     (i)  solicitation is made;

     (ii) contribution is received and retained; or

     (iii) expenditure is made; or

     (c)  an officeholder who is the subject of a recall election.

     (9)  (a) "Contribution" means:

     (i)  the receipt by a candidate or a political committee of an advance, gift, loan, conveyance, deposit, payment, or distribution of money or anything of value to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot issue;

     (ii) an expenditure, including an in-kind expenditure, that is made in coordination with a candidate or ballot issue committee and is reportable by the candidate or ballot issue committee as a contribution;

     (iii) the receipt by a political committee of funds transferred from another political committee; or

     (iv) the payment by a person other than a candidate or political committee of compensation for the personal services of another person that are rendered to a candidate or political committee.

     (b)  "Contribution" does not mean services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee or meals and lodging provided by individuals in their private residences for a candidate or other individual.

     (10) "Coordinated", including any variations of the term, means made in cooperation with, in consultation with, at the request of, or with the express prior consent of a candidate or political committee or an agent of a candidate or political committee.

     (11) "De minimis act" means an action, contribution, or expenditure that is so small that it does not trigger registration, reporting, disclaimer, or disclosure obligations under Title 13, chapter 35 or 37, or warrant enforcement as a campaign practices violation under Title 13, chapter 37.

     (12) "Election" means a general, special, or primary election held pursuant to the requirements of state law, regardless of the time or purpose.

     (13) "Election administrator" means the county clerk and recorder or the individual designated by a county governing body to be responsible for all election administration duties, except that with regard to school elections not administered by the county, the term means the school district clerk.

     (14) (a) "Election communication" means the following forms of communication to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue:

     (i)  a paid advertisement broadcast over radio, television, cable, or satellite;

     (ii) paid placement of content on the internet or other electronic communication network;

     (iii) a paid advertisement published in a newspaper or periodical or on a billboard;

     (iv) a mailing; or

     (v)  printed materials.

     (b)  The term does not mean:

     (i)  an activity or communication for the purpose of encouraging individuals to register to vote or to vote, if that activity or communication does not mention or depict a clearly identified candidate or ballot issue;

     (ii) a communication that does not support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue;

     (iii) a bona fide news story, commentary, blog, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, internet website, or other periodical publication of general circulation;

     (iv) a communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members, stockholders, or employees; or

     (v)  a communication that the commissioner determines by rule is not an election communication.

     (15) (a) "Electioneering communication" means a paid communication that is publicly distributed by radio, television, cable, satellite, internet website, newspaper, periodical, billboard, mail, or any other distribution of printed materials, that is made within 60 days of the initiation of voting in an election, that does not support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue, that can be received by more than 100 recipients in the district voting on the candidate or ballot issue, and that:

     (i)  refers to one or more clearly identified candidates in that election;

     (ii) depicts the name, image, likeness, or voice of one or more clearly identified candidates in that election; or

     (iii) refers to a political party, ballot issue, or other question submitted to the voters in that election.

     (b)  The term does not mean:

     (i)  a bona fide news story, commentary, blog, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, internet website, or other periodical publication of general circulation unless the facilities are owned or controlled by a candidate or political committee;

     (ii) a communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members, stockholders, or employees;

     (iii) a commercial communication that depicts a candidate's name, image, likeness, or voice only in the candidate's capacity as owner, operator, or employee of a business that existed prior to the candidacy;

     (iv) a communication that constitutes a candidate debate or forum or that solely promotes a candidate debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum; or

     (v)  a communication that the commissioner determines by rule is not an electioneering communication.

     (16) "Elector" means an individual qualified to vote under state law.

     (17) (a) "Expenditure" means a purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, promise, pledge, or gift of money or anything of value:

     (i) made by a candidate or political committee to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot issue; or

     (ii) used or intended for use in making independent expenditures or in producing electioneering communications.

     (b)  "Expenditure" does not mean:

     (i)  services, food, or lodging provided in a manner that they are not contributions under subsection (9);

     (ii) payments by a candidate for a filing fee or for personal travel expenses, food, clothing, lodging, or personal necessities for the candidate and the candidate's family;

     (iii) the cost of any bona fide news story, commentary, blog, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication of general circulation; or

     (iv) the cost of any communication by any membership organization or corporation to its members or stockholders or employees.

     (18) "Federal election" means an election in even-numbered years in which an elector may vote for individuals for the office of president of the United States or for the United States congress.

     (19) "General election" means an election that is held for offices that first appear on a primary election ballot, unless the primary is canceled as authorized by law, and that is held on a date specified in 13-1-104.

     (20) "Inactive elector" means an individual who failed to respond to confirmation notices and whose name was placed on the inactive list pursuant to 13-2-220 or 13-19-313.

     (21) "Inactive list" means a list of inactive electors maintained pursuant to 13-2-220 or 13-19-313.

     (22) (a) "Incidental committee" means a political committee that is not specifically organized or operating for the primary purpose of supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues but that may incidentally become a political committee by receiving a contribution or making an expenditure.

     (b)  For the purpose of this subsection (22), the primary purpose is determined by the commissioner by rule and includes criteria such as the allocation of budget, staff, or members' activity or the statement of purpose or goal of the person or individuals that form the committee.

     (23) "Independent committee" means a political committee organized for the primary purpose of receiving contributions and making expenditures that is not controlled either directly or indirectly by a candidate and that does not coordinate with a candidate in conjunction with the making of expenditures except pursuant to the limits set forth in 13-37-216(1).

     (24) "Independent expenditure" means an expenditure for an election communication to support or oppose a candidate or ballot issue made at any time that is not coordinated with a candidate or ballot issue committee.

     (25) "Individual" means a human being.

     (26) "Legally registered elector" means an individual whose application for voter registration was accepted, processed, and verified as provided by law.

     (27) "Mail ballot election" means any election that is conducted under Title 13, chapter 19, by mailing ballots to all active electors.

     (28) "Person" means an individual, corporation, association, firm, partnership, cooperative, committee, including a political committee, club, union, or other organization or group of individuals or a candidate as defined in subsection (8).

     (29) "Place of deposit" means a location designated by the election administrator pursuant to 13-19-307 for a mail ballot election conducted under Title 13, chapter 19.

     (30) (a) "Political committee" means a combination of two or more individuals or a person other than an individual who receives a contribution or makes an expenditure:

     (i)  to support or oppose a candidate or a committee organized to support or oppose a candidate or a petition for nomination;

     (ii) to support or oppose a ballot issue or a committee organized to support or oppose a ballot issue; or

     (iii) to prepare or disseminate an election communication, an electioneering communication, or an independent expenditure.

     (b)  Political committees include ballot issue committees, incidental committees, independent committees, and political party committees.

     (c)  A candidate and the candidate's treasurer do not constitute a political committee.

     (d)  A political committee is not formed when a combination of two or more individuals or a person other than an individual makes an election communication, an electioneering communication, or an independent expenditure of $250 or less.

     (31) "Political party committee" means a political committee formed by a political party organization and includes all county and city central committees.

     (32) "Political party organization" means a political organization that:

     (a)  was represented on the official ballot in either of the two most recent statewide general elections; or

     (b)  has met the petition requirements provided in Title 13, chapter 10, part 5.

     (33) "Political subdivision" means a county, consolidated municipal-county government, municipality, special purpose district, or any other unit of government, except school districts, having authority to hold an election.

     (34) "Polling place election" means an election primarily conducted at polling places rather than by mail under the provisions of Title 13, chapter 19.

     (35) "Primary" or "primary election" means an election held on a date specified in 13-1-107 to nominate candidates for offices filled at a general election.

     (36) "Provisional ballot" means a ballot cast by an elector whose identity or eligibility to vote has not been verified as provided by law.

     (37) "Provisionally registered elector" means an individual whose application for voter registration was accepted but whose identity or eligibility has not yet been verified as provided by law.

     (38) "Public office" means a state, county, municipal, school, or other district office that is filled by the people at an election.

     (39) "Random-sample audit" means an audit involving a manual count of ballots from designated races and ballot issues in precincts selected through a random process as provided in 13-17-503.

     (40) "Registrar" means the county election administrator and any regularly appointed deputy or assistant election administrator.

     (41) "Regular school election" means the school trustee election provided for in 20-20-105(1).

     (42) "School election" has the meaning provided in 20-1-101.

     (43) "School election filing officer" means the filing officer with whom the declarations for nomination for school district office were filed or with whom the school ballot issue was filed.

     (44) "School recount board" means the board authorized pursuant to 20-20-420 to perform recount duties in school elections.

     (45) "Signature envelope" means an envelope that contains a secrecy envelope and ballot and that is designed to:

     (a)  allow election officials, upon examination of the outside of the envelope, to determine that the ballot is being submitted by someone who is in fact a qualified elector and who has not already voted; and

     (b)  allow it to be used in the United States mail.

     (46) "Special election" means an election held on a day other than the day specified for a primary election, general election, or regular school election.

     (47) "Special purpose district" means an area with special boundaries created as authorized by law for a specialized and limited purpose.

     (48) "Statewide voter registration list" means the voter registration list established and maintained pursuant to 13-2-107 and 13-2-108.

     (49) "Support or oppose", including any variations of the term, means:

     (a)  using express words, including but not limited to "vote", "oppose", "support", "elect", "defeat", or "reject", that call for the nomination, election, or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidates, the election or defeat of one or more political parties, or the passage or defeat of one or more ballot issues submitted to voters in an election; or

     (b)  otherwise referring to or depicting one or more clearly identified candidates, political parties, or ballot issues in a manner that is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as a call for the nomination, election, or defeat of the candidate in an election, the election or defeat of the political party, or the passage or defeat of the ballot issue or other question submitted to the voters in an election.

     (50) "Transfer form" means a form prescribed by the secretary of state that may be filled out by an elector to transfer the elector's registration when the elector's residence address has changed within the county.

     (51) "Valid vote" means a vote that has been counted as valid or determined to be valid as provided in 13-15-206.

     (52) "Voted ballot" means a ballot that is:

     (a)  deposited in the ballot box at a polling place;

     (b)  received at the election administrator's office; or

     (c)  returned to a place of deposit.

     (53) "Voting system" or "system" means any machine, device, technology, or equipment used to automatically record, tabulate, or process the vote of an elector cast on a paper ballot."

 

     Section 203.  Section 13-1-504, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-1-504.  Dates for special purpose district elections -- call for election. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the following elections for a special purpose district must be held on the same day as the regular school election day established in 20-20-105(1), which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May:

     (a)  an election to create, alter the boundaries of, continue, or dissolve a special purpose district; and

     (b)  an election to fill a special purpose district office.

     (2)  (a) A special purpose district election that includes a question affecting district funding, such as fee assessments, bonds, or the sale or lease of property, may be held on the day specified in subsection (1) or scheduled as a special election.

     (b)  A conservation district election must be held on a primary or general election day.

     (3)  If specifically authorized by law, a special purpose district election may be held at the district's annual meeting.

     (4)  A special purpose district election may not be held earlier than 85 days after the date of the order or resolution calling for the election.

     (5)  Pursuant to 13-19-201, the governing body authorized by law to call an election shall specify in the order or resolution calling for the election whether the governing body is requesting that the election be conducted by mail."

 

     Section 204.  Section 13-13-230, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-13-230.  Authorization to increase county mill levy request funding. Subject to 15-10-420, a A county may levy an amount necessary request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] to finance the additional cost of administering an absentee election board program pursuant to 13-13-225 through 13-13-229. The mill levy may not be included as part of any existing mill levy or special mill levy assessed by the county. The amount of any mill levy adopted requested under this section must be reasonably related to the actual cost of providing services as required by 13-13-225 through 13-13-229."

 

     Section 205.  Section 15-1-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-101.  Definitions. (1) Except as otherwise specifically provided, when terms mentioned in this section are used in connection with taxation, they are defined in the following manner:

     (a)  The term "agricultural" refers to:

     (i)  the production of food, feed, and fiber commodities, livestock and poultry, bees, biological control insects, fruits and vegetables, and sod, ornamental, nursery, and horticultural crops that are raised, grown, or produced for commercial purposes; and

     (ii) the raising of domestic animals and wildlife in domestication or a captive environment.

     (b)  The term "assessed value" means the value of property as defined in 15-8-111.

     (c)  The term "average wholesale value" means the value to a dealer prior to reconditioning and the profit margin shown in national appraisal guides and manuals or the valuation schedules of the department.

     (d)  (i) The term "commercial", when used to describe property, means property used or owned by a business, a trade, or a corporation as defined in 35-2-114 or used for the production of income, including industrial property defined in subsection (1)(j), and excluding property described in subsection (1)(d)(ii).

     (ii) The following types of property are not commercial:

     (A)  agricultural lands;

     (B)  timberlands and forest lands;

     (C)  single-family residences and ancillary improvements and improvements necessary to the function of a bona fide farm, ranch, or stock operation;

     (D)  mobile homes and manufactured homes used exclusively as a residence except when held by a distributor or dealer as stock in trade; and

     (E)  all property described in 15-6-135.

     (e)  The term "comparable property" means property that:

     (i)  has similar use, function, and utility;

     (ii) is influenced by the same set of economic trends and physical, governmental, and social factors; and

     (iii) has the potential of a similar highest and best use.

     (f)  The term "credit" means solvent debts, secured or unsecured, owing to a person.

     (g)  (i) "Department", except as provided in subsection (1)(g)(ii), means the department of revenue provided for in 2-15-1301.

     (ii) In chapters 70 and 71, department means the department of transportation provided for in 2-15-2501.

     (h)  The terms "gas" and "natural gas" are synonymous and mean gas as defined in 82-1-111(2). The terms include all natural gases and all other fluid hydrocarbons, including methane gas or any other natural gas found in any coal formation.

     (i)  The term "improvements" includes all buildings, structures, fences, and improvements situated upon, erected upon, or affixed to land. When the department determines that the permanency of location of a mobile home, manufactured home, or housetrailer has been established, the mobile home, manufactured home, or housetrailer is presumed to be an improvement to real property. A mobile home, manufactured home, or housetrailer may be determined to be permanently located only when it is attached to a foundation that cannot feasibly be relocated and only when the wheels are removed.

     (j)  "Industrial property" for purposes of this section includes all land used for industrial purposes, improvements, and buildings used to house the industrial process and all storage facilities. Under this section, industrial property does not include personal property classified and taxed under 15-6-135 or 15-6-138.

     (k)  The term "leasehold improvements" means improvements to mobile homes and mobile homes located on land owned by another person. This property is assessed under the appropriate classification, and the taxes are due and payable in two payments as provided in 15-24-202. Delinquent taxes on leasehold improvements are a lien only on the leasehold improvements.

     (l)  The term "livestock" means cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, asses, llamas, alpacas, bison, ostriches, rheas, emus, and domestic ungulates.

     (m)  (i) The term "manufactured home" means a residential dwelling built in a factory in accordance with the United States department of housing and urban development code and the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

     (ii) A manufactured home does not include a mobile home, as defined in subsection (1)(o), or a mobile home or housetrailer constructed before the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards went into effect on June 15, 1976.

     (n)  The term "market value" means the value of property as provided in 15-8-111.

     (o)  The term "mobile home" means forms of housing known as "trailers", "housetrailers", or "trailer coaches" exceeding 8 feet in width or 45 feet in length, designed to be moved from one place to another by an independent power connected to them, or any trailer, housetrailer, or trailer coach up to 8 feet in width or 45 feet in length used as a principal residence.

     (p)  The term "personal property" includes everything that is the subject of ownership but that is not included within the meaning of the terms "real estate" and "improvements" and "intangible personal property" as that term is defined in 15-6-218.

     (q)  The term "poultry" includes all chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, and other birds raised in domestication to produce food or feathers.

     (r)  The term "property" includes money, credits, bonds, stocks, franchises, and all other matters and things, real, personal, and mixed, capable of private ownership. This definition may not be construed to authorize the taxation of the stocks of a company or corporation when the property of the company or corporation represented by the stocks is within the state and has been taxed.

     (s)  The term "real estate" includes:

     (i)  the possession of, claim to, ownership of, or right to the possession of land;

     (ii) all mines, minerals, and quarries in and under the land subject to the provisions of 15-23-501 and Title 15, chapter 23, part 8;

     (iii) all timber belonging to individuals or corporations growing or being on the lands of the United States; and

     (iv) all rights and privileges appertaining to mines, minerals, quarries, and timber.

     (t)  "Recreational" means hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, waterskiing, camping, biking, hiking, and winter sports, including but not limited to skiing, skating, and snowmobiling.

     (u)  "Research and development firm" means an entity incorporated under the laws of this state or a foreign corporation authorized to do business in this state whose principal purpose is to engage in theoretical analysis, exploration, and experimentation and the extension of investigative findings and theories of a scientific and technical nature into practical application for experimental and demonstration purposes, including the experimental production and testing of models, devices, equipment, materials, and processes.

     (v)  The term "stock in trade" means any mobile home, manufactured home, or housetrailer that is listed by the dealer as inventory and that is offered for sale, is unoccupied, and is not located on a permanent foundation. Inventory does not have to be located at the business location of a dealer or a distributor.

     (w)  The term "taxable value" means the market value multiplied by the classification tax rate as provided for in Title 15, chapter 6, part 1.

     (x)  The term "taxes" in relation to property under 15-6-133, 15-6-134, or 15-6-143 is the amount owed by a taxpayer that is the market value multiplied by the tax rate multiplied by the applicable mills, exclusive of local fees and assessments.

     (2)  The phrase "municipal corporation" or "municipality" or "taxing unit" includes a county, city, incorporated town, township, school district, irrigation district, or drainage district or a person, persons, or organized body authorized by law to establish tax levies for the purpose of raising public revenue.

     (3)  The term "state board" or "board" when used without other qualification means the state tax appeal board."

 

     Section 206.  Section 15-1-121, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-121.  Entitlement share payment -- purpose -- appropriation. (1) As described in 15-1-120(3), each local government is entitled to an annual amount that is the replacement for revenue received by local governments for diminishment of property tax base and various earmarked fees and other revenue that, pursuant to Chapter 574, Laws of 2001, amended by section 4, Chapter 13, Special Laws of August 2002, and later enactments, were consolidated to provide aggregation of certain reimbursements, fees, tax collections, and other revenue in the state treasury with each local government's share. The reimbursement under this section is provided by direct payment from the state treasury rather than the ad hoc system that offset certain state payments with local government collections due the state and reimbursements made by percentage splits, with a local government remitting a portion of collections to the state, retaining a portion, and in some cases sending a portion to other local governments.

     (2)  The sources of dedicated revenue that were relinquished by local governments in exchange for an entitlement share of the state general fund were:

     (a)  personal property tax reimbursements pursuant to sections 167(1) through (5) and 169(6), Chapter 584, Laws of 1999;

     (b)  vehicle, boat, and aircraft taxes and fees pursuant to:

     (i)  Title 23, chapter 2, part 5;

     (ii) Title 23, chapter 2, part 6;

     (iii) Title 23, chapter 2, part 8;

     (iv) 61-3-317;

     (v)  61-3-321;

     (vi) Title 61, chapter 3, part 5, except for 61-3-509(3), as that subsection read prior to the amendment of 61-3-509 in 2001;

     (vii) Title 61, chapter 3, part 7;

     (viii) 5% of the fees collected under 61-10-122;

     (ix) 61-10-130;

     (x)  61-10-148; and

     (xi) 67-3-205;

     (c)  gaming revenue pursuant to Title 23, chapter 5, part 6, except for the permit fee in 23-5-612(2)(a);

     (d)  district court fees pursuant to:

     (i)  25-1-201, except those fees in 25-1-201(1)(d), (1)(g), and (1)(j);

     (ii) 25-1-202;

     (iii) 25-9-506; and

     (iv) 27-9-103;

     (e)  certificate of title fees for manufactured homes pursuant to 15-1-116;

     (f)  financial institution taxes collected pursuant to the former provisions of Title 15, chapter 31, part 7;

     (g)  all beer, liquor, and wine taxes pursuant to:

     (i)  16-1-404;

     (ii) 16-1-406; and

     (iii) 16-1-411;

     (h)  late filing fees pursuant to 61-3-220;

     (i)  title and registration fees pursuant to 61-3-203;

     (j)  veterans' cemetery license plate fees pursuant to 61-3-459;

     (k)  county personalized license plate fees pursuant to 61-3-406;

     (l)  special mobile equipment fees pursuant to 61-3-431;

     (m)  single movement permit fees pursuant to 61-4-310;

     (n)  state aeronautics fees pursuant to 67-3-101; and

     (o)  department of natural resources and conservation payments in lieu of taxes pursuant to Title 77, chapter 1, part 5.

     (3)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (3)(b), the total amount received by each local government in the prior fiscal year as an entitlement share payment under this section is the base component for the subsequent fiscal year distribution, and in each subsequent year the prior year entitlement share payment, including any reimbursement payments received pursuant to subsection (7), is each local government's base component. Subject to subsection (3)(b), the sum of all local governments' base components is the fiscal year entitlement share pool.

     (b)  For fiscal year 2016, the fiscal year entitlement share pool is reduced by $1,049,904.

     (4)  (a) Subject to subsection (3)(b), the base entitlement share pool must be increased annually by an entitlement share growth rate as provided for in this subsection (4). The amount determined through the application of annual growth rates is the entitlement share pool for each fiscal year.

     (b)  By October 1 of each year, the department shall calculate the growth rate of the entitlement share pool for the next fiscal year in the following manner:

     (i)  The department shall calculate the entitlement share growth rate based on the ratio of two factors of state revenue sources for the first, second, and third most recently completed fiscal years as recorded on the statewide budgeting and accounting system. The first factor is the sum of the revenue for the first and second previous completed fiscal years received from the sources referred to in subsections (2)(b), (2)(c), and (2)(g) divided by the sum of the revenue for the second and third previous completed fiscal years received from the same sources multiplied by 0.75. The second factor is the sum of the revenue for the first and second previous completed fiscal years received from individual income tax as provided in Title 15, chapter 30, and corporate income tax as provided in Title 15, chapter 31, divided by the sum of the revenue for the second and third previous completed fiscal years received from the same sources multiplied by 0.25.

     (ii) Except as provided in subsection (4)(b)(iii), the entitlement share growth rate is the lesser of:

     (A)  the sum of the first factor plus the second factor; or

     (B)  1.03 for counties, 1.0325 for consolidated local governments, and 1.035 for cities and towns.

     (iii) In no instance can the entitlement growth factor be less than 1. Subject to subsection (4)(b)(iv), the entitlement share growth rate is applied to the most recently completed fiscal year entitlement payment to determine the subsequent fiscal year payment.

     (iv) For fiscal year 2016, the entitlement share growth rate is applied to the most recently completed fiscal year entitlement payment minus $1,049,904 to determine the subsequent fiscal year payment.

     (5)  As used in this section, "local government" means a county, a consolidated local government, an incorporated city, and an incorporated town. A local government does not include a tax increment financing district provided for in subsection (8). The county or consolidated local government is responsible for making an allocation from the county's or consolidated local government's share of the entitlement share pool to each special district within the county or consolidated local government in a manner that reasonably reflects each special district's loss of revenue sources for which reimbursement is provided in this section. The allocation for each special district that existed in 2002 must be based on the relative proportion of the loss of revenue in 2002.

     (6)  (a) The entitlement share pools calculated in this section, the amounts determined under 15-1-123(2) for local governments, the funding provided for in subsection (8) of this section, and the amounts determined under 15-1-123(4) for tax increment financing districts are statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, from the general fund to the department for distribution to local governments. Except for the distribution made under 15-1-123(2)(b), the distributions must be made on a quarterly basis.

     (b)  (i) The growth amount is the difference between the entitlement share pool in the current fiscal year and the entitlement share pool in the previous fiscal year. The growth factor in the entitlement share must be calculated separately for:

     (A)  counties;

     (B)  consolidated local governments; and

     (C)  incorporated cities and towns.

     (ii) In each fiscal year, the growth amount for counties must be allocated as follows:

     (A)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon each county's percentage of the prior fiscal year entitlement share pool for all counties; and

     (B)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon the percentage that each county's population bears to the state population not residing within consolidated local governments as determined by the latest interim year population estimates from the Montana department of commerce as supplied by the United States bureau of the census.

     (iii) In each fiscal year, the growth amount for consolidated local governments must be allocated as follows:

     (A)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon each consolidated local government's percentage of the prior fiscal year entitlement share pool for all consolidated local governments; and

     (B)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon the percentage that each consolidated local government's population bears to the state's total population residing within consolidated local governments as determined by the latest interim year population estimates from the Montana department of commerce as supplied by the United States bureau of the census.

     (iv) In each fiscal year, the growth amount for incorporated cities and towns must be allocated as follows:

     (A)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon each incorporated city's or town's percentage of the prior fiscal year entitlement share pool for all incorporated cities and towns; and

     (B)  50% of the growth amount must be allocated based upon the percentage that each city's or town's population bears to the state's total population residing within incorporated cities and towns as determined by the latest interim year population estimates from the Montana department of commerce as supplied by the United States bureau of the census.

     (v)  In each fiscal year, the amount of the entitlement share pool before the growth amount or adjustments made under subsection (7) are applied is to be distributed to each local government in the same manner as the entitlement share pool was distributed in the prior fiscal year.

     (7)  If the legislature enacts a reimbursement provision that is to be distributed pursuant to this section, the department shall determine the reimbursement amount as provided in the enactment and add the appropriate amount to the entitlement share distribution under this section. The total entitlement share distributions in a fiscal year, including distributions made pursuant to this subsection, equal the local fiscal year entitlement share pool. The ratio of each local government's distribution from the entitlement share pool must be recomputed to determine each local government's ratio to be used in the subsequent year's distribution determination under subsections (6)(b)(ii)(A), (6)(b)(iii)(A), and (6)(b)(iv)(A).

     (8)  (a) Except for a tax increment financing district entitled to a reimbursement under 15-1-123(4), if a tax increment financing district was not in existence during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, then the tax increment financing district is not entitled to any funding. If a tax increment financing district referred to in subsection (8)(b) terminates, then the funding for the district provided for in subsection (8)(b) terminates.

     (b)  Except for the reimbursement made under 15-1-123(4)(b), one-half of the payments provided for in this subsection (8)(b) must be made by November 30 and the other half by May 31 of each year. Subject to subsection (8)(a), the entitlement share for tax increment financing districts is as follows:

 Deer Lodge

 TIF District 1

 $2,833

 Deer Lodge

 TIF District 2

 2,813

 Flathead

 Kalispell - District 2

 4,638

 Flathead

 Kalispell - District 3

 37,231

 Flathead

 Whitefish District

 148,194

 Gallatin

 Bozeman - downtown

 31,158

 Missoula

 Missoula - 1-1C

 225,251

 Missoula

 Missoula - 4-1C

 30,009

 Silver Bow

 Butte - uptown

 255,421

     (9)  The estimated fiscal year entitlement share pool and any subsequent entitlement share pool for local governments do not include revenue received from tax increment financing districts, from countywide transportation block grants, or from countywide retirement block grants.

     (10) When there has been an underpayment of a local government's share of the entitlement share pool, the department shall distribute the difference between the underpayment and the correct amount of the entitlement share. When there has been an overpayment of a local government's entitlement share, the local government shall remit the overpaid amount to the department.

     (11) A local government may appeal the department's estimation of the base component, the entitlement share growth rate, or a local government's allocation of the entitlement share pool, according to the uniform dispute review procedure in 15-1-211.

     (12) A payment required pursuant to this section may not be offset by a debt owed to a state agency by a local government in accordance with Title 17, chapter 4, part 1."

 

     Section 207.  Section 15-1-123, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-123.  Reimbursement for class eight rate reduction and exemption -- distribution -- appropriations. (1) For the tax rate reductions in 15-6-138(3), the increased exemption amount in 15-6-138(4), the effective tax rate reductions on property under 15-6-145 because of the rate reductions required by the amendments of 15-6-138 in section 2, Chapter 411, Laws of 2011, and section 2, Chapter 396, Laws of 2013, and the effective tax rate reductions on property under 15-6-145 because of the increased exemption amount required by the amendment of 15-6-138 in section 2, Chapter 396, Laws of 2013, the department shall for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2014, and June 30, 2015, estimate for each local government, as defined in 15-1-121(5), each school district, the county retirement fund under 20-9-501, the countywide school transportation reimbursement under former 20-10-146, each tax increment financing district, and the 6-mill university levy for the purposes of 15-10-108 the difference between property tax collections under 15-6-138 as amended by section 2, Chapter 411, Laws of 2011, and section 2, Chapter 396, Laws of 2013, and under 15-6-145 and the property tax revenue that would have been collected under 15-6-138 and 15-6-145 if 15-6-138 had not been amended by section 2, Chapter 411, Laws of 2011, and section 2, Chapter 396, Laws of 2013. The difference is the annual reimbursable amount for each local government, each school district, each tax increment financing district, and the 6-mill levy for the support of the Montana university system under 15-10-108.

     (2)  (a) The department shall distribute the reimbursements calculated in subsection (1) to local governments with the entitlement share payments under 15-1-121(7) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. Local government reimbursements for subsequent years are made pursuant to the entitlement share recomputation as provided in 15-1-121(6).

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property for each local government. By June 15, 2014, the department shall distribute the amount determined under this subsection (2)(b) for local governments as provided in 15-1-121(6)(a).

     (3)  (a) The office of public instruction shall distribute the reimbursements calculated in subsection (1) to school districts with the block grants pursuant to former 20-9-630 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. School district reimbursements for subsequent fiscal years are made pursuant to 20-9-630 the guarantee account provided for in 20-9-622.

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property for each school district. By November 30, 2014, the office of public instruction shall distribute the amount determined under this subsection (3)(b) in the same manner as the block grant is distributed by fund under 20-9-630.

     (4)  (a) For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the amount determined under subsection (1) for each tax increment financing district must be added to the reimbursement amount for the tax increment financing district as provided in 15-1-121(8)(b) if the tax increment financing district is still in existence. If a tax increment financing district that is entitled to a reimbursement under this section is not listed under 15-1-121(8)(b), the reimbursement must be made to that tax increment financing district at the same time as other districts.

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property for each tax increment financing district. By June 15, 2014, the department shall distribute the amount determined under this subsection (4)(b) to each tax increment financing district as provided in 15-1-121(8) and to any other tax increment financing district that is entitled to a reimbursement under this section.

     (5)  (a) For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the amount determined under subsection (1) for the 6-mill university levy must be added to current collections and reimbursements for the support of the Montana university system as provided in 15-10-108.

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property for the 6-mill university levy. By June 15, 2014, the department of administration shall transfer the amount determined under this subsection (5)(b) from the general fund to the state special revenue fund for the support of the Montana university system as provided in 15-10-108.

     (c)  Beginning in fiscal year 2013, the department of administration shall transfer the amounts determined under this subsection (5) from the general fund to the state special revenue fund for the support of the Montana university system as provided in 15-10-108.

     (6)  (a) The office of public instruction shall distribute the reimbursements calculated in subsection (1) to the countywide retirement fund under 20-9-501 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. One-half of the amount must be distributed in November and the remainder in May.

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property in the county. By November 30, 2014, the office of public instruction shall distribute the amount determined under this subsection (6)(b) to the countywide retirement fund.

     (7)  (a) The office of public instruction shall distribute the reimbursements calculated in subsection (1) to the county transportation reimbursement under former 20-10-146 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. The reimbursement must be made at the same time as countywide school transportation block grants are distributed under 20-9-632.

     (b)  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the department shall determine from the amount calculated under subsection (1) the amount that is attributable to personal property taxes that are not a lien on real property in the county. By November 30, 2014, the office of public instruction shall distribute the amount determined under this subsection (7)(b) to the county transportation reimbursement."

 

     Section 208.  Section 15-1-205, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-205.  Biennial report -- contents. (1) The department shall transmit to the governor 20 days before the meeting of the legislature and make available to the legislature and the public a report of the department showing all the taxable property of the state, counties, and cities and its value. The department shall follow the provisions of 5-11-210 in preparing the report for the legislature.

     (2)  The report must also include the statewide average effective tax rate of taxable property in each class of property. The department may determine whether an appropriate effective tax rate may be derived for net proceeds, and gross proceeds, agricultural land, and forest land.

     (3)  The report or supplements to the report must also include:

     (a)  the gross dollar amount of revenue loss attributable to:

     (i)  personal income and corporate income tax exemptions;

     (ii) property tax exemptions for which application to the department is necessary;

     (iii) deferral of income;

     (iv) credits allowed against Montana personal income tax or Montana corporate income tax, reported separately;

     (v)  deductions from income; and

     (vi) any other identifiable preferential treatment of income or property;

     (b)  any change in tax revenue of the state or any unit of local government attributable to a change in federal tax law;

     (c)  any change in the revenue of any unit of local government attributable to a change in state tax law;

     (d)  the year of enactment and provision of the Montana Code Annotated granting the tax benefits in subsection (3)(a); and

     (e)  the number of taxpayers benefiting from each of the tax provisions listed in subsection (3)(a).

     (4)  A distributional analysis of the data described in subsection (3) must be related to the income level and age of the taxpayer whenever the information is available.

     (5)  (a) When reporting the data described in subsection (3)(a), the department shall identify any known purpose of the preferential treatment.

     (b)  Based upon the purpose of the preferential treatment, the department shall outline the available data necessary to determine the effectiveness of the preferential treatment.

     (6)  In reporting the data described in subsection (3), the department shall report any comparable data, if available, from Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota and from any other state the department may choose.

     (7)  The department shall identify in a separate section of the report any changes that have been made or that are contemplated in property appraisal or assessment.

     (8)  The department may include a report, prepared by the department of transportation, showing the selling price of gasoline at the wholesale level in prime market centers of Montana and in surrounding states during the biennium, with indexes tabulated at sufficient intervals to show the comparative state price structures.

     (9)  The department shall provide an internet version of the report free of charge to the public and shall charge a fee for paper copies that is commensurate with the cost of printing the report."

 

     Section 209.  Section 15-1-211, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-211.  Uniform dispute review procedure -- notice -- appeal. (1) The department shall provide a uniform dispute review procedure for all persons or other entities, except as provided in subsection (1)(a).

     (a)  The department's dispute review procedure must be adopted by administrative rule and applies to all matters administered by the department and to all issues arising from the administration of the department, except estate taxes, property taxes, and the issue of whether an employer-employee relationship existed between the person or other entity and individuals subjecting the person or other entity to the requirements of chapter 30, part 25, or whether the employment relationship was that of an independent contractor. The procedure applies to assessments of centrally assessed property taxed pursuant to chapter 23.

     (b)  (i) The term "other entity", as used in this section, includes all businesses, corporations, and similar enterprises.

     (ii) The term "person" as used in this section includes all individuals.

     (2)  (a) Persons or other entities having a dispute with the department have the right to have the dispute resolved by appropriate means, including consideration of alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation.

     (b)  The department shall establish a dispute resolution office to resolve disputes between the department and persons or other entities.

     (c)  Disputes must be resolved by a final department decision within 180 days of the referral to the dispute resolution office, unless extended by mutual consent of the parties. If a final department decision is not issued within the required time period, the remedy is an appeal to the appropriate forum as provided by law.

     (3)  (a) The department shall provide written notice to a person or other entity advising the person or entity of a dispute over matters administered by the department.

     (b)  The person or other entity shall have the opportunity to resolve the dispute with the department employee who is responsible for the notice, as indicated on the notice.

     (c)  If the dispute cannot be resolved, either the department or the other party may refer the dispute to the dispute resolution office.

     (d)  The notice must advise the person or other entity of their opportunity to resolve the dispute with the person responsible for the notice and their right to refer the dispute to the dispute resolution office.

     (4)  Written notice must be sent to the persons or other entities involved in a dispute with the department indicating that the matter has been referred to the dispute resolution office. The written notice must include:

     (a)  a summary of the department's position regarding the dispute;

     (b)  an explanation of the right to the resolution of the dispute with a clear description of all procedures and options available;

     (c)  the right to obtain a final department decision within 180 days of the date that the dispute was referred to the dispute resolution office;

     (d)  the right to appeal should the department fail to meet the required deadline for issuing a final department decision; and

     (e)  the right to request alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation.

     (5)  The department shall:

     (a)  develop guidelines that must be followed by employees of the department in dispute resolution matters;

     (b)  develop policies concerning the authority of an employee to resolve disputes; and

     (c)  establish procedures for reviewing and approving disputes resolved by an employee or the dispute resolution office.

     (6)  (a) (i) The director of revenue or the director's designee is authorized to enter into an agreement with a person or other entity relating to a matter administered by the department.

     (ii) The director or the director's designee has no authority to bind a future legislature through the terms of an agreement.

     (b)  Subject to subsection (6)(a)(ii), an agreement under the provisions of subsection (6)(a)(i) is final and conclusive, and, except upon a showing of fraud, malfeasance, or misrepresentation of a material fact:

     (i)  the agreement may not be reopened as to matters agreed upon or be modified by any officer, employee, or agent of this state; and

     (ii) in any suit, action, or proceeding under the agreement or any determination, assessment, collection, payment, abatement, refund, or credit made in accordance with the agreement, the agreement may not be annulled, modified, set aside, or disregarded."

 

     Section 210.  Section 15-1-303, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-303.  Penalty for refusal to furnish information. (1) If a person refuses to allow inspection of any books or records when requested by the department or refuses or neglects to furnish any information called for by the department in the performance of its official duties relating to the assessment and taxation of property, the department shall make a determination and assessment of the property that in its judgment appears to be just and equitable and may add to the assessment an amount not to exceed 20% of the assessment as a penalty for the refusal or neglect. The department shall immediately notify the person assessed of its action, either by mail or by personal service of the notice.

     (2)  Upon receiving an assessment made pursuant to subsection (1), the taxpayer has the following remedies:

     (a)  Within 30 days after receipt of the assessment, the taxpayer may request an informal conference with the department. At the conference, the taxpayer may present evidence in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the information requested by the department. Within 10 days after the conference, the department shall notify the taxpayer by mail whether the assessment will be modified. The department may modify the penalty if the taxpayer presents sufficient evidence in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the information sought by the department and if it finds that the taxpayer did not willfully refuse to supply the information.

     (b)  If the taxpayer is aggrieved as a result of the informal conference, the taxpayer may appeal to the county state tax appeal board within 30 days after receipt of the decision of the department. The county state tax appeal board has the authority to modify the:

     (i)  assessment only if it finds that the assessment exceeds 100% of the value of the property specified in 15-8-111; and

     (ii) penalty if the taxpayer presents by a preponderance of the evidence facts in mitigation or extenuation of the failure to supply the information that the department sought.

     (c)  If the county state tax appeal board modifies a penalty pursuant to subsection (2)(b)(ii), it may not reduce the penalty to less than 20% of the assessment or, if the assessment is modified pursuant to subsection (2)(b)(i), to less than 20% of the modified assessment.

     (3)  Either party aggrieved as a result of the decision of the county tax appeal board may appeal to the state tax appeal board within 30 calendar days after receipt of the county tax appeal board's decision. When deciding an appeal brought under this subsection, the state tax appeal board shall follow the provisions of subsections (2)(b) and (2)(c).

     (4)(3)  Either party aggrieved as a result of the decision of the state tax appeal board may seek judicial review pursuant to 15-2-303."

 

     Section 211.  Section 15-1-402, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-1-402.  Payment of property taxes or fees under protest. (1) (a) The person upon whom a property tax or fee is being imposed under this title may, before the property tax or fee becomes delinquent, pay under written protest that portion of the property tax or fee protested.

     (b)  The protested payment must:

     (i)  be made to the officer designated and authorized to collect it;

     (ii) specify the grounds of protest; and

     (iii) not exceed the difference between the payment for the immediately preceding tax year and the amount owing in the tax year protested unless a different amount results from the specified grounds of protest, which may include but are not limited to changes in assessment due to reappraisal under 15-7-111.

     (c)  If the protested property tax or fee is on property that is subject to central assessment pursuant to 15-23-101, the person shall report to the department the grounds of the protest and the amount of the protested payment for each county in which a protested payment was made.

     (2)  A person appealing a property tax or fee pursuant to Title 15, chapter 2 or 15, including a person appealing a property tax or fee on property that is annually assessed by the department or subject to central assessment pursuant to 15-23-101(1) or (2), shall pay the tax or fee under protest when due in order to receive a refund. If the tax or fee is not paid under protest when due, the appeal or mediation may continue but a tax or fee may not be refunded as a result of the appeal or mediation.

     (3)  If a protested property tax or fee is payable in installments, a subsequent installment portion considered unlawful by the state tax appeal board need not be paid and an action or suit need not be commenced to recover the subsequent installment. The determination of the action or suit commenced to recover the first installment portion paid under protest determines the right of the party paying the subsequent installment to have it or any part of it refunded to the party or the right of the taxing authority to collect a subsequent installment not paid by the taxpayer plus interest from the date the subsequent installment was due.

     (4)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (4)(b), all property taxes and fees paid under protest to a county or municipality must be deposited by the treasurer of the county or municipality to the credit of a special fund to be designated as a protest fund and must be retained in the protest fund until the final determination of any action or suit to recover the taxes and fees unless they are released at the request of the county, municipality, or other local taxing jurisdiction pursuant to subsection (5). This section does not prohibit the investment of the money of this fund in the state unified investment program or in any manner provided in Title 7, chapter 6. The provision creating the special protest fund does not apply to any payments made under protest directly to the state.

     (b)  (i)(4) (a) Property taxes that are levied by the state against property that is centrally assessed pursuant to 15-23-101 and any protested taxes on industrial property that is annually assessed by the department in a school district that has elected to waive its right to protested taxes in a specific year pursuant to 15-1-409 must be remitted by the county treasurer to the department for deposit as provided in subsections (4)(b)(ii) through (4)(b)(iv) and (4)(c).

     (ii)(b) The department shall deposit 50% of that portion of the funds levied for the university system pursuant to 15-10-108 in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the university system, and the other 50% of the funds levied pursuant to 15-10-108 must be deposited in a centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund.

     (iii)(c) Fifty percent of the funds remaining after the deposit of university system funds must be deposited in the state general fund, and the other 50% must be deposited in a centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund.

     (iv) Fifty percent of the funds from a school district that has waived its right to protested taxes must be deposited in the state general fund, and the other 50% must be deposited in a school district property tax protest state special revenue fund.

     (5)  (a) Except as provided in subsections (5)(b) and (5)(c), the governing body of a taxing jurisdiction affected by the payment of taxes under protest in the second and subsequent years that a tax protest remains unresolved may demand that the treasurer of the county or municipality pay the requesting taxing jurisdiction all or a portion of the protest payments to which it is entitled, except the amount paid by the taxpayer in the first year of the protest. The decision in a previous year of a taxing jurisdiction to leave protested taxes in the protest fund does not preclude it from demanding in a subsequent year any or all of the payments to which it is entitled, except the first-year protest amount.

     (b)  The governing body of a taxing jurisdiction affected by the payment of taxes under protest on property that is centrally assessed pursuant to 15-23-101 or on industrial property that is assessed annually by the department in the first and subsequent years that a tax protest remains unresolved may demand that the treasurer of the county or municipality pay the requesting taxing jurisdiction all or a portion of the protest payments to which it is entitled. The decision in a previous year of a taxing jurisdiction to leave protested taxes of centrally assessed property in the protest fund does not preclude it from demanding in a subsequent year any or all of the payments to which it is entitled.

     (c)  The provisions of subsection (5)(b) do not apply to a school district that has elected to waive its right to its portion of protested taxes on centrally assessed property and on industrial property that is assessed annually by the department for that specific year as provided in 15-1-409.

     (6)(5)  (a) If action before the county tax appeal board, state tax appeal board, or district court is not commenced within the time specified or if the action is commenced and finally determined in favor of the department of revenue, county, municipality, or treasurer of the county or the municipality, the amount of the protested portions of the property tax or fee must be taken from the protest fund or the centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund and deposited to the credit of the fund or funds to which the property tax belongs, less a pro rata deduction for the costs of administration of the protest fund and related expenses charged to the local government units.

     (b)  (i) If the action is finally determined adversely to the governmental entity levying the tax, then the treasurer of the municipality, county, or state entity levying the tax shall, upon receipt of a certified copy of the final judgment in the action and upon expiration of the time set forth for appeal of the final judgment, refund to the person in whose favor the judgment is rendered the amount of the protested portions of the property tax or fee that the person holding the judgment is entitled to recover, together with interest from the date of payment under protest. The department shall refund from the school district property tax protest state special revenue fund the protested portions of property taxes and interest to a taxpayer in a school district in which the school district has elected to waive its right to its portion of protested taxes for that specific year as provided in 15-1-409. If the amount available for the refund in the school district property tax protest state special revenue fund is insufficient to refund the property tax payments, the department shall pay the remainder of the refund from the state general fund.

     (ii) The taxing jurisdiction shall pay interest at the rate of interest earned by the pooled investment fund provided for in 17-6-203 for the applicable period.

     (c)  If the amount retained in the protest fund is insufficient to pay all sums due the taxpayer, the treasurer shall apply the available amount first to tax repayment, then to interest owed, and lastly to costs.

     (d)  (i) If the protest action is decided adversely to a taxing jurisdiction and the amount retained in the protest fund is insufficient to refund the tax payments and costs to which the taxpayer is entitled and for which local government units are responsible, the treasurer shall bill and the taxing jurisdiction shall refund to the treasurer that portion of the taxpayer refund, including tax payments and costs, for which the taxing jurisdiction is proratably responsible. The treasurer is not responsible for the amount required to be refunded by the state treasurer as provided in subsection (6)(b).

     (ii)(b) For an adverse protest action against the state for centrally assessed property, the department shall refund from the centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund the amount of protested taxes and from the state general fund the amount of interest as required in subsection (6)(b). The amount refunded for an adverse protested action from the centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund may not exceed the amount of protested taxes or fees required to be deposited for that action pursuant to subsections (4)(b)(ii) and (4)(b)(iii) (4)(c) or, for taxes or fees protested prior to April 28, 2005, an equivalent amount of the money transferred to the fund pursuant to section 3, Chapter 536, Laws of 2005. If the amount available for the adverse protested action in the centrally assessed property tax state special revenue fund is insufficient to refund the tax payments to which the taxpayer is entitled and for which the state is responsible, the department shall pay the remainder of the refund proportionally from the state general fund and from money deposited in the state special revenue fund levied pursuant to 15-10-108.

     (e)(c)  In satisfying the requirements of subsection (6)(d) (5)(b), the taxing jurisdiction, including the state, is allowed not more than 1 year from the beginning of the fiscal year following a final resolution of the protest. The taxpayer is entitled to interest on the unpaid balance at the rate referred to in subsection (6)(b) of interest earned by the pooled investment fund provided for in 17-6-203 for the applicable period from the date of payment under protest until the date of final resolution of the protest and at the combined rate of the federal reserve discount rate quoted from the federal reserve bank in New York, New York, on the date of final resolution, plus 4 percentage points, from the date of final resolution of the protest until refund is made.

     (7)  A taxing jurisdiction, except the state, may satisfy the requirements of this section by use of funds from one or more of the following sources:

     (a)  imposition of a property tax to be collected by a special tax protest refund levy;

     (b)  the general fund or any other funds legally available to the governing body; and

     (c)  proceeds from the sale of bonds issued by a county, city, or school district for the purpose of deriving revenue for the repayment of tax protests lost by the taxing jurisdiction. The governing body of a county, city, or school district is authorized to issue the bonds pursuant to procedures established by law. The bonds may be issued without being submitted to an election. Property taxes may be levied to amortize the bonds.

     (8)(6)  If the department revises an assessment that results in a refund of taxes of $5 or less, a refund is not owed."

 

     Section 212.  Section 15-2-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-2-301.  Appeal of county tax appeal board decisions. (1) (a) The county tax appeal board shall mail a copy of its decision to the taxpayer and to the property assessment division of the department of revenue.

     (b)  If the appearance provisions of 15-15-103 have been complied with, a A person or the department on behalf of the state or any municipal corporation aggrieved by the action of the county tax appeal board may appeal to the state tax appeal board by filing with the state board a notice of appeal within 30 calendar days after the receipt of the decision of the county board. The notice must specify the action complained of and the reasons assigned for the complaint.

     (c)  Notice of acceptance of an appeal must be given to the county board by the state board.

     (d)  The state board shall set the appeal for hearing either in its office in the capital or at the county seat as the state board considers advisable to facilitate the performance of its duties or to accommodate parties in interest.

     (e)  The state board shall give to the appellant and to the respondent at least 15 calendar days' notice of the time and place of the hearing.

     (2)  (a) At the time of giving notice of acceptance of an appeal, the state board may require the county board to certify to it the minutes of the proceedings resulting in the action and all testimony taken in connection with its proceedings.

     (b)  The state board may, in its discretion, determine the appeal on the record if all parties receive a copy of the transcript and are permitted to submit additional sworn statements, or the state board may hear further testimony.

     (c)  For industrial property that is assessed annually by the department, the state board's review must be de novo and conducted in accordance with the contested case provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.

     (d)  For the purpose of expediting its work, the state board may refer any appeal to one of its members or to a designated hearings officer. The board member or hearings officer may exercise all the powers of the state board in conducting a hearing and shall, as soon as possible after the hearing, report the proceedings, together with a transcript or a tape recording of the hearing, to the state board. The state board shall determine the appeal on the record.

     (3)  The state tax appeal board must consider an independent appraisal provided by the taxpayer if the appraisal meets standards set by the Montana board of real estate appraisers and the appraisal was conducted within 6 months of the valuation date. If the state board does not use the appraisal provided by the taxpayer in conducting the appeal, the state board must provide to the taxpayer the reason for not using the appraisal.

     (4)  In every hearing at a county seat throughout the state, the state board or the member or hearings officer designated to conduct a hearing may employ a competent person to electronically record the testimony received. The cost of electronically recording testimony may be paid out of the general appropriation for the board.

     (5)  Except as provided in subsection (2)(c) regarding industrial property, in connection with any appeal under this section, the state board is not bound by common law and statutory rules of evidence or rules of discovery and may affirm, reverse, or modify any decision. To the extent that this section is in conflict with the Montana Administrative Procedure Act, this section supersedes that act. The state board may not amend or repeal any administrative rule of the department. The state board shall give an administrative rule full effect unless the state board finds a rule arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise unlawful.

     (6)  The decision of the state board is final and binding upon all interested parties unless reversed or modified by judicial review. Proceedings for judicial review of a decision of the state board under this section are subject to the provisions of 15-2-303 and the Montana Administrative Procedure Act to the extent that it does not conflict with 15-2-303.

     (7)  Sections 15-6-134 and 15-7-111 may not be construed to prevent the department from implementing an order to change the valuation of property."

 

     Section 213.  Section 15-2-302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-2-302.  Direct appeal from department decision to state tax appeal board -- hearing. (1) (a) An appeal of a final decision of the department of revenue involving one of the matters provided for in subsection (1)(b) must be made to the state tax appeal board.

     (b)  Final decisions of the department for which appeals are provided in subsection (1)(a) are final decisions involving:

     (i)  property centrally assessed under chapter 23;

     (ii) classification of property as new industrial property;

     (iii) any other tax, other than the property tax, imposed under this title; or

     (iv) any other matter in which the appeal is provided by law.

     (2)  A person may appeal the department's annual assessment of an industrial property to the state board as provided in this section or to the county tax appeal board for the county in which the property is located as provided in Title 15, chapter 15, part 1.

     (3)(2)  The appeal is made by filing a complaint with the state board within 30 days following receipt of notice of the department's final decision. The complaint must set forth the grounds for relief and the nature of relief demanded. The state board shall immediately transmit a copy of the complaint to the department.

     (4)(3)  The department shall file with the state board an answer within 30 days following filing of a complaint.

     (5)(4)  The state board shall conduct the appeal in accordance with the contested case provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.

     (6)(5)  The decision of the state board is final and binding upon all interested parties unless reversed or modified by judicial review. Proceedings for judicial review of a decision of the state board under this section are subject to the provisions of 15-2-303 and the Montana Administrative Procedure Act to the extent that it does not conflict with 15-2-303."

 

     Section 214.  Section 15-2-306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-2-306.  Board may order refund. (1) In any appeal before the state tax appeal board when a taxpayer has paid property taxes or fees under written protest and the taxes or fees are held by the treasurer of a unit of local government in a protest fund, the state tax appeal board shall enter judgment, exclusive of costs, if the board finds that the property taxes or fees should be refunded.

     (2)  The state tax appeal board's judgment issued pursuant to subsection (1) must be held in abeyance:

     (a)  until the time period for appeal has passed; or

     (b)  if the final decision of the state tax appeal board has been appealed in accordance with 15-2-303."

 

     Section 215.  Section 15-6-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-101.  Property subject to taxation -- classification -- exemption for property that is not centrally assessed. (1) All centrally assessed property in this state described in 15-23-101 is subject to taxation, except as provided otherwise.

     (2)  For the purpose of taxation,:

     (a) the taxable property in the state shall be classified in accordance with this part; and

     (b) property that is not subject to central assessment is exempt from property taxes and assessments as provided in [section 25]."

 

     Section 216.  Section 15-6-122, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-122.  Business equipment tax on business personal property. A personal property tax applied to any class of personal property that is centrally assessed as provided in 15-23-101, excluding livestock, described in this part that belongs to, is claimed by, or is in the possession of or under the control or management of a sole proprietor, firm, association, partnership, business, corporation, or limited liability company is a business equipment tax."

 

     Section 217.  Section 15-6-135, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-135.  (Temporary) Class five property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class five property includes:

     (a)  all property used and owned by cooperative rural electrical and cooperative rural telephone associations organized under the laws of Montana, except property owned by cooperative organizations described in 15-6-137(1)(a);

     (b)  air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment as defined in this section;

     (c)  new industrial property as defined in this section;

     (d)  any personal or real property used primarily in the production of ethanol-blended gasoline during construction and for the first 3 years of its operation;

     (e)  all land and improvements and all personal property owned by a research and development firm, provided that the property is actively devoted to research and development;

     (f)  machinery and equipment used in electrolytic reduction facilities;

     (g)  all property used and owned by persons, firms, corporations, or other organizations that are engaged in the business of furnishing telecommunications services exclusively to rural areas or to rural areas and cities and towns of 1,200 permanent residents or less.

     (2)  (a) "Air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment" means that portion of identifiable property, facilities, machinery, devices, or equipment certified as provided in subsections (2)(b) and (2)(c) and designed, constructed, under construction, or operated for removing, disposing, abating, treating, eliminating, destroying, neutralizing, stabilizing, rendering inert, storing, or preventing the creation of air or water pollutants that, except for the use of the item, would be released to the environment. This includes machinery, devices, or equipment used to capture carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. Reduction in pollutants obtained through operational techniques without specific facilities, machinery, devices, or equipment is not eligible for certification under this section.

     (b)  Requests for certification must be made on forms available from the department of revenue. Certification may not be granted unless the applicant is in substantial compliance with all applicable rules, laws, orders, or permit conditions. Certification remains in effect only as long as substantial compliance continues.

     (c)  The department of environmental quality shall promulgate rules specifying procedures, including timeframes for certification application, and definitions necessary to identify air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment for certification and compliance. The department of revenue shall promulgate rules pertaining to the valuation of qualifying air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment. The department of environmental quality shall identify and track compliance in the use of certified air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment and report continuous acts or patterns of noncompliance at a facility to the department of revenue. Casual or isolated incidents of noncompliance at a facility do not affect certification.

     (d)  To qualify for the exemption under subsection (5)(b), the air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment must be placed into service after January 1, 2014, for the purposes of environmental benefit or to comply with state or federal pollution control regulations. If the air or water pollution control and carbon capture equipment enhances the performance of existing air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment, only the market value of the enhancement is subject to the exemption under subsection (5)(b).

     (e)  Except as provided in subsection (2)(d), equipment that does not qualify for the exemption under subsection (5)(b) includes but is not limited to equipment placed into service to maintain, replace, or repair equipment installed on or before January 1, 2014.

     (f)  A person may appeal the certification, classification, and valuation of the property to the state tax appeal board. Appeals on the property certification must name the department of environmental quality as the respondent, and appeals on the classification or valuation of the equipment must name the department of revenue as the respondent.

     (3)  (a) "New industrial property" means any new industrial plant, including land, buildings, machinery, and fixtures, used by new industries during the first 3 years of their operation. The property may not have been assessed within the state of Montana prior to July 1, 1961.

     (b)  New industrial property does not include:

     (i)  property used by retail or wholesale merchants, commercial services of any type, agriculture, trades, or professions unless the business or profession meets the requirements of subsection (4)(b)(v);

     (ii) a plant that will create adverse impact on existing state, county, or municipal services; or

     (iii) property used or employed in an industrial plant that has been in operation in this state for 3 years or longer.

     (4)  (a) "New industry" means any person, corporation, firm, partnership, association, or other group that establishes a new plant in Montana for the operation of a new industrial endeavor, as distinguished from a mere expansion, reorganization, or merger of an existing industry.

     (b)  New industry includes only those industries that:

     (i)  manufacture, mill, mine, produce, process, or fabricate materials;

     (ii) do similar work, employing capital and labor, in which materials unserviceable in their natural state are extracted, processed, or made fit for use or are substantially altered or treated so as to create commercial products or materials;

     (iii) engage in the mechanical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products in the manner defined as manufacturing in the North American Industry Classification System Manual prepared by the United States office of management and budget;

     (iv) engage in the transportation, warehousing, or distribution of commercial products or materials if 50% or more of an industry's gross sales or receipts are earned from outside the state; or

     (v)  earn 50% or more of their annual gross income from out-of-state sales.

     (5)  (a) Except as provided in [section 25] and subsection (5)(b), class five property is taxed at 3% of its market value.

     (b)  Air and water pollution control and carbon capture equipment placed in service after January 1, 2014, and that satisfies the criteria in subsection (2)(d) is exempt from taxation for a period of 10 years from the date of certification, after which the property is assessed at 100% of its taxable value. (Terminates December 31, 2025--sec. 7, Ch. 407, L. 2015.)

     15-6-135.  (Effective January 1, 2026) Class five property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class five property includes:

     (a)  all property used and owned by cooperative rural electrical and cooperative rural telephone associations organized under the laws of Montana, except property owned by cooperative organizations described in 15-6-137(1)(a);

     (b)  air and water pollution control equipment as defined in this section;

     (c)  new industrial property as defined in this section;

     (d)  any personal or real property used primarily in the production of ethanol-blended gasoline during construction and for the first 3 years of its operation;

     (e)  all land and improvements and all personal property owned by a research and development firm, provided that the property is actively devoted to research and development;

     (f)  machinery and equipment used in electrolytic reduction facilities;

     (g)  all property used and owned by persons, firms, corporations, or other organizations that are engaged in the business of furnishing telecommunications services exclusively to rural areas or to rural areas and cities and towns of 1,200 permanent residents or less.

     (2)  (a) "Air and water pollution control equipment" means that portion of identifiable property, facilities, machinery, devices, or equipment designed, constructed, under construction, or operated for removing, disposing, abating, treating, eliminating, destroying, neutralizing, stabilizing, rendering inert, storing, or preventing the creation of air or water pollutants that, except for the use of the item, would be released to the environment. Reduction in pollutants obtained through operational techniques without specific facilities, machinery, devices, or equipment is not eligible for certification under this section.

     (b)  Requests for certification must be made on forms available from the department of revenue. Certification may not be granted unless the applicant is in substantial compliance with all applicable rules, laws, orders, or permit conditions. Certification remains in effect only as long as substantial compliance continues.

     (c)  The department of environmental quality shall promulgate rules specifying procedures, including timeframes for certification application, and definitions necessary to identify air and water pollution control equipment for certification and compliance. The department of revenue shall promulgate rules pertaining to the valuation of qualifying air and water pollution control equipment. The department of environmental quality shall identify and track compliance in the use of certified air and water pollution control equipment and report continuous acts or patterns of noncompliance at a facility to the department of revenue. Casual or isolated incidents of noncompliance at a facility do not affect certification.

     (d)  A person may appeal the certification, classification, and valuation of the property to the state tax appeal board. Appeals on the property certification must name the department of environmental quality as the respondent, and appeals on the classification or valuation of the equipment must name the department of revenue as the respondent.

     (3)  (a) "New industrial property" means any new industrial plant, including land, buildings, machinery, and fixtures, used by new industries during the first 3 years of their operation. The property may not have been assessed within the state of Montana prior to July 1, 1961.

     (b)  New industrial property does not include:

     (i)  property used by retail or wholesale merchants, commercial services of any type, agriculture, trades, or professions unless the business or profession meets the requirements of subsection (4)(b)(v);

     (ii) a plant that will create adverse impact on existing state, county, or municipal services; or

     (iii) property used or employed in an industrial plant that has been in operation in this state for 3 years or longer.

     (4)  (a) "New industry" means any person, corporation, firm, partnership, association, or other group that establishes a new plant in Montana for the operation of a new industrial endeavor, as distinguished from a mere expansion, reorganization, or merger of an existing industry.

     (b)  New industry includes only those industries that:

     (i)  manufacture, mill, mine, produce, process, or fabricate materials;

     (ii) do similar work, employing capital and labor, in which materials unserviceable in their natural state are extracted, processed, or made fit for use or are substantially altered or treated so as to create commercial products or materials;

     (iii) engage in the mechanical or chemical transformation of materials or substances into new products in the manner defined as manufacturing in the North American Industry Classification System Manual prepared by the United States office of management and budget;

     (iv) engage in the transportation, warehousing, or distribution of commercial products or materials if 50% or more of an industry's gross sales or receipts are earned from outside the state; or

     (v)  earn 50% or more of their annual gross income from out-of-state sales.

     (5)  Class Subject to [section 25], class five property is taxed at 3% of its market value."

 

     Section 218.  Section 15-6-137, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-137.  Class seven property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), class seven property includes:

     (a)  all property owned by cooperative rural electrical associations that serve less than 95% of the electricity consumers within the incorporated limits of a city or town, except rural electric cooperative properties described in 15-6-141(1)(c);

     (b)  electric transformers and meters; electric light and power substation machinery; natural gas measuring and regulating station equipment, meters, and compressor station machinery owned by noncentrally assessed public utilities; and tools used in the repair and maintenance of this property.

     (2)  Class seven property does not include wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157.

     (3)  Class Subject to [section 25], class seven property is taxed at 8% of its market value."

 

     Section 219.  Section 15-6-138, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-138.  Class eight property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class eight property includes:

     (a)  all agricultural implements and equipment that are not exempt under 15-6-207 or 15-6-220;

     (b)  all mining machinery, fixtures, equipment, tools that are not exempt under 15-6-219, and supplies except those included in class five under 15-6-135;

     (c)  for oil and gas production, all:

     (i)  machinery;

     (ii) fixtures;

     (iii) equipment, including flow lines and gathering lines, pumping units, oil field storage tanks, water storage tanks, water disposal injection pumps, gas compressor and dehydrator units, communication towers, gas metering shacks, treaters, gas separators, water flood units, and gas boosters, together with equipment that is skidable, portable, or movable;

     (iv) tools that are not exempt under 15-6-219; and

     (v)  supplies except those included in class five;

     (d)  all manufacturing machinery, fixtures, equipment, tools, except a certain value of hand-held tools and personal property related to space vehicles, ethanol manufacturing, and industrial dairies and milk processors as provided in 15-6-220, and supplies except those included in class five;

     (e)  all goods and equipment that are intended for rent or lease, except goods and equipment that are specifically included and taxed in another class or that are rented under a purchase incentive rental program as defined in 15-6-202(4);

     (f)  special mobile equipment as defined in 61-1-101;

     (g)  furniture, fixtures, and equipment, except that specifically included in another class, used in commercial establishments as defined in this section;

     (h)  x-ray and medical and dental equipment;

     (i)  citizens' band radios and mobile telephones;

     (j)  radio and television broadcasting and transmitting equipment;

     (k)  cable television systems;

     (l)  coal and ore haulers;

     (m)  theater projectors and sound equipment; and

     (n)  all other property that is not included in any other class in this part, except that property that is subject to a fee in lieu of a property tax.

     (2)  As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  "Coal and ore haulers" means nonhighway vehicles that exceed 18,000 pounds an axle and that are primarily designed and used to transport coal, ore, or other earthen material in a mining or quarrying environment.

     (b)  "Commercial establishment" includes any hotel, motel, office, petroleum marketing station, or service, wholesale, retail, or food-handling business.

     (c)  "Flow lines and gathering lines" means pipelines used to transport all or part of the oil or gas production from an oil or gas well to an interconnection with a common carrier pipeline as defined in 69-13-101, a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2), or a rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipeline regulated by the public service commission or the federal energy regulatory commission.

     (3)  Except as provided in 15-24-1402 [section 25], class eight property is taxed at:

     (a)  for the first $6 million of taxable market value in excess of the exemption amount in subsection (4), 1.5%; and

     (b)  for all taxable market value in excess of $6 million, 3%.

     (4)  The first $100,000 of market value of class eight property of a person or business entity is exempt from taxation.

     (5)  The gas gathering facilities of a stand-alone gas gathering company providing gas gathering services to third parties on a contractual basis, owning more than 500 miles of gas gathering lines in Montana, and centrally assessed in tax years prior to 2009 must be treated as a natural gas transmission pipeline subject to central assessment under 15-23-101. For purposes of this subsection, the gas gathering line ownership of all affiliated companies, as defined in section 1504(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 1504(a), must be aggregated for purposes of determining the 500-mile threshold."

 

     Section 220.  Section 15-6-141, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-141.  Class nine property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class nine property includes:

     (a)  centrally assessed allocations of an electric power company or centrally assessed allocations of an electric power company that owns or operates transmission or distribution facilities or both;

     (b)  if congress passes legislation that allows the state to tax property owned by an agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy, allocations of properties constructed, owned, or operated by a public agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy produced at privately owned generating facilities, not including rural electric cooperatives;

     (c)  rural electric cooperatives' property, except wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157 and property used for headquarters, office, shop, or other similar facilities, used for the sole purpose of serving customers representing less than 95% of the electric consumers located within the incorporated limits of a city or town of more than 3,500 persons in which a centrally assessed electric power company also owns property or serving an incorporated municipality with a population that is greater than 3,500 persons formerly served by a public utility that after January 1, 1998, received service from the facilities of an electric cooperative;

     (d)  allocations for centrally assessed natural gas distribution utilities, rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipelines regulated by either the public service commission or the federal energy regulatory commission, a common carrier pipeline as defined in 69-13-101, a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2), or the gas gathering facilities specified in 15-6-138(5); and

     (e)  centrally assessed companies' allocations except:

     (i)  electrical generation facilities classified under 15-6-156;

     (ii) all property classified under 15-6-157;

     (iii) all property classified under 15-6-158 and 15-6-159;

     (iv) property owned by cooperative rural electric and cooperative rural telephone associations and classified under 15-6-135;

     (v)  property owned by organizations providing telephone communications to rural areas and classified under 15-6-135;

     (vi) railroad transportation property included in 15-6-145;

     (vii) airline transportation property included in 15-6-145; and

     (viii) telecommunications property included in 15-6-156.

     (2)  Class Subject to [section 25], class nine property is taxed at 12% of market value."

 

     Section 221.  Section 15-6-145, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-145.  Class twelve property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class twelve property includes all property of a railroad car company as defined in 15-23-211, all railroad transportation property as described in the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 as it read on January 1, 1986, and all airline transportation property as described in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 as it read on January 1, 1986.

     (2)  For the tax year beginning January 1, 1991, and for each tax year thereafter, Subject to [section 25], class twelve property is taxed at the percentage rate "R", to be determined by the department as provided in subsection (3), or 12%, whichever is less.

     (3)  R = A/B where:

     (a)  A is the total statewide taxable value of all commercial property, except class twelve property, as commercial property is described in 15-1-101(1)(d); and

     (b)  B is the total statewide market value of all commercial property, except class twelve property, as commercial property is described in 15-1-101(1)(d).

     (4)  (a) For the taxable year beginning January 1, 1986, and for every taxable year thereafter, the department shall conduct a sales assessment ratio study of all commercial and industrial real property and improvements. The study must be based on:

     (i)  assessments of such property as of January 1 of the year for which the study is being conducted; and

     (ii) a statistically valid sample of sales using data from realty transfer certificates filed during the same taxable year or from the immediately preceding taxable year, but only if a sufficient number of certificates is unavailable from the current taxable year to provide a statistically valid sample.

     (b)  The department shall determine the value-weighted mean sales assessment ratio "M" for all such property and reduce the taxable value of property described in subsection (4) only, by multiplying the total statewide taxable value of property described in subsection (4)(a) by "M" prior to calculating "A" in subsection (3)(a).

     (c)  The adjustment referred to in subsection (4)(b) will be made beginning January 1, 1986, and in each subsequent tax year to equalize the railroad taxable values.

     (5)  For the purpose of complying with the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, as it read on January 1, 1986, the rate "R" referred to in this section is the equalized average tax rate generally applicable to commercial and industrial property, except class twelve property, as commercial property is defined in 15-1-101(1)(d)."

 

     Section 222.  Section 15-6-156, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-156.  Class thirteen property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Except as provided in subsections (2)(a) through (2)(g), class thirteen property includes:

     (a)  electrical generation facilities, except wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157, of a centrally assessed electric power company;

     (b)  electrical generation facilities, except wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157, owned or operated by an exempt wholesale generator or an entity certified as an exempt wholesale generator pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 16451;

     (c)  noncentrally assessed electrical generation facilities, except wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157, owned or operated by any electrical energy producer; and

     (d)  allocations of centrally assessed telecommunications services companies.

     (2)  Class thirteen property does not include:

     (a)  property owned by cooperative rural electric cooperative associations classified under 15-6-135;

     (b)  property owned by cooperative rural electric cooperative associations classified under 15-6-137 or 15-6-157;

     (c)  allocations of electric power company property under 15-6-141;

     (d)  electrical generation facilities included in another class of property;

     (e)  property owned by cooperative rural telephone associations and classified under 15-6-135;

     (f)  property owned by organizations providing telecommunications services and classified under 15-6-135; and

     (g)  generation facilities that are exempt under 15-6-225.

     (3)  (a) For the purposes of this section, "electrical generation facilities" means any combination of a physically connected generator or generators, associated prime movers, and other associated property, including appurtenant land and improvements and personal property, that are normally operated together to produce electric power. The term includes but is not limited to generating facilities that produce electricity from coal-fired steam turbines, oil or gas turbines, or turbine generators that are driven by falling water.

     (b)  The term does not include electrical generation facilities used for noncommercial purposes or exclusively for agricultural purposes.

     (c)  The term also does not include a qualifying small power production facility, as that term is defined in 16 U.S.C. 796(17), that is owned and operated by a person not primarily engaged in the generation or sale of electricity other than electric power from a small power production facility and classified under 15-6-134 and 15-6-138.

     (4)  Class Subject to [section 25], class thirteen property is taxed at 6% of its market value."

 

     Section 223.  Section 15-6-157, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-157.  Class fourteen property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class fourteen property includes:

     (a)  wind generation facilities of a centrally assessed electric power company;

     (b)  wind generation facilities owned or operated by an exempt wholesale generator or an entity certified as an exempt wholesale generator pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 16451;

     (c)  noncentrally assessed wind generation facilities owned or operated by any electrical energy producer;

     (d)  wind generation facilities owned or operated by cooperative rural electric associations described under 15-6-137;

     (e)  biomass generation facilities up to 25 megawatts in nameplate capacity of a centrally assessed electric power company;

     (f)  biomass generation facilities up to 25 megawatts in nameplate capacity owned or operated by an exempt wholesale generator or an entity certified as an exempt wholesale generator pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 16451;

     (g)  noncentrally assessed biomass generation facilities up to 25 megawatts in nameplate capacity owned or operated by any electrical energy producer;

     (h)  biomass generation facilities up to 25 megawatts in nameplate capacity owned or operated by cooperative rural electric associations described under 15-6-137;

     (i)  energy storage facilities of a centrally assessed electric power company;

     (j)  energy storage facilities owned or operated by an exempt wholesale generator or an entity certified as an exempt wholesale generator pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 16451;

     (k)  noncentrally assessed energy storage facilities owned or operated by any electrical energy producer;

     (l)  energy storage facilities owned or operated by cooperative rural electrical associations described under 15-6-137;

     (m)  battery energy storage systems that comply with federal standards on the manufacture and installation of the systems that are owned and operated by an electrical energy storage producer, electrical energy producer, or energy trading entity or by the owner or operator of an electrical vehicle charging site;

     (n)  all property of a biodiesel production facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (o)  all property of a biogas production facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (p)  all property of a biomass gasification facility, as defined in 15-24-3102;

     (q)  all property of a coal gasification facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, except for property in subsection (1)(t) of this section, that sequesters carbon dioxide;

     (r)  all property of an ethanol production facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (s)  all property of a geothermal facility, as defined in 15-24-3102;

     (t)  all property of an integrated gasification combined cycle facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, that sequesters carbon dioxide, as required by 15-24-3111(4)(c);

     (u)  all property or a portion of the property of a renewable energy manufacturing facility, as defined in 15-24-3102, that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (v)  all property of a natural gas combined cycle facility;

     (w)  equipment that is used to capture and to prepare for transport carbon dioxide that will be sequestered or injected for the purpose of enhancing the recovery of oil and gas, other than that equipment at coal combustion plants of the types that are generally in commercial use as of December 31, 2007, that commence construction after December 31, 2007;

     (x)  high-voltage direct-current transmission lines and associated equipment and structures, including converter stations and interconnections, other than property classified under 15-6-159, that:

     (i)  originate in Montana with a converter station located in Montana east of the continental divide and that are constructed after July 1, 2007;

     (ii) are certified under the Montana Major Facility Siting Act; and

     (iii) provide access to energy markets for Montana electrical generation facilities listed in this section that commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (y)  all property of electric transmission lines, including substations, that originate at facilities specified in this subsection (1), with at least 90% of electricity carried by the line originating at facilities specified in this subsection (1) and terminating at an existing transmission line or substation that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007;

     (z)  the qualified portion of an alternating current transmission line and its associated equipment and structures, including interconnections, that has commenced construction after June 1, 2007.

     (2)  (a) The qualified portion of an alternating current transmission line in subsection (1)(z) is that percentage, as determined by the department of environmental quality, of rated transmission capacity of the line contracted for on a firm basis by buyers or sellers of electricity generated by facilities specified in subsection (1) that are located in Montana.

     (b)  The department of revenue shall classify the total value of an alternating current transmission line in accordance with the determination made by the department of environmental quality pursuant to subsection (2)(a).

     (c)  The owner of property described under this subsection (2) shall disclose the location of the generation facilities specified in subsection (1) and information sufficient to demonstrate that there is a firm contract for transmission capacity available throughout the year. For purposes of the initial qualification, the owner is not required to disclose financial terms and conditions of contracts beyond that needed for classification.

     (3)  Class fourteen property does not include facilities:

     (a)  at which the standard prevailing rate of wages for heavy construction, as provided in 18-2-414, was not paid during the construction phase; or

     (b)  that are exempt under 15-6-225.

     (4)  For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  "Biomass generation facilities" means any combination of boilers, generators, associated prime movers, and other associated property, including appurtenant land and improvements and personal property, that are normally operated together to produce electric power from the burning of organic material other than coal, petroleum, natural gas, or any products derived from coal, petroleum, or natural gas, with the use of natural gas or other fuels allowed for ignition and to stabilize boiler operations.

     (b)  (i) "Compressed air energy storage" means the conversion of electrical energy to compressed air by using an electrically powered turbocompressor for storage in vessels designed for that purpose and in the earth, including but not limited to deep saline formations, basalt formations, aquifers, depleted oil or gas reservoirs, abandoned mines, and mined rock cavities.

     (ii) The term includes the conversion of compressed air into electrical energy by using turboexpander equipment and electrical generation equipment.

     (c)  (i) "Energy storage facilities" means hydroelectric pumped storage property, compressed air energy storage property, regenerative fuel cells, batteries, flywheel storage property, or any combination of energy storage facilities directly connected to the electrical power grid and associated property, appurtenant land and improvements, and personal property that are designed to:

     (A)  receive and store electrical energy as potential energy; and

     (B)  convert the stored energy into electrical energy for sale as an energy commodity or as electricity services to balance energy flow on the electrical power grid in order to maintain a stable transmission grid, including but not limited to frequency regulation ancillary services and frequency control.

     (ii) The term includes only property that in the aggregate can store at least 0.25 megawatt hour and has a power rating of at least 1 megawatt for a period of at least 0.25 hour.

     (iii) The term does not include property, including associated property and appurtenant land and improvements, that is used to hold water in ponds, reservoirs, or impoundments related to hydroelectric pumped storage as defined in subsection (4)(e).

     (d)  "Flywheel storage" means a process that stores energy kinetically in the form of a rotating flywheel. Energy stored by the rotating flywheel can be converted to electrical energy through the flywheel's integrated electric generator.

     (e)  "Hydroelectric pumped storage" means a process that converts electrical energy to potential energy by pumping water to a higher elevation, where it can be stored indefinitely and then released to pass through hydraulic turbines and generate electrical energy.

     (f)  "Regenerative fuel cell" means a device that produces hydrogen and oxygen from electricity and water and alternately produces electrical energy and water from stored hydrogen and oxygen.

     (g)  "Wind generation facilities" means any combination of a physically connected wind turbine or turbines, associated prime movers, and other associated property, including appurtenant land and improvements and personal property, that are normally operated together to produce electric power from wind.

     (5)  (a) The department of environmental quality shall determine whether to certify that a transmission line meets the criteria of subsection (1)(x), (1)(y), or (1)(z), as applicable, based on an application provided for in 15-24-3112. The department of environmental quality shall review the certification 10 years after the line is operational, and if the property no longer meets the requirements of subsection (1)(x), (1)(y), or (1)(z), the certification must be revoked.

     (b)  If the department of revenue finds that a certification previously granted was based on an application that the applicant knew was false or fraudulent, the property must be placed in class nine under 15-6-141. If the application was fraudulent, the applicant may be liable for additional taxes, penalty, and interest from the time that the certification was in effect.

     (6)  Class Subject to [section 25], class fourteen property is taxed at 3% of its market value."

 

     Section 224.  Section 15-6-159, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-159.  Class sixteen property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class sixteen property includes high-voltage direct-current converter stations that are constructed in a location and manner so that the converter station can direct power to two different regional power grids.

     (2)  Class sixteen property does not include property described in subsection (1) for which the standard prevailing rate of wages for heavy construction, as provided in 18-2-414, was not paid during the construction phase.

     (3)  (a) The department shall determine whether to certify that the property meets the criteria of subsection (1).

     (b)  If the department finds that a certification previously granted was based on an application that the applicant knew was false or fraudulent, the property must be placed in class nine under 15-6-141. If the application was fraudulent, the applicant may be liable for additional taxes, penalty, and interest from the time that the certification was in effect.

     (4)  Class Subject to [section 25], class sixteen property is taxed at 2.25% of its market value."

 

     Section 225.  Section 15-6-215, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-215.  Exemption for motion picture and television commercial property. Except as provided in 15-24-305 and 61-3-520, all property, including vehicles, brought into the state or otherwise used for the exclusive purpose of filming motion pictures or television commercials is exempt from property taxation and registration fees under 61-3-321(2), provided that the property does not remain in the state for a period in excess of 180 consecutive days in a calendar year."

 

     Section 226.  Section 15-6-217, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-217.  Exemption for vehicle of certain health care professionals. A motor vehicle that is brought, driven, or coming into this state is exempt from the registration fees imposed in 15-24-301 if the motor vehicle is registered in another state or country by a nonresident person who is a licensed health care professional, as provided in Title 37, chapter 3, 8, 11, 14, 20, 25, 28, or 34, and who is employed in Montana by a rural health care facility that is located in an area that has been:

     (1)  designated by the secretary of the federal department of health and human services as a health professional shortage area, as provided in 42 U.S.C. 254(e); or

     (2)  determined to have a critical shortage of nurses, as provided in 42 U.S.C. 297n(a)(3)."

 

     Section 227.  Section 15-6-223, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-223.  Timber exemption. (1) Timber, as defined in 15-44-102, is exempt from taxation.

     (2) For the purpose of this section, "timber" means all wood growth on privately owned land, mature or immature, alive or dead, standing or down, that is capable of furnishing raw material used in the manufacture of lumber or other forest products. The term does not include cultivated Christmas trees."

 

     Section 228.  Section 15-6-229, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-229.  Exemption for land adjacent to transmission line right-of-way easement -- application -- limitations. (1) Subject to the conditions of this section, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2007, there is allowed an exemption from property taxes for land that is within 660 feet on either side of the midpoint of a transmission line right-of-way or easement.

     (2)  (a) An owner or operator of a transmission line shall apply to the department for an exemption under this section on a form provided by the department. The application must include a legal description and a digitized certificate of survey prepared by a surveyor registered with the board of professional engineers and professional land surveyors provided for in 2-15-1763 of the property in the county for which the exemption is sought and other information required by the department. A separate application must be made for each county in which an exemption is sought.

     (b)  An application for an exemption that would be in effect for the tax year and subsequent tax years must be filed with the department by March 1 in the tax year that the exemption is sought.

     (3)  (a) The owner or operator of a transmission line shall inform the department of any change in ownership of the land or other circumstances that may affect the eligibility of the land for the exemption. The department shall determine whether any changes have occurred that affect the eligibility of the land for the exemption.

     (b)  The exemption allowed under this section does not apply to:

     (i)  the boundaries of an incorporated or unincorporated city or town;

     (ii) a platted and filed subdivision; or

     (iii) tracts of land used for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes; or

     (iv) the 1 acre of land beneath improvements on land described in 15-6-133(1)(c) and 15-7-206(2).

     (4)  For the purposes of this section, "transmission line" means an electric line with a design capacity of 30 megavoltamperes or greater that is constructed after January 1, 2007."

 

     Section 229.  Section 15-7-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-101.  Classification and appraisal -- duties of department of revenue. (1) It is the duty of the department of revenue to accomplish the following:

     (a)  the classification and appraisal of all taxable lands;

     (b)  the appraisal of all taxable city and town lots;

     (c)  the appraisal of all taxable rural and urban improvements.

     (2)  A record of classifications and appraisals under subsection (1) must be kept upon the maps, plats, and forms and entered in the books of record prescribed by the department. The maps, plats, forms, and books of record are official records of the state. A certified copy of all records requested must be furnished to the department.

     (3)  When the department uses an appraisal method that values land and improvements as a unit, including the comparable sales method for residential condominiums or the income method for commercial property, the department shall establish a combined appraised value of land and improvements.

     (4)  It is the duty of the department to maintain current the classification of all taxable lands and appraisal of city and town lots and rural and urban improvements, as provided for herein."

 

     Section 230.  Section 15-7-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-102.  Notice of classification, market value, and taxable value to owners -- appeals. (1) (a) Except as provided in 15-7-138, the department shall mail or provide electronically to each owner or purchaser under contract for deed a notice that includes the land classification, market value, and taxable value of the land and improvements owned or being purchased. A notice must be mailed to the owner only if one or more of the following changes pertaining to the land or improvements have been made since the last notice:

     (i)  change in ownership;

     (ii) change in classification;

     (iii) change in valuation; or

     (iv) addition or subtraction of personal property affixed to the land.

     (b)  The notice must include the following for the taxpayer's informational purposes:

     (i)  a notice of the availability of all the property tax assistance programs available to property taxpayers, including the property tax assistance programs provided for in Title 15, chapter 6, part 3, and the residential property tax credit for the elderly provided for in 15-30-2337 through 15-30-2341;

     (ii)(i) the total amount of mills levied against the property in the prior year; and

     (iii)(ii) a statement that the notice is not a tax bill.

     (c)  When the department uses an appraisal method that values land and improvements as a unit, including the sales comparison approach for residential condominiums or the income approach for commercial property, the notice must contain a combined appraised value of land and improvements.

     (d)  Any misinformation provided in the information required by subsection (1)(b) does not affect the validity of the notice and may not be used as a basis for a challenge of the legality of the notice.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(c), the department shall assign each assessment to the correct owner or purchaser under contract for deed and mail or provide electronically the notice in written or electronic form, adopted by the department, containing sufficient information in a comprehensible manner designed to fully inform the taxpayer as to the classification and appraisal of the property and of changes over the prior tax year.

     (b)  The notice must advise the taxpayer that in order to be eligible for a refund of taxes from an appeal of the classification or appraisal, the taxpayer is required to pay the taxes under protest as provided in 15-1-402.

     (c)  The department is not required to mail or provide electronically the notice to a new owner or purchaser under contract for deed unless the department has received the realty transfer certificate from the clerk and recorder as provided in 15-7-304 and has processed the certificate before the notices required by subsection (2)(a) are mailed or provided electronically. The department shall notify the county tax appeal board of the date of the mailing or the date when the taxpayer is informed the information is available electronically.

     (3)  (a) If the owner of any land and improvements is dissatisfied with the appraisal as it reflects the market value of the property as determined by the department or with the classification of the land or improvements, the owner may request an assessment review by submitting an objection on written or electronic forms provided by the department for that purpose.

     (i)  For property other than class three property described in 15-6-133, class four property described in 15-6-134, and class ten property described in 15-6-143, the The objection must be submitted within 30 days from the date on the notice.

     (ii) For class three property described in 15-6-133 and class four property described in 15-6-134, the objection may be made only once each valuation cycle. An objection must be made within 30 days from the date on the assessment notice for a reduction in the appraised value to be considered for both years of the 2-year appraisal cycle. Any reduction in value resulting from an objection made more than 30 days from the date of the assessment notice will be applicable only for the second year of the 2-year reappraisal cycle.

     (iii) For class ten property described in 15-6-143, the objection may be made at any time but only once each valuation cycle. An objection must be made within 30 days from the date on the assessment notice for a reduction in the appraised value to be considered for all years of the 6-year appraisal cycle. Any reduction in value resulting from an objection made more than 30 days after the date of the assessment notice applies only for the subsequent remaining years of the 6-year reappraisal cycle.

     (b)  If the objection relates to residential or commercial property and the objector agrees to the confidentiality requirements, the department shall provide to the objector, by posted mail or electronically, within 8 weeks of submission of the objection, the following information:

     (i)  the methodology and sources of data used by the department in the valuation of the property; and

     (ii) if the department uses a blend of evaluations developed from various sources, the reasons that the methodology was used.

     (c)  At the request of the objector, and only if the objector signs a written or electronic confidentiality agreement, the department shall provide in written or electronic form:

     (i)  comparable sales data used by the department to value the property; and

     (ii) sales data used by the department to value residential property in the property taxpayer's market model area.

     (d)  For properties valued using the income approach as one approximation of market value, notice must be provided that the taxpayer will be given a form to acknowledge confidentiality requirements for the receipt of all aggregate model output that the department used in the valuation model for the property.

     (e)(b)  The review must be conducted informally and is not subject to the contested case procedures of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. As a part of the review, the department may consider the actual selling price of the property and other relevant information presented by the taxpayer in support of the taxpayer's opinion as to the market value of the property. The county tax appeal board [department] shall consider an independent appraisal provided by the taxpayer if the appraisal meets standards set by the Montana board of real estate appraisers and the appraisal was conducted within 6 months of the valuation date. If the department does not use the appraisal provided by the taxpayer in conducting the appeal, the department must provide to the taxpayer the reason for not using the appraisal. The department shall give reasonable notice to the taxpayer of the time and place of the review.

     (f)(c)  After the review, the department shall determine the correct appraisal and classification of the land or improvements and notify the taxpayer of its determination by mail or electronically. The department may not determine an appraised value that is higher than the value that was the subject of the objection unless the reason for an increase was the result of a physical change in the property or caused by an error in the description of the property or data available for the property that is kept by the department and used for calculating the appraised value. In the notification, the department shall state its reasons for revising the classification or appraisal. When the proper appraisal and classification have been determined, the land must be classified and the improvements appraised in the manner ordered by the department.

     (4)  Whether a review as provided in subsection (3) is held or not, the department may not adjust an appraisal or classification upon the taxpayer's objection unless:

     (a)  the taxpayer has submitted an objection on written or electronic forms provided by the department; and

     (b)  the department has provided to the objector by mail or electronically its stated reason in writing for making the adjustment.

     (5)  A taxpayer's written objection to a classification or appraisal and the department's notification to the taxpayer of its determination and the reason for that determination are public records. The department shall make the records available for inspection during regular office hours.

     (6)  If a property owner feels aggrieved by the classification or appraisal made by the department after the review provided for in subsection (3), the property owner has the right to first appeal to the county tax appeal board and then to the state tax appeal board, whose findings are final subject to the right of review in the courts. The appeal to the county tax appeal board, pursuant to 15-15-102, must be filed within 30 days from the date on the notice of the department's determination. A county tax appeal board or the The state tax appeal board may consider the actual selling price of the property, independent appraisals of the property, and other relevant information presented by the taxpayer as evidence of the market value of the property. If the county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board determines that an adjustment should be made, the department shall adjust the base value of the property in accordance with the board's order."

 

     Section 231.  Section 15-7-103, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-103.  Classification and appraisal -- general and uniform methods. (1) The department shall implement the provisions of 15-7-101, 15-7-102, and this section by providing:

     (a)  for a general and uniform method of classifying lands in the state for the purpose of securing an equitable and uniform basis of assessment of lands for taxation purposes;

     (b)  for a general and uniform method of appraising city and town lots;

     (c)  for a general and uniform method of appraising rural and urban improvements;

     (d)  for a general and uniform method of appraising timberlands.

     (2)  All lands must be classified according to their use or uses.

     (3)  Land classified as agricultural land or forest land must be subclassified according to soil type and productive capacity. In the classification work, use must be made of soil surveys and maps and all other site-specific and pertinent available information, including any information provided by the taxpayer such as:

     (a)  information detailing actual climate conditions;

     (b)  information from the United States department of agriculture, including but not limited to:

     (i)  natural resources conservation service rangeland inventory materials;

     (ii) farm service agency materials; and

     (iii) Montana agriculture statistics information; and

     (c)  any other documents or publicly available information that will assist in reaching a value that accurately approximates the productive capacity that the average Montana farmer or rancher could achieve.

     (4)(3)  All taxable lands must be classified by parcels or subdivisions not exceeding 1 section each, by the sections, fractional sections, or lots of all tracts of land that have been sectionized by the United States government, or by metes and bounds, whichever yields a true description of the land.

     (5)  All agricultural lands must be classified and appraised as agricultural lands without regard to the best and highest value use of adjacent or neighboring lands.

     (6)  In the reappraisal of taxable property, all property classified in 15-6-134 must be valued as provided in 15-7-111 on its market value. The department shall publish a rule specifying the valuation date used in the appraisal.

     (7)  All sewage disposal systems and domestic use water supply systems of all dwellings may not be appraised, assessed, and taxed separately from the land or from the house or other improvements in which they are located."

 

     Section 232.  Section 15-7-106, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-106.  Courses of instruction, examination, and certification -- additional courses. (1) The department shall offer courses in the principles, methods, and techniques of appraising for property tax purposes property in three fields:

     (a)  residential property;

     (b)  agricultural land; and

     (c)  commercial and industrial property.

     (2)  The department shall conduct an examination for those who have completed a course of instruction in any of the three fields listed in subsection (1).

     (3)  A person may not take the examination for appraising commercial and industrial property unless the person holds a certificate in appraising residential property.

     (4)  The department may schedule and conduct other courses within the state for appraisers, assessors, and department personnel for training in the following subjects:

     (a)  personal property assessment;

     (b)  property tax administration; and

     (c)  personnel management, fiscal management, public relations, professional ethics, and related management principles.

     (5)  The department shall issue a certificate to each appraiser, assessor, or other person successfully completing a course of instruction and passing an examination in any of the fields provided for in subsection (1) or any subject provided for in subsection subsections (1) and (4)."

 

     Section 233.  Section 15-7-107, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-107.  Certification required. (1) An appraiser employed by the department to appraise:

     (a)  residential property shall obtain a certificate in appraising residential property;

     (b)  agricultural land shall obtain a certificate in appraising agricultural land; and

     (c)  commercial and industrial property shall obtain a certificate in appraising commercial and industrial property.

     (2)  The department may promulgate rules requiring appraisers to complete continuing education courses in laws, rules, and methods relating to appraisal."

 

     Section 234.  Section 15-7-138, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-138.  Notice of classification and appraisal to single address for owners of undivided interest. (1) (a) (i) Subject to subsection (2), in the case of multiple, undivided interests in a parcel of taxable land, the department shall send the notice of classification and appraisal required by 15-7-102 to a single owner of the taxable land, as provided in this section.

     (ii) For multiple undivided interests that are mining claims, upon request of all the owners, the department shall send the notice of classification and appraisal required by 15-7-102 and separate assessments to each owner of an undivided interest.

     (iii) Requests for separate assessment and receipt of separate notice under subsection (1)(a)(ii) are limited to mining claims as the multiple undivided interests existed on or prior to April 30, 2001. Additional division of interests after April 30, 2001, may not result in additional separate assessments.

     (b)  Except as provided in subsection (1)(c), the owners of the taxable land shall provide to the department the name and address of the owner to whom the notice is to be sent and shall notify the department of a change in name or address. If an address is not provided, then the department shall send the notice to the address to which previous notices were sent.

     (c)  In the case of multiple, undivided interests in a parcel of taxable land created after April 30, 2001, the department shall send the notice to the name and address shown on the recorded document creating the multiple, undivided interests in the taxable land. If more than one name and address is shown on the document, the department shall send the notice to the first name and address shown on the document.

     (2)  A copy of the notice must be sent to other persons upon request of an owner of the taxable land. If a parcel of taxable land is located within the boundaries of a federally recognized Indian reservation, each individual fee patent, even when it is an undivided interest, will be treated as a separate assessment and receive a separate notice of classification and appraisal."

 

     Section 235.  Section 15-7-139, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-139.  Requirements for entry on property by property valuation staff employed by department -- authority to estimate value of property not entered -- rules. (1) Subject to the conditions and restriction of this section, the provisions of 45-6-203 do not apply to property valuation staff employed by the department and acting within the course and scope of the employees' official duties.

     (2)  A person qualified under subsection (1) may enter private land to appraise or audit property for property tax purposes.

     (3)  (a) No later than November 30 of each year, the department shall publish in a newspaper of general circulation in each county a notice that the department may enter property for the purpose of appraising or auditing property.

     (b)  The published notice must indicate:

     (i)  that a landowner may require that the landowner or the landowner's agent be present when the person qualified in subsection (1) enters the land to appraise or audit property;

     (ii) that the landowner shall notify the department in writing of the landowner's requirement that the landowner or landowner's agent be present; and

     (iii) that the landowner's written notice must be mailed to the department at an address specified and be postmarked not more than 30 days following the date of publication of the notice. The department may grant a reasonable extension of time for returning the written notice.

     (4)  The written notice described in subsection (3)(b)(ii) must be legible and include:

     (a)  the landowner's full name;

     (b)  the mailing address and property address; and

     (c)  a telephone number at which an appraiser may contact the landowner during normal business hours.

     (5)  When the department receives a written notice as described in subsection (4), the department shall contact the landowner or the landowner's agent to establish a date and time for entering the land to appraise or audit the property.

     (6)  If a landowner or the landowner's agent prevents a person qualified under subsection (1) from entering land to appraise or audit property or fails or refuses to establish a date and time for entering the land pursuant to subsection (5), the department shall estimate the value of the real and personal property located on the land.

     (7)  A county tax appeal board and the The state tax appeal board may not adjust the estimated value of the real or personal property determined under subsection (6) unless the landowner or the landowner's agent:

     (a)  gives permission to the department to enter the land to appraise or audit the property; or

     (b)  provides to the department and files with the county tax appeal board or the state tax appeal board an appraisal of the property conducted by an appraiser who is certified by the Montana board of real estate appraisers. The appraisal must be conducted in accordance with current uniform standards of professional appraisal practice established for certified real estate appraisers under 37-54-403. The appraisal must be conducted within 1 year of the reappraisal valuation date provided for in 15-7-103(6) and must establish a separate market value for each improvement and the land.

     (8)  A person qualified under subsection (1) who enters land pursuant to this section shall carry on the person identification sufficient to identify the person and the person's employer and shall present the identification upon request.

     (9)  The authority granted by this section does not authorize entry into improvements, personal property, or buildings or structures without the permission of the owner or the owner's agent.

     (10) Vehicular access to perform appraisals and audits is limited to established roads and trails, unless approval for other vehicular access is granted by the landowner.

     (11) The department shall adopt rules that are necessary to implement 15-7-140 and this section. The rules must, at a minimum, establish procedures for granting a reasonable extension of time for landowners to respond to notices from the department."

 

     Section 236.  Section 15-7-140, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-140.  Notice appraisal and audit -- statement of rights. Each county treasurer shall include in the notice required by 15-16-101(1), and 15-16-119, and 15-24-202 a statement that property valuation staff employed by the department may enter private property to appraise or audit property for property tax purposes as provided in 15-7-139. The notice must include a statement of landowner rights in words substantially similar to: "You or your agent have the right to be present when your property is appraised or audited. If you wish to make an appointment for the next tax year, call (insert local department of revenue office phone number) or write your local the department of revenue office between December 1 and December 31 of this year.""

 

     Section 237.  Section 15-7-302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-302.  Purpose. The purpose of this part is to obtain sales price data necessary to the determination of statewide levels and uniformity of real estate assessments by the most efficient, economical, and reliable method."

 

     Section 238.  Section 15-7-308, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-7-308.  Disclosure of information restricted -- exceptions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the certificate required by this part and the information contained in the certificate are not a public record and must be held confidential by the county clerk and recorder and the department. This is because the legislature finds that the demands of individual privacy outweigh the merits of public disclosure. The confidentiality provisions do not apply to compilations from the certificates, to summaries, analyses, and evaluations based upon the compilations, or to sales data used by the department to value residential property in a property taxpayer's market model area after the property taxpayer signs a written or electronic confidentiality agreement.

     (2)  The confidentiality provisions of this section do not apply to the information contained in the water right ownership update form or any other form prepared and filed with the department of natural resources and conservation pursuant to 85-2-424 for purposes of maintaining a system of centralized water right records as mandated by Article IX, section 3(4), of the Montana constitution. A person may access water right transfer information through the department of natural resources and conservation pursuant to the department's implementation of the requirements of 85-2-112(3)."

 

     Section 239.  Section 15-8-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-102.  County to may not furnish office space -- allowable charge department offices must remain in Helena. The county commissioners of each county shall may not provide existing office space in the county courthouse or other county building for use by the department's staff, if space is reasonably available. A county may charge the department a rate that does not exceed the rental rate that the department of administration charges state agencies for space in state buildings. If space is not reasonably available in the courthouse or other county building, the Additionally, the department may not contract for the procurement of suitable office space for the purpose of property tax administration outside of the city of Helena without the express prior authorization from the legislature. For purposes of this section, "county building" includes a city-county building or a building maintained by a consolidated government."

 

     Section 240.  Section 15-8-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-104.  Department audit and review of taxable value -- costs paid by department. (1) When in the judgment of the director of revenue it is necessary, audits may be made for the purpose of determining the taxable value of net proceeds of mines and all other types of property subject to ad valorem taxation.

     (2)  The department may conduct reviews of the assessment of all taxable commercial personal property to ensure that the value of the property in those classes reflects market value. Because the assessed value of commercial personal property is defined as market value under 15-8-111(2), the review conducted by the department may be directed toward ensuring that all taxable personal property is reported to the department.

     (3)  The cost of any audit or review performed under subsection (1) or (2) must be paid by the department."

 

     Section 241.  Section 15-8-111, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-111.  Appraisal -- market value standard -- exceptions. (1) All taxable property must be appraised at 100% of its market value except as otherwise provided.

     (2)  (a) Market value is the value at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.

     (b)  If the department uses the cost approach as one approximation of market value, the department shall fully consider reduction in value caused by depreciation, whether through physical depreciation, functional obsolescence, or economic obsolescence.

     (c)  If the department uses the income approach as one approximation of market value and sufficient, relevant information on comparable sales and construction cost exists, the department shall rely upon the two methods that provide a similar market value as the better indicators of market value.

     (d)  Except as provided in subsection (4), the market value of special mobile equipment and agricultural tools, implements, and machinery is the average wholesale value shown in national appraisal guides and manuals or the value before reconditioning and profit margin. The department shall prepare valuation schedules showing the average wholesale value when a national appraisal guide does not exist.

     (3)  In valuing class four residential and commercial property described in 15-6-134, the department shall conduct the appraisal following the appropriate uniform standards of professional appraisal practice for mass appraisal promulgated by the appraisal standards board of the appraisal foundation. In valuing the property, the department shall use information available from any source considered reliable. Comparable properties used for valuation must represent similar properties within an acceptable proximity of the property being valued.

     (4)(3)  The department may not adopt a lower or different standard of value from market value in making the official assessment and appraisal of the value of property, except:

     (a)  the wholesale value for agricultural implements and machinery is the average wholesale value category as shown in Guides 2000, Northwest Region Official Guide, published by the North American equipment dealers association, St. Louis, Missouri. If the guide or the average wholesale value category is unavailable, the department shall use a comparable publication or wholesale value category.

     (b)  for agricultural implements and machinery not listed in an official guide, the department shall prepare a supplemental manual in which the values reflect the same depreciation as those found in the official guide;

     (c)  (i) for condominium property, the department shall establish the value as provided in subsection (5); and

     (ii) for a townhome or townhouse, as defined in 70-23-102, the department shall determine the value in a manner established by the department by rule; and

     (d)  as otherwise authorized in Titles 15 and 61.

     (5)  (a) Subject to subsection (5)(c), if sufficient, relevant information on comparable sales is available, the department shall use the sales comparison approach to appraise residential condominium units. Because the undivided interest in common elements is included in the sales price of the condominium units, the department is not required to separately allocate the value of the common elements to the individual units being valued.

     (b)  Subject to subsection (5)(c), if sufficient, relevant information on income is made available to the department, the department shall use the income approach to appraise commercial condominium units. Because the undivided interest in common elements contributes directly to the income-producing capability of the individual units, the department is not required to separately allocate the value of the common elements to the individual units being valued.

     (c)  If sufficient, relevant information on comparable sales is not available for residential condominium units or if sufficient, relevant information on income is not made available for commercial condominium units, the department shall value condominiums using the cost approach. When using the cost approach, the department shall determine the value of the entire condominium project and allocate a percentage of the total value to each individual unit. The allocation is equal to the percentage of undivided interest in the common elements for the unit as expressed in the declaration made pursuant to 70-23-403, regardless of whether the percentage expressed in the declaration conforms to market value.

     (6)(4)  For purposes of taxation, assessed value is the same as appraised value.

     (7)(5)  The taxable value for all property is the market value multiplied by the tax rate for each class of property.

     (8)(6)  The market value of properties in 15-6-131, 15-6-132 through 15-6-134, 15-6-143, and 15-6-145 is as follows:

     (a)  Properties in 15-6-131, under class one, are assessed at 100% of the annual net proceeds after deducting the expenses specified and allowed by 15-23-503 or, if applicable, as provided in 15-23-515, 15-23-516, 15-23-517, or 15-23-518.

     (b)  Properties in 15-6-132, under class two, are assessed at 100% of the annual gross proceeds.

     (c)  Properties in 15-6-133, under class three, are assessed at 100% of the productive capacity of the lands when valued for agricultural purposes. All lands that meet the qualifications of 15-7-202 are valued as agricultural lands for tax purposes.

     (d)  Properties in 15-6-134, under class four, are assessed at 100% of market value.

     (e)  Properties in 15-6-143, under class ten, are assessed at 100% of the forest productivity value of the land when valued as forest land.

     (f)(c)  Railroad transportation properties in 15-6-145 are assessed based on the valuation formula described in 15-23-205.

     (9)  Land and the improvements on the land are separately assessed when any of the following conditions occur:

     (a)  ownership of the improvements is different from ownership of the land;

     (b)  the taxpayer makes a written request; or

     (c)  the land is outside an incorporated city or town."

 

     Section 242.  Section 15-8-112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-112.  Assessments to be made on classification and appraisal. (1) The assessments of all taxable lands, all taxable city and town lots, and all taxable improvements must be made on the classification and appraisal as made or caused to be made by the department.

     (2)  The percentage basis of assessed value as provided for in chapter 6, part 1, is determined and assigned by the department when it makes its annual assessment of the property that it is required to assess centrally. The department shall apportion the assessments to the various counties, and its determination is final except as to the right of review in the state tax appeal board or the proper court."

 

     Section 243.  Section 15-8-115, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-115.  Department to defend property tax appeals -- costs and judgments. (1) Except as provided in 15-8-202, the department is the party defendant in any proceeding before a county tax appeal board, the state tax appeal board, or a court of law that seeks to dispute or adjust an action of the department under 15-8-101 arising from the exercise of the department's duties as prescribed by law or administrative rule. For the purposes of proceedings before county tax appeal boards, service on the department may be obtained by serving the person designated to receive service for the department.

     (2)  Costs, if any, must be assessed against the department and not against a local taxing unit.

     (3)  In a suit brought in a court of this state for the refund of taxes paid under protest in which the taxes paid are held by the treasurer of a unit of local government in a protest fund, the court shall enter judgment, exclusive of costs, against the treasurer if the court finds the taxes should be refunded."

 

     Section 244.  Section 15-8-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-301.  Statement -- what to contain. (1) The department may require from a person a statement under oath setting forth specifically all the taxable real and personal property owned by, in possession of, or under the control of the person at midnight on January 1. The statement must be in writing, showing separately:

     (a)  all taxable property belonging to, claimed by, or in the possession or under the control or management of the person;

     (b)  all taxable property belonging to, claimed by, or in the possession or under the control or management of any firm of which the person is a member;

     (c)  all taxable property belonging to, claimed by, or in the possession or under the control or management of any corporation of which the person is president, secretary, cashier, or managing agent;

     (d)  the county in which the taxable property is situated or in which the property is liable to taxation and, if liable to taxation in the county in which the statement is made, also the city, town, school district, road district, or other revenue districts in which the property is situated;

     (e)  an exact description of all taxable lands, improvements, and personal property;

     (f)  all depots, shops, stations, buildings, and other structures erected on the space covered by the right-of-way and all other property owned by any person owning or operating any railroad within the county.

     (2)  The department shall notify the a centrally assessed taxpayer in the statement for reporting personal property owned by a business or used in a business that the statement is for reporting business equipment and other business personal property described in Title 15, chapter 6, part 1. A taxpayer owning exempt business equipment is subject to limited reporting requirements; however, all new businesses shall report their class eight property, as defined in 15-6-138, so that the department can determine the market value of the property. The department shall by rule develop reporting requirements for business equipment to limit the annual reporting of exempt business equipment to the extent feasible.

     (3)  Whenever one member of a firm or one of the proper officers of a corporation that is subject to central assessment has made a statement showing the property of the firm or corporation, another member of the firm or another officer is not required to include the property in that person's statement but the statement must show the name of the person or officer who made the statement in which the property is included.

     (4)  The fact that a statement is not required or that a person has not made a statement, under oath or otherwise, does not relieve the person's property from taxation."

 

     Section 245.  Section 15-8-307, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-307.  Land assessment. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), taxable land must be assessed in parcels or subdivisions not exceeding 640 acres, and tracts of taxable land containing more than 640 acres that have been sectionized by the United States government must be assessed by sections or fractions of sections.

     (2)  If the department receives the written consent of all persons with an ownership interest, the department may assess multiple parcels or tracts of taxable land with common ownership collectively as a single tract of land.

     (3)  The department shall itemize in the property tax record the description of each 640 acres of taxable land or less, the number of acres, the description, the value of the land, the value of improvements, and the total value. The property tax record for centrally assessed property must itemize the description of each town or city lot and the value of the lot and any improvements on the lot, except that a lot and improvements must be separately assessed when required under 15-8-111. If all of the unimproved lots of the same value are located in one block or are owned by the same party, the lots may be described and assessed in a single unit in the manner prescribed for each lot. Each parcel and lot must be segregated in the property tax record to correlate the description of the parcel or lot to the total value of the parcel or lot and any improvements on the parcel or lot."

 

     Section 246.  Section 15-8-601, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-601.  Assessment revision -- conference for review. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), whenever the department discovers that any taxable property of any person has in any year escaped assessment, been erroneously assessed, or been omitted from taxation, the department may assess the property provided that the property is under the ownership or control of the same person who owned or controlled it at the time it escaped assessment, was erroneously assessed, or was omitted from taxation. All revised assessments must be made within 10 years after the end of the calendar year in which the original assessment was or should have been made.

     (b)  Within the time limits set by 15-23-116, whenever the department discovers property subject to assessment under Title 15, chapter 23, that has escaped assessment, been erroneously assessed, or been omitted from taxation, the department may issue a revised assessment to the person, firm, or corporation who owned the property at the time it escaped assessment, was erroneously assessed, or was omitted from taxation, regardless of the ownership of the property at the time of the department's revised assessment.

     (c)(b)  If an erroneous assessment is due to a calculation error by the department, the department shall revise the assessment of like properties that were also erroneously assessed using the same calculation.

     (2)  When the department proposes to revise the statement reported by the taxpayer under 15-8-301, the action of the department is subject to the notice and conference provisions of this section. Revised assessments of centrally assessed property and industrial property that is assessed annually by the department are subject to mediation pursuant to 15-1-212.

     (3)  (a) Notice of revised assessment pursuant to this section must be made by the department by postpaid letter addressed to the person interested within 10 days after the revised assessment has been made. If the property is locally assessed, the notice must include the opportunity for a conference on the matter, at the request of the person interested, within 30 days after notice is given.

     (b)  An assessment revision review conference is not a contested case as defined in the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. The department shall keep minutes in writing of each assessment revision review conference, and the minutes are public records.

     (c)  Following an assessment revision review conference or expiration of the opportunity for a conference, the department shall order an assessment that it considers proper. Any party to the conference aggrieved by the action of the department or a taxpayer who does not request a conference may appeal to the county tax appeal board within 30 days of receipt of the revised assessment or the department's assessment made pursuant to the conference.

     (4)  The department shall enter in the property tax record all changes and corrections made by it."

 

     Section 247.  Section 15-8-701, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-701.  Property tax record -- definition -- listing property in. (1) Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the term "property tax record" means the record that is kept in each county by the department and that contains the information described in subsection (2). The term includes records referred to as an "assessment book" or "assessment roll" and, in a county in which if the property tax record is kept on a computer system, the information on the system analogous to the information described in subsection (2).

     (2)  The department shall prepare a property tax record with appropriate headings, in which must be listed all property within the state and in which must be specified, by an appropriate heading:

     (a)  the name of the person to whom the property is assessed;

     (b)  land by description sufficient to identify it, the locality, and the improvements on the land;

     (c)  all taxable personal property, showing the number, kind, amount, and quality; but a failure to enumerate in detail the personal property does not invalidate the assessment;

     (d)  the assessed value of real estate;

     (e)  the assessed value of improvements on land, except that land and improvements must be separately listed when required under 15-8-111;

     (f)  the assessed value of improvements on real estate assessed to persons other than the owners of the real estate. Taxable improvements owned by a person, located upon land exempt from taxation, must, as to the manner of assessment, be assessed as other real estate. A value may not be assessed against the exempt land, and the land may not be charged with and is not responsible for the assessment made against any taxable improvements located on the land.

     (g)  the assessed value of all taxable personal property;

     (h)  the school, road, and other revenue districts in which each piece of property assessed is situated;

     (i)(h)  the total assessed value of all taxable property;

     (j)(i)  the taxable value of all property;

     (k)(j)  the taxes and fees assessed against the property; and

     (l)(k)  the total of each type of tax, levy, and fee."

 

     Section 248.  Section 15-8-704, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-704.  Map book. The department shall make maps showing public and private land for each county and shall designate the person to whom the land is assessed."

 

     Section 249.  Section 15-8-711, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-8-711.  List of owners of multiple, undivided interests in parcel of land to county treasurer. (1) The department shall furnish to the county treasurer the names and, if available, the addresses of the owners of each multiple, undivided interest in a parcel of taxable land located within the county. The department shall inform the county treasurer that the list of names may not include every owner of the parcel of land.

     (2)  If a parcel of taxable land with undivided interests is located within the boundaries of a federally recognized Indian reservation, a copy of the notice of classification and appraisal shall be provided to the tribe or tribes governing the reservation. The department and the tribe may agree on a different procedure which provides the equivalent information to the tribal government."

 

     Section 250.  Section 15-9-103, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-9-103.  Department to use records in equalizing. The department shall use the abstract and all other information it may gain from the records of the county clerk and recorder or elsewhere in equalizing the assessment of the property of each county and shall enter in the property tax record any taxable property that has not been assessed."

 

     Section 251.  Section 15-10-202, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-10-202.  Certification of taxable values. (1) Subject to subsection (2), by the first Monday in August, the department shall certify to each taxing authority county the total taxable value of centrally assessed property within the jurisdiction of the taxing authority county. The department shall also send to each taxing authority county a written statement of its best estimate of the total taxable value of newly taxable centrally assessed property, as described in 15-10-420(3). Upon the request of a taxing authority county, the department shall provide an estimate of the total taxable value within the jurisdiction of the taxing authority by the second Monday in July.

     (2)  For tax years beginning after December 31, 2000, if If the ownership of centrally assessed property has been transferred in whole or in part to a different owner and the transferred property has a market value of $1 million or more as determined by the department, the department shall determine separately the taxable value of newly taxable property and the taxable value associated with reappraisal of centrally assessed property that is transferred to a different owner. The department shall certify to each taxing authority county, at the time specified in subsection (1), the taxable value of newly taxable property and the total taxable value of centrally assessed property, exclusive of newly taxable property, that has been transferred to a different owner."

 

     Section 252.  Section 15-10-206, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-10-206.  Notification of decisions of tax appeal boards. The department shall notify each taxing authority county of any change in the property tax record that results from actions by the state or county tax appeal boards board."

 

     Section 253.  Section 15-10-305, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-10-305.  Clerk and recorder to report mill levy -- department to compute and enter taxes. (1) (a) The county clerk and recorder shall by the second Monday in September or within 30 calendar days after receiving certified taxable values notify the department of the number of mills needed to be levied for each taxing jurisdiction in the county. Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), the department shall compute the taxes by multiplying the number of mills times the taxable value of the centrally assessed property to be taxed and shall add any fees or assessments required to be levied against a person owning property. All taxes, fees, and assessments must be itemized for the property listed in the property tax record.

     (b)  In conveyances that result in a land split, the taxes must be based on the property as assessed on January 1 preceding the conveyance. The department is not required to include the name of the new owner in the computation of the amount of taxes, fees, and assessments to be levied against property that is part of a land conveyance if including the new owner's name would cause the department to violate the deadline provided in subsection (2).

     (2)  The department shall complete the computation of the amount of taxes, fees, and assessments to be levied against the centrally assessed property and shall notify the county clerk and recorder and the county treasurer by the second Monday in October. Notwithstanding the provisions of 15-10-321, if a county clerk and recorder fails to timely notify the department of the number of mills needed to be levied for each taxing jurisdiction in that county in accordance with subsection (1)(a), the department must have additional time to meet the notification requirement of this subsection (2) equal to the number of days that the notification required in subsection (1)(a) was received late by the department."

 

     Section 254.  Section 15-10-420, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-10-420.  Procedure for calculating levy. (1) (a) Subject to the provisions of this section, a governmental entity that the state is authorized to impose mills may impose a mill levy sufficient to generate the amount of property taxes actually assessed in the prior year plus one-half of the average rate of inflation for the prior 3 years. The maximum number of mills that a governmental entity the state may impose is established by calculating the number of mills required to generate the amount of property tax actually assessed in the governmental unit state in the prior year based on the current year taxable value, less the current year's newly taxable value, plus one-half of the average rate of inflation for the prior 3 years.

     (b)  A governmental entity that If the state does not impose the maximum number of mills authorized under subsection (1)(a), it may carry forward the authority to impose the number of mills equal to the difference between the actual number of mills imposed and the maximum number of mills authorized to be imposed. The mill authority carried forward may be imposed in a subsequent tax year.

     (c)  For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), the department shall calculate one-half of the average rate of inflation for the prior 3 years by using the consumer price index, U.S. city average, all urban consumers, using the 1982-84 base of 100, as published by the bureau of labor statistics of the United States department of labor.

     (2)  A governmental entity The state may apply the levy calculated pursuant to subsection (1)(a) plus any additional levies authorized by the voters, as provided in 15-10-425, to all centrally assessed property in the governmental unit the state, including newly taxable centrally assessed property.

     (3)  (a) For purposes of this section, newly taxable centrally assessed property includes:

     (i)  annexation of real property and improvements into a taxing unit;

     (ii) construction, expansion, or remodeling of improvements;

     (iii) transfer of property into a taxing unit;

     (iv) subdivision of real property; and

     (v)  transfer of property from tax-exempt to taxable status.

     (b)  Newly taxable property does not include an increase in value that arises because of an increase in the incremental value within a tax increment financing district.

     (4)  (a) For the purposes of subsection (1), the taxable value of newly taxable property includes the release of taxable value from the incremental taxable value of a tax increment financing district because of:

     (i)  a change in the boundary of a tax increment financing district;

     (ii) an increase in the base value of the tax increment financing district pursuant to 7-15-4287; or

     (iii) the termination of a tax increment financing district.

     (b)  If a tax increment financing district terminates prior to the certification of taxable values as required in 15-10-202, the increment value is reported as newly taxable property in the year in which the tax increment financing district terminates. If a tax increment financing district terminates after the certification of taxable values as required in 15-10-202, the increment value is reported as newly taxable property in the following tax year.

     (c)  For the purpose of subsection (3)(a)(ii), the value of newly taxable class four property that was constructed, expanded, or remodeled property since the completion of the last reappraisal cycle is the current year market value of that property less the previous year market value of that property.

     (d)  For the purpose of subsection (3)(a)(iv), the subdivision of real property includes the first sale of real property that results in the property being taxable as class four property under 15-6-134 or as nonqualified agricultural land as described in 15-6-133(1)(c).

     (5)  Subject to subsection (8), subsection (1)(a) does not apply to:

     (a)  school district levies established in Title 20; or

     (b)  a mill levy imposed for a newly created regional resource authority.

     (6)  For purposes of subsection (1)(a), taxes imposed do not include net or gross proceeds taxes received under 15-6-131 and 15-6-132.

     (7)  In determining the maximum number of mills in subsection (1)(a), the governmental entity:

     (a)  may increase the number of mills to account for a decrease in reimbursements; and

     (b)  may not increase the number of mills to account for a loss of tax base because of legislative action that is reimbursed under the provisions of 15-1-121(7).

     (8)(4)  The department shall calculate, on a statewide basis, the number of mills to be imposed for purposes of 15-10-108, 20-9-331, 20-9-333, 20-9-360, and 20-25-439 [section 37]. However, the number of mills calculated by the department may not exceed the mill levy limits limit established in those sections [section 37]. The mill calculation must be established in tenths of mills. If the mill levy calculation does not result in an even tenth of a mill, then the calculation must be rounded up to the nearest tenth of a mill.

     (9)  (a) The provisions of subsection (1) do not prevent or restrict:

     (i)  a judgment levy under 2-9-316, 7-6-4015, or 7-7-2202;

     (ii) a levy to repay taxes paid under protest as provided in 15-1-402;

     (iii) an emergency levy authorized under 10-3-405, 20-9-168, or 20-15-326;

     (iv) a levy for the support of a study commission under 7-3-184;

     (v)  a levy for the support of a newly established regional resource authority;

     (vi) the portion that is the amount in excess of the base contribution of a governmental entity's property tax levy for contributions for group benefits excluded under 2-9-212 or 2-18-703; or

     (vii) a levy for reimbursing a county for costs incurred in transferring property records to an adjoining county under 7-2-2807 upon relocation of a county boundary.

     (b)  A levy authorized under subsection (9)(a) may not be included in the amount of property taxes actually assessed in a subsequent year.

     (10) A governmental entity may levy mills for the support of airports as authorized in 67-10-402, 67-11-301, or 67-11-302 even though the governmental entity has not imposed a levy for the airport or the airport authority in either of the previous 2 years and the airport or airport authority has not been appropriated operating funds by a county or municipality during that time.

     (11)(5) The department may adopt rules to implement this section. The rules may include a method for calculating the percentage of change in valuation for purposes of determining the elimination of property, new improvements, or newly taxable value in a governmental unit the state."

 

     Section 255.  Section 15-15-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-15-101.  County tax appeal board -- meetings and compensation. (1) The board of county commissioners of each county shall appoint a county tax appeal board, with a minimum of three members and with the members to serve staggered terms of 3 years each. The members of each county tax appeal board must be residents of the county in which they serve.

     (2)  (a) The members receive compensation as provided in subsection (2)(b) and travel expenses, as provided for in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503, only when the county tax appeal board meets to hear taxpayers' appeals from property tax assessments or when they are attending meetings called by the state tax appeal board. Travel expenses and compensation must be paid from the appropriation to the state tax appeal board.

     (b)  (i) The daily compensation for a member is as follows:

     (A)  $45 for 4 hours of work or less; and

     (B)  $90 for more than 4 hours of work.

     (ii) For the purpose of calculating work hours in this subsection (2)(b), work includes hearing tax appeals, deliberating with other board members, and attending meetings called by the state tax appeal board.

     (3)  Office space and equipment for the county tax appeal boards must be furnished by the county. All other incidental expenses must be paid from the appropriation of the state tax appeal board.

     (4)  The county tax appeal board shall hold an organizational meeting each year on the date of its first scheduled hearing, immediately before conducting the business for which the hearing was otherwise scheduled. At the organizational meeting, the members shall choose one member as the presiding officer of the board. The county tax appeal board shall continue in session from July 1 of the current tax year until December 31 of the current tax year to hear protests concerning assessments made by the department of justice until the business of hearing protests is disposed of and, as provided in 15-2-201, may meet after December 31.

     (5)  In counties that have appointed more than three members to the county tax appeal board, only three members shall hear each appeal. The presiding officer shall select the three members hearing each appeal.

     (6)  In connection with an appeal, the county tax appeal board may change any assessment or fix the assessment at some other level. Upon notification by the county tax appeal board, the county clerk and recorder shall publish a notice to taxpayers, giving the time the county tax appeal board will be in session to hear scheduled protests concerning assessments and the latest date the county tax appeal board may take applications for the hearings. The notice must be published in a newspaper if any is printed in the county or, if none, then in the manner that the county tax appeal board directs. The notice must be published by May 15 of the current tax year.

     (7)  Challenges to a department rule governing the assessment of property or to an assessment procedure apply only to the taxpayer bringing the challenge and may not apply to all similarly situated taxpayers unless an action is brought in the district court as provided in 15-1-406."

 

     Section 256.  Section 15-15-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-15-104.  Appeal to state tax appeal board. (1) If the appearance provisions of 15-15-103(1) have been complied with, a A person or the department, on behalf of the state, or any municipal corporation aggrieved by the action of any county tax appeal board may appeal to the state board under 15-2-301.

     (2)  If an appeal has been automatically granted by a county tax appeal board pursuant to 15-15-103(2), the department, on behalf of the state, or any municipal corporation aggrieved by the action may appeal to the state tax appeal board under 15-2-301. The time for filing an appeal commences on receipt by the department of the written notification required by 15-15-103(2)(b)."

 

     Section 257.  Section 15-16-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-16-102.  Time for payment -- penalty for delinquency. Unless suspended or canceled under the provisions of 10-1-606 or Title 15, chapter 24, part 17, all taxes levied and assessed in the state of Montana, except assessments made for special improvements in cities and towns payable under 15-16-103, are payable as follows:

     (1)  One-half of the taxes are payable on or before 5 p.m. on November 30 of each year or within 30 days after the tax notice is postmarked, whichever is later, and one-half are payable on or before 5 p.m. on May 31 of each year.

     (2)  Unless one-half of the taxes are paid on or before 5 p.m. on November 30 of each year or within 30 days after the tax notice is postmarked, whichever is later, the amount payable is delinquent and draws interest at the rate of 5/6 of 1% a month from and after the delinquency until paid and 2% must be added to the delinquent taxes as a penalty.

     (3)  All taxes due and not paid on or before 5 p.m. on May 31 of each year are delinquent and draw interest at the rate of 5/6 of 1% a month from and after the delinquency until paid, and 2% must be added to the delinquent taxes as a penalty.

     (4)  (a) If the date on which taxes are due falls on a holiday or Saturday, taxes may be paid without penalty or interest on or before 5 p.m. of the next business day in accordance with 1-1-307.

     (b)  If taxes on property qualifying under the property tax assistance program provided for in 15-6-305 are paid within 20 calendar days of the date on which the taxes are due, the taxes may be paid without penalty or interest. If a tax payment is made later than 20 days after the taxes were due, the penalty must be paid and interest accrues from the date on which the taxes were due.

     (5)  (a) A taxpayer may pay current year taxes without paying delinquent taxes. The county treasurer shall accept a partial payment equal to the delinquent taxes, including penalty and interest, for one or more full tax years if taxes for both halves of the current tax year have been paid. Payment of taxes for delinquent taxes must be applied to the taxes that have been delinquent the longest. The payment of taxes for the current tax year is not a redemption of the property tax lien for any delinquent tax year.

     (b)  A payment by a co-owner of an undivided ownership interest that is subject to a separate assessment otherwise meeting the requirements of subsection (5)(a) is not a partial payment.

     (6)  The penalty and interest on delinquent assessment payments for specific parcels of land may be waived by resolution of the city council. A copy of the resolution must be certified to the county treasurer.

     (7)  If the department revises an assessment that results in an additional tax of $5 or less, an additional tax is not owed and a new tax bill does not need to be prepared.

     (8)  The county treasurer may accept a partial payment of centrally assessed property taxes as provided in 76-3-207."

 

     Section 258.  Section 15-16-203, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-16-203.  (Temporary) Assessment of property previously exempt. (1) Subject to 15-6-231(3) and 15-10-420, real property or improvements exempt from taxation under Title 15, chapter 6, that during a tax year become subject to taxation must be assessed and taxed from the date of change from a nontaxable status to a taxable status.

     (2)  As provided in subsection (3), the county treasurer shall adjust the tax that would have been due and payable for the current year on the property under 15-16-102 if the property was not exempt.

     (3)  To determine the amount of tax due for previously exempt property, the county treasurer shall multiply the amount of tax levied and assessed on the original taxable value of the property for the year by the ratio that the number of days in the year that the property will be in taxable status bears to 365.

     (4)  If the property has not been assessed and taxed during the taxable year because of exemption, the department shall prepare a special assessment for the property and the county treasurer shall determine the amount of taxes that would have been due under subsection (2).

     (5)  Upon determining the amount of tax due, the county treasurer shall notify the person to whom the tax is assessed, in the same manner as notification is provided under 15-16-101(2), of the amount due and the date or dates on which the taxes due are payable as provided in 15-16-102. (Terminates December 31, 2021--sec. 8, Ch. 372, L. 2015.)

     15-16-203.  (Effective January 1, 2022) Assessment of property previously exempt. (1) Subject to 15-10-420, real Real property or improvements exempt from taxation under Title 15, chapter 6, that during a tax year become the property of a person subject to taxation must be assessed and taxed from the date of change from a nontaxable status to a taxable status.

     (2)  As provided in subsection (3), the county treasurer shall adjust the tax that would have been due and payable for the current year on the property under 15-16-102 if the property was not exempt.

     (3)  To determine the amount of tax due for previously exempt property, the county treasurer shall multiply the amount of tax levied and assessed on the original taxable value of the property for the year by the ratio that the number of days in the year that the property will be in taxable status bears to 365.

     (4)  If the property has not been assessed and taxed during the taxable year because of exemption, the department shall prepare a special assessment for the property and the county treasurer shall determine the amount of taxes that would have been due under subsection (2).

     (5)  Upon determining the amount of tax due, the county treasurer shall notify the person to whom the tax is assessed, in the same manner as notification is provided under 15-16-101(2), of the amount due and the date or dates on which the taxes due are payable as provided in 15-16-102."

 

     Section 259.  Section 15-16-611, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-16-611.  Reduction of property tax for property destroyed by natural disaster -- proration of taxes on replaced property. (1) The department shall, upon showing by a taxpayer that some or all of the improvements on the taxpayer's real property, that a trailer or mobile home, or that personal property taxed under Title 15, chapter 6, part 1, has been destroyed to such an extent that the improvements or personal property has been rendered unsuitable for its previous use by natural disaster, adjust the taxable value on the property, accounting for the destruction.

     (2)  The county treasurer shall adjust the tax due and payable for the current year on the property under 15-16-102 or on personal property under 15-16-119 or 15-24-202 as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

     (3)  To determine the amount of tax due for destroyed property, the county treasurer shall:

     (a)  multiply the amount of tax levied and assessed on the original taxable value of the property for the year by the ratio that the number of days in the year that the property existed before destruction bears to 365; and

     (b)  multiply the amount of tax levied and assessed on the adjusted taxable value of the property for the remainder of the year by the ratio that the number of days remaining in the year after the destruction of the property bears to 365.

     (4)  This section does not apply to delinquent taxes owed on the destroyed property for a year prior to the year in which the property was destroyed.

     (5)  A taxpayer receiving a reduction in taxes on personal property under this section shall notify the department if the taxpayer replaces the destroyed personal property in the same tax year that the personal property was destroyed. The tax on the personal property replacing the destroyed personal property must be prorated according to the ratio that the number of days remaining in the year after the property was replaced bears to 365. A taxpayer who fails to notify the department within 30 days from the date of the replacement of the personal property is subject to the penalty prescribed in 15-1-303.

     (6)  For the purposes of this section, "natural disaster" includes but is not limited to fire, flood, earthquake, or wind. A fire is considered a natural disaster regardless of the origin of the fire. However, if the taxpayer is convicted of arson for burning the property, property taxes may not be adjusted. If the taxes had already been adjusted prior to the conviction, the original amount must be collected."

 

     Section 260.  Section 15-16-613, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-16-613.  Refund of certain taxes paid on migratory property. (1) Subject to the provisions of 15-16-603 through 15-16-605 and upon proof that a property tax was paid in another state on the same property, a taxpayer whose property is assessed under 15-24-303 for a period longer than the actual number of months that the property is located in the state is entitled to a refund, as provided in this section.

     (2)  To obtain a refund, a taxpayer shall file an application for refund with the board of county commissioners in the county where the property was originally taxed. If a taxpayer receives an order by the board of county commissioners pursuant to 15-16-603, the county shall make the refund within the first quarter of the following fiscal year. The application must be made on a form provided by the department and may require information as prescribed by rule of the department.

     (3)  The amount of the refund is the difference between the amount of tax paid under 15-24-303 and the tax owed based upon the number of months the property was located in the state for the year. The refund may not exceed the amount of the tax paid.

     (4)  For the purposes of this section, "month" means any part of a calendar month."

 

     Section 261.  Section 15-23-107, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-23-107.  Amended assessment. Whenever the valuation of centrally assessed property is revised under 15-8-601 or 15-23-102, the department shall, within 15 days following the final decision or order, enter the revision in the property tax record for each applicable county."

 

     Section 262.  Section 15-23-703, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-23-703.  Taxation of gross proceeds -- taxable value for nontax purposes. (1) (a) The department shall compute from the reported value of coal gross proceeds a tax roll that must be transmitted to the county treasurer on or before September 15 of each year. The department may not levy or assess any mills against coal gross proceeds but shall, subject to subsection (1)(b) and except as provided in subsection (1)(c) (1)(b), levy a tax of 5% against the value of coal as provided in 15-23-701(4). The county treasurer shall give full notice to each coal producer of the taxes due and shall collect the taxes.

     (b)  If the county grants a tax abatement for production from a new or expanding underground mine as provided in 15-23-715, the department shall levy a tax at a rate that would, after providing for payment to the state of the amount attributable to all applicable state mill levies as if the tax rate were 5%, reduce the tax received by county taxing jurisdictions and any school district on the new or expanded production by the percentage amount of the tax abated by the county under 15-23-715.

     (c)(b)  (i) For tax years beginning after December 31, 2011, the initial tax on coal mined from a new underground coal mine is 2.5% against the value of coal as provided in 15-23-701(4) for the first 10 years of coal production. After 10 years, coal production from the mine is taxed as provided in subsection (1)(a).

     (ii) For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2011, and ending December 31, 2020, the initial tax rate under subsection (1)(c)(i) (1)(b)(i) applies to coal mined from an existing underground coal mine producing coal from the mine as of December 31, 2010. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2020, coal production is taxed as provided in subsection (1)(a).

     (2)  For all nontax purposes, the taxable value of the gross proceeds of coal is 45% of the contract sales price as defined in 15-35-102.

     (3)  (a) Except as provided in subsections (4) and (7) and subject to subsection (3)(b), coal gross proceeds taxes must be allocated to the state, county, and school districts in the same relative proportions as the taxes were distributed in fiscal year 1990.

     (b)  The county treasurer shall multiply the coal gross proceeds taxes collected in the county under this part by the relative proportions determined for the state, county, and school districts under subsection (3)(a). Those amounts must be distributed as follows:

     (i)  the state share must be distributed in the relative proportions required by levies for state purposes in the same manner as property taxes were distributed in fiscal year 1990;

     (ii) except as provided in subsection (5), the county share must be distributed in the relative proportions required by levies for county purposes, other than an elementary school or high school, in the same manner as property taxes were distributed in the previous fiscal year;

     (iii) except as provided in subsection (6), the school districts' share must be distributed in the relative proportions required by levies for school district purposes in the same manner as property taxes were distributed in the previous fiscal year.

     (4)  If there is a distribution of coal gross proceeds from a new or expanding underground mine with a tax abatement as provided under 15-23-715, the county treasurer shall distribute:

     (a)  the state's share of the coal gross proceeds determined under subsection (1)(b) in the relative proportion required by the appropriate levies for state purposes; and

     (b)  the county's share and any school district's share of the coal gross proceeds determined under subsection (1)(b) as provided in this section.

     (5)  The board of county commissioners of a county may direct the county treasurer to reallocate the distribution of coal gross proceeds taxes that would have gone to a taxing unit, as provided in subsection (3)(b)(i), to another taxing unit or taxing units, other than an elementary school or high school, within the county under the following conditions:

     (a)  The county treasurer shall first allocate the coal gross proceeds taxes to the taxing units within the county in the same proportion that all other property tax proceeds were distributed in the county in the previous fiscal year.

     (b)  If the allocation in subsection (5)(a) exceeds the total budget of a taxing unit, the commissioners may direct the county treasurer to reallocate the excess to any taxing unit within the county.

     (6)  The board of trustees of an elementary or high school district may reallocate the coal gross proceeds taxes distributed to the district by the county treasurer under the following conditions:

     (a)  The district shall first allocate the coal gross proceeds taxes to the budgeted funds of the district in the same proportion that all other property tax proceeds were distributed in the district in the previous fiscal year.

     (b)  If the allocation under subsection (6)(a) exceeds the total budget for a fund, the trustees may reallocate the excess to any budgeted fund of the school district.

     (7)  Except as provided in subsections (8) and (9), the county treasurer shall credit all taxes collected under this part from coal mines that began production after December 31, 1988, in the relative proportions required by the levies for state, county, and school district purposes in the same manner as property taxes were distributed in the previous fiscal year.

     (8)  The board of county commissioners of a county may direct the county treasurer to reallocate the distribution of coal gross proceeds under subsection (7) in the same manner as provided in subsection (5).

     (9)  The board of trustees of an elementary or high school district may reallocate the coal gross proceeds taxes distributed to the district by the county treasurer under subsection (7) in the same manner as provided in subsection (6)."

 

     Section 263.  Section 15-23-807, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-23-807.  Assessment procedures. The gross proceeds of metal mines shall be assessed under the provisions of 15-23-101 through 15-23-104 and 15-23-107."

 

     Section 264.  Section 15-24-1209, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-24-1209.  Adjustment of taxes for formerly taxed property -- presumption of taxability. (1) If the department reduces the amount of taxable property owned by a person or entity because of a determination that the property consists of the bed of a navigable river or stream, the department shall, as applicable, reduce the amount of tract land that is taxable or grazing land that is taxable before reducing the amount of irrigated land or nonirrigated land that is taxable.

     (2)  In the absence of adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction of the ownership of the bed of any river or stream, it is the policy of the state that the department shall assess all taxable land that is part of the bed and banks of a river or stream to the owner of record of the property.

     (3)(2)  The department shall notify landowners of their right to request and shall provide upon request a revised assessment for tax year 2008 for the bed of any stream:

     (a)  not adjudicated to be navigable by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

     (b)  not determined navigable at the time of the original federal government surveys of the public land as evidenced by the recorded and monumented surveys of the meander lines of the river."

 

     Section 265.  Section 15-24-1410, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-24-1410.  (Temporary) Manufacturer of ammunition components -- exemption from statewide property taxes. As provided in 30-20-204, property used in the manufacture of ammunition components is exempt from the property taxes levied for state educational purposes under 15-10-108, 20-9-331, 20-9-333, 20-9-360, and 20-25-439. The exemption must be administered and applied for as provided in Title 30, chapter 20, part 2. (Terminates December 31, 2024--sec. 16, Ch. 440, L. 2015.)"

 

     Section 266.  Section 15-24-3001, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-24-3001.  Electrical generation and transmission facility exemption -- definitions. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsections (1)(b) and (3), an electrical generation facility and related delivery facilities constructed in the state of Montana after May 5, 2001, and before January 1, 2006, may be exempt from property taxation for a 10-year period beginning on the date that an owner or operator of an electrical generation facility and related delivery facilities commences to construct the facility as defined in 75-20-104(6)(a) and (6)(b). In order to be exempt from property taxation, an owner and operator of an electrical generation facility and related delivery facilities shall offer contracts to sell 50% of that facility's net generating output at a cost-based rate, which includes a rate of return not to exceed 12%, to customers for a 20-year period from the date of the facility's completion.

     (b)  The property tax exemption allowed under subsection (1)(a) is limited to a 5-year period for generation facilities powered by oil or gas turbines.

     (2)  To the extent that 50% of the net generating output of the facility is not contracted for delivery to consumers for a contract term extending 5 years to 20 years from the completion of the facility, as determined by the owner, surplus capacity must be offered on a declining contract term basis for the remainder of the contract period at a cost-based rate that includes a rate of return not to exceed 12%. Surplus capacity that is not contracted for in this fashion may be sold at market rates.

     (3)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (3)(c), if an owner or operator of property exempt from taxation under subsection (1)(a) signs a contract to sell power as required in subsection (1) and then fails to perform the contract during the first 10-year period, the 10-year property tax exemption in subsection (1) is void and the property is subject to a rollback tax as provided in 15-24-3002.

     (b)  Except as provided in subsection (3)(c), if an owner or operator of property exempt from taxation under subsection (1)(b) signs a contract to sell power as required in subsection (1) and then fails to perform the contract during the first 5-year period, the 5-year property tax exemption in subsection (1) is void and the property is subject to a rollback tax as provided in 15-24-3002.

     (c)  If an owner or operator fails to perform the contract due to earthquakes or other acts of God, theft, sabotage, acts of war, other social instabilities, or equipment failure, the property tax exemption in subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) is not void and the owner or operator is not subject to the rollback tax as provided in 15-24-3002.

     (4)  For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  (i) "Electrical generation facility" means any combination of a physically connected generator or generators, associated prime movers, and other associated property, including appurtenant land and improvements and personal property, that are normally operated together to produce 20 average megawatts or more of electric power. The term is limited to generating facilities that produce electricity from coal-fired steam turbines, oil or gas turbines, or turbine generators that are driven by falling water.

     (ii) The term does not include:

     (A)  electrical generation facilities used for noncommercial purposes or exclusively for agricultural purposes; or

     (B)  a qualifying small power production facility, as that term is defined in 16 U.S.C. 796(17), that is owned and operated by a person not primarily engaged in the generation or sale of electricity other than electric power from a small power production facility and that is classified under 15-6-134 and 15-6-138.

     (b)  "Related delivery facilities" means transmission facilities necessary to deliver the energy from the electrical generation facility to the existing network transmission system.

     (c)  "Surplus capacity" means that portion of the 50% of net generating output not contracted for use.

     (5)  The department shall appraise exempt electrical generation facilities for each year that the property is exempt and determine the taxable value of the property as if it were subject to property taxation."

 

     Section 267.  Section 15-24-3006, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-24-3006.  Electrical energy generation impact fee reserve account. (1) The governing body of a county receiving impact fees under 15-24-3004(2)(b) or 15-24-3005(4) shall establish an electrical energy generation impact fee reserve account to be used to hold the collections. Money held in the account may not be considered as cash balance for the purpose of reducing mill levies.

     (2)  Money may be expended from the account for any purpose of an interlocal agreement provided for in 15-24-3004 or 15-24-3005. The county treasurer shall distribute money in the account to each local governmental unit according to the terms of the interlocal agreement.

     (3)  Money in the account must be invested as provided by law. Interest and income from the investment of the electrical energy generation impact fee reserve account must be credited to the account."

 

     Section 268.  Section 15-24-3007, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-24-3007.  Electrical generation impact fund. (1) A local governmental unit, as defined in 15-24-3005, and a school district that receives impact fees pursuant to 15-24-3004(2)(a), 15-24-3005(2), or 15-24-3006 shall establish an electrical generation impact fund for the deposit of the fees. A local governmental unit or school district may retain the money in the fund for any time period considered appropriate by the governing body of the local governmental unit or school district. Money retained in the fund may not be considered as fund balance for the purpose of reducing mill levies.

     (2)  Money may be expended from the fund for any purpose allowed by law.

     (3)  Money in the fund must be invested as provided by law. Interest and income earned on the investment of money in the fund must be credited to the fund.

     (4)  The fund must be financially administered as a nonbudgeted fund by a city, town, or county under the provisions of Title 7, chapter 6, part 40, or by a school district under the provisions of Title 20, chapter 9, part 5."

 

     Section 269.  Section 15-39-110, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-39-110.  Distribution of taxes to guarantee account. (1) (a) For each semiannual period, the department shall determine the amount of tax, late payment interest, and penalties collected under this part from bentonite mines that produced bentonite before January 1, 2005. The tax is distributed as provided in subsections (2) through (9).

     (b)  For each semiannual period, the department shall determine the amount of tax, late payment interest, and penalties collected under this part from bentonite mines that first began producing bentonite after December 31, 2004. The tax is distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (2)  The percentage of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) and specified in subsections (3) through (9) is allocated according to the following schedule:

     (a)  2.33% to the state special revenue fund to be appropriated to the Montana university system for the purposes of the state tax levy as provided in 15-10-108;

     (b)  18.14% to the state general fund to be appropriated for the purposes of the tax levies as provided in 20-9-331, 20-9-333, and 20-9-360;

     (c)  3.35% to Carbon County to be distributed in proportion to current fiscal year mill levies in the taxing jurisdictions in which production occurs, except a distribution may not be made for county and state levies under 15-10-108, 20-9-331, 20-9-333, and 20-9-360; and

     (d)  76.18% to Carter County to be distributed in proportion to current fiscal year mill levies in the taxing jurisdictions in which production occurs, except a distribution may not be made for county and state levies under 15-10-108, 20-9-331, 20-9-333, and 20-9-360.

     (3)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2008, and before January 1, 2010, 60% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 40% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (4)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2011, 50% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 50% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (5)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2010, and before January 1, 2012, 40% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 60% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (6)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2011, and before January 1, 2013, 30% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 70% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (7)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2012, and before January 1, 2014, 20% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 80% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (8)  For the production of bentonite occurring after December 31, 2013, and before January 1, 2015, 10% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (2) and 90% must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (9)  For the production of bentonite occurring in tax years beginning after December 31, 2014, 100% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(a) must be distributed as provided in subsection (10).

     (10) For the production of bentonite, 100% of the tax determined under subsection (1)(b) and the distribution percentages determined under subsections (3) through (9) are allocated according to the following schedule:

     (a)  1.30% to the state special revenue fund to be appropriated to the Montana university system for the purposes of the state tax levy as provided in 15-10-108;

     (b)  20.75% to the state general fund to be appropriated for the purposes of the tax levies as provided in 20-9-331, 20-9-333, and 20-9-360;

     (c)  77.95% to the county in which production occurred to be distributed in proportion to current fiscal year mill levies in the taxing jurisdictions in which production occurs, except a distribution may not be made for county and state levies under 15-10-108, 20-9-331, 20-9-333, and 20-9-360.

     (11) The department shall remit the amounts to be distributed in this section to the county treasurer by the following dates:

     (a)  On or before October 1 of each year, the department shall remit the county's share of bentonite production tax payments received for the semiannual period ending June 30 of the current year to the county treasurer.

     (b)  On or before April 1 of each year, the department shall remit the county's share of bentonite production tax payments received to the county treasurer for the semiannual period ending December 31 of the previous year.

     (12) (a) The department shall also provide to each county the amount of gross yield of value from bentonite, including royalties, for the previous calendar year. Thirty-three and one-third percent of the gross yield of value must be treated as taxable value for determining school district debt limits under 20-9-406.

     (b)  The percentage amount of the gross yield of value determined under subsection (12)(a) must be treated as assessed value under 15-8-111 for the purposes of local government debt limits and other bonding provisions as provided by law.

     (13) The bentonite tax proceeds are statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, to the department for distribution as provided in this section must be deposited in the guarantee account provided for in 20-9-622."

 

     Section 270.  Section 15-68-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-101.  Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  (a) "Accommodations" means a building or structure containing individual sleeping rooms or suites that provides overnight lodging facilities for periods of less than 30 days to the general public for compensation.

     (b)  Accommodations The term includes a facility represented to the public as a hotel, motel, campground, resort, dormitory, condominium inn, dude ranch, guest ranch, hostel, public lodginghouse, or bed and breakfast facility.

     (c)  The term does not include a health care facility, as defined in 50-5-101, any facility owned by a corporation organized under Title 35, chapter 2 or 3, that is used primarily by persons under 18 years of age for camping purposes, any hotel, motel, hostel, public lodginghouse, or bed and breakfast facility whose average daily accommodation charge for single occupancy does not exceed 60% of the amount authorized under 2-18-501 for the actual cost of lodging for travel within the state of Montana, or any other facility that is rented solely on a monthly basis or for a period of 30 days or more.

     (2)  (a) "Admission" means payment made for the privilege of being admitted to a facility, place, or event.

     (b)  The term does not include payment for admittance to a movie theater or to a sporting event sanctioned by a school district, college, or university.

     (3) "Agreement" means the streamlined sales tax and use tax agreement provided for in [sections 17 through 24].

     (4) "Agricultural product" means property used or produced in the course of an agricultural or livestock business, including but not limited to crops, fiber commodities, seed legumes, seed grasses, seed grains, fruits and vegetables, sod, feed for livestock, semen, ova, embryos used in animal husbandry, roots, bulbs, soil conditioners and fertilizers, insecticides, insects used to control weeds or the population of other insects, fungicides, weedicides, and herbicides, and water for commercial irrigation.

     (5) "Alcoholic beverages" means beverages that are suitable for human consumption and contain 1/2 of 1% or more of alcohol by volume.

     (3)(6)  (a) "Base rental charge" means the following:

     (i)  charges for time of use of the rental vehicle and mileage, if applicable;

     (ii) charges accepted by the renter for personal accident insurance;

     (iii) charges for additional drivers or underage drivers; and

     (iv) charges for child safety restraints, luggage racks, ski racks, or other accessory equipment for the rental vehicle.

     (b)  The term does not include:

     (i)  rental vehicle price discounts allowed and taken;

     (ii) rental charges or other charges or fees imposed on the rental vehicle owner or operator for the privilege of operating as a concessionaire at an airport terminal building;

     (iii) motor fuel;

     (iv) intercity rental vehicle drop charges; or

     (v)  taxes imposed by the federal government or by state or local governments.

     (7) "Camp" means a facility, place, or location in which persons are provided, for payment, instruction or recreation in conjunction with room and board for a limited period of time, typically measured in days or weeks.

     (4)(8)  (a) "Campground" means a place used for public camping where persons may camp, secure tents, or park individual recreational vehicles for camping and sleeping purposes.

     (b)  The term does not include that portion of a trailer court, trailer park, or mobile home park intended for occupancy by trailers or mobile homes for resident dwelling purposes for periods of 30 consecutive days or more.

     (9) "Certified automated system" has the meaning provided in [section 18].

     (10) "Certified service provider" has the meaning provided in [section 18].

     (11) "Computer" means an electronic device that accepts information in a digital or similar form and manipulates it for a result based on a sequence of instructions.

     (12) "Computer software" means a set of coded instructions designed to cause a computer or automatic data processing equipment to perform a task.

     (13) "Delivery charges" means charges by the seller of personal property or services for preparation and delivery to a location designated by the purchaser of personal property or services, including but not limited to transportation, shipping, postage, handling, crating, and packing.

     (14) "Dietary supplement" means any product, other than tobacco, intended to supplement the diet that:

     (a) contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients:

     (i) a vitamin;

     (ii) a mineral;

     (iii) an herb or other botanical;

     (iv) an amino acid;

     (v) a dietary substance for use by humans to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or

     (vi) a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any ingredient described in this subsection (14)(a);

     (b) is intended for ingestion in tablet, capsule, powder, softgel, gelcap, or liquid form or, if not intended for ingestion in such a form, is not represented as conventional food and is not represented for use as a sole item of a meal or of the diet; and

     (c) is required to be labeled as a dietary supplement, identifiable by the "supplement facts" box found on the label and as required pursuant to 21 CFR 101.36.

     (15) "Drug" means a compound, substance, or preparation and any component of a compound, substance, or preparation, other than food and food ingredients, dietary supplements, or alcoholic beverages:

     (a) recognized in the official United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or official National Formulary and any supplement to them;

     (b) intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease; or

     (c) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body.

     (16) (a) "Durable medical equipment" means equipment, including repair and replacement parts for equipment, that:

     (i) can withstand repeated use;

     (ii) is primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose;

     (iii) generally is not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury; and

     (iv) is not worn in or on the body.

     (b) The term does not include mobility-enhancing equipment.

     (17) "Electronic" means technology that relates to having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

     (5)(18)  "Engaging in business" means carrying on or causing to be carried on any activity with the purpose of receiving direct or indirect benefit.

     (19) "Food and food ingredients" means any food or food product that is available for purchase under the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program provided for in 7 U.S.C. 2012.

     (20) "Grooming and hygiene products" means soaps and cleaning solutions, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, antiperspirants, and suntan lotions and sunscreens, regardless of whether the items meet the definition of over-the-counter drugs.

     (21) "Guided recreation and sightseeing" means recreational activities or sightseeing in which a service provider, for payment, accompanies or provides direction or instruction to the purchaser.

     (6)(22)  (a) "Lease", "leasing", or "rental" means any transfer of possession or control of tangible personal property for a fixed or indeterminate term for consideration. A lease or rental may include future options to purchase or extend.

     (b)  Lease or rental includes agreements covering motor vehicles and trailers when the amount of consideration may be increased or decreased by reference to the amount realized upon sale or disposition of the property, as defined in 26 U.S.C. 7701(h)(1).

     (c)  The term does not include:

     (i)  a transfer of possession or control of property under a security agreement or deferred payment plan that requires the transfer of title upon completion of the required payments;

     (ii) a transfer of possession or control of property under an agreement that requires the transfer of title upon completion of required payments and payment of an option price that does not exceed the greater of $100 or 1% of the total required payments; or

     (iii) providing tangible personal property with an operator if an operator is necessary for the equipment to perform as designed and not just to maintain, inspect, or set up the tangible personal property.

     (d)  This definition must be used for sales tax and use tax purposes regardless of whether a transaction is characterized as a lease or rental under generally accepted accounting principles, the Internal Revenue Code, the Montana Uniform Commercial Code, or other provisions of federal, state, or local law.

     (e)  This definition must be applied only prospectively from the date of adoption and has no retroactive impact on existing leases or rentals.

     (23) "Livestock" has the meaning provided for in 15-1-101.

     (24) "Livestock product" means property used or produced in the course of an agricultural or livestock business, including but not limited to livestock, live poultry, bees, domestic animals and wildlife in domestication or a captive environment, unprocessed agricultural products, hides, mohair, pelts, and wool.

     (25) "Maintaining an office or other place of business" means:

     (a) a person having or maintaining within this state, directly or by a subsidiary, an office, distribution house, sales house, warehouse, or place of business; or

     (b) an agent operating within this state under the authority of the person or its subsidiary, whether the place of business or agent is located within the state permanently or temporarily or whether or not the person or its subsidiary is authorized to do business within this state.

     (26) (a) "Manufacturing" means combining or processing components or materials, including the processing of ores in a mill, smelter, refinery, or reduction facility, to increase their value for sale in the ordinary course of business.

     (b) The term does not include construction.

     (27) (a) "Mobility-enhancing equipment" means equipment, including repair and replacement parts, that:

     (i) is primarily and customarily used to provide or increase the ability to move from one place to another and that is appropriate for use either in a home or in a motor vehicle;

     (ii) is not generally used by persons with normal mobility; and

     (iii) does not include a motor vehicle or equipment on a motor vehicle normally provided by a motor vehicle manufacturer.

     (b) The term does not include durable medical equipment.

     (7)(28)  (a) "Motor vehicle" means a light vehicle as defined in 61-1-101, a motorcycle as defined in 61-1-101, a motor-driven cycle as defined in 61-1-101, a quadricycle as defined in 61-1-101, a motorboat or a sailboat as defined in 23-2-502, or an off-highway vehicle as defined in 23-2-801 that:

     (i)  is rented for a period of not more than 30 days;

     (ii) is rented without a driver, pilot, or operator; and

     (iii) is designed to transport 15 or fewer passengers.

     (b)  Motor vehicle The term includes:

     (i)  a rental vehicle rented pursuant to a contract for insurance; and

     (ii) a truck, trailer, or semitrailer that has a gross vehicle weight of less than 22,000 pounds, that is rented without a driver, and that is used in the transportation of personal property.

     (c)  The term does not include farm vehicles, machinery, or equipment.

     (29) (a) "Over-the-counter drug" means a drug that contains a label that identifies the product as a drug, as required by 21 CFR 201.66.

     (b) An over-the-counter drug label includes:

     (i) a drug facts panel; or

     (ii) a statement of the active ingredients with a list of those ingredients contained in the compound, substance, or preparation.

     (c) The term does not include grooming and hygiene products.

     (8)  "Permit" or "seller's permit" means a seller's permit as described in 15-68-401.

     (9)(30)  "Person" means an individual, estate, trust, fiduciary, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or any other legal entity.

     (31) "Prepared food" means:

     (a) food sold in a heated state or heated by the seller;

     (b) two or more food ingredients mixed or combined by the seller for sale as a single item; or

     (c) food sold with eating utensils provided by the seller, including plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, cups, napkins, or straws.

     (32) "Prescription" means an order, formula, or recipe issued in any form of oral, written, electronic, or other means of transmission by a licensed practitioner as authorized by the laws of Montana.

     (33) "Prosthetic device" means a replacement, corrective, or supportive device, including repair and replacement parts, worn on or in the body to:

     (a) artificially replace a missing portion of the body;

     (b) prevent or correct a physical deformity or malfunction; or

     (c) support a weak or deformed portion of the body.

     (10)(34) "Purchaser" means a person to whom a sale of personal property is made or to whom a service is furnished.

     (35) "Recreation fees" means money paid for participating in or observing sporting, athletic, sightseeing, or recreational activities.

     (11)(36) "Rental vehicle" means a motor vehicle that is used for or by a person other than the owner of the motor vehicle through an arrangement and for consideration.

     (12)(37) "Retail sale" means any sale, lease, or rental for any purpose other than for resale, sublease, or subrent.

     (13)(38) "Sale" or "selling" means the any transfer, exchange, or barter, conditional or otherwise, of property for consideration or the performance of a service for consideration.

     (14)(39) (a) "Sales price" applies to the measure subject to sales tax and means the total amount or consideration, including cash, credit, property, and services, for which personal property or services are sold, leased, or rented or valued in money, whether received in money or otherwise, without any deduction for the following:

     (i)  the seller's cost of the property sold;

     (ii) the cost of materials used, labor or service costs, interest, losses, all costs of transportation to the seller, all taxes imposed on the seller, and any other expense of the seller;

     (iii) charges by the seller for any services necessary to complete the sale, other than delivery and installation charges;

     (iv) delivery charges;

     (v)  installation charges;

     (vi) the value of exempt personal property given to the purchaser when taxable and exempt personal property have been bundled together and sold by the seller as a single product or piece of merchandise; and

     (vii) credit for any trade-in.

     (b)  The amount received for charges listed in subsections (14)(a)(iii) through (14)(a)(vii) are excluded from the sales price if they are separately stated on the invoice, billing, or similar document given to the purchaser.

     (c)(b)  The term does not include:

     (i)  discounts, including cash, term, or coupons that are not reimbursed by a third party that are allowed by a seller and taken by a purchaser on a sale;

     (ii) interest, financing, and carrying charges from credit extended on the sale of personal property or services if the amount is separately stated on the invoice, bill of sale, or similar document given to the purchaser; or

     (iii) any taxes legally imposed directly on the consumer that are separately stated on the invoice, bill of sale, or similar document given to the purchaser.

     (d)(c)  In an exchange in which the money or other consideration received does not represent the value of the property or service exchanged, sales price means the reasonable value of the property or service exchanged.

     (e)(d)  When the sale of property or services is made under any type of charge or conditional or time-sales contract or the leasing of property is made under a leasing contract, the seller or lessor shall treat the sales price, excluding any type of time-price differential, under the contract as the sales price at the time of the sale.

     (15)(40) "Sales tax" and "use tax" mean the applicable tax imposed by 15-68-102.

     (16)(41) "Seller" means a person that makes sales, leases, or rentals of personal property or services.

     (17)(42) (a) "Service" means an activity that is engaged in for another person for consideration and that is a fee, retainer, commission, or other monetary charge, which activities involve predominantly the performance of a service as distinguished from the sale or lease of property. Service includes but is not limited to:

     (i) activities performed by a person for its members or shareholders;

     (ii) admission;

     (iii) camp tuition;

     (iv) guided recreation and sightseeing;

     (v) sporting, athletic, or recreational activities;

     (vi) recreation fees;

     (vii) rental or lease of sporting goods;

     (viii) refuse collection;

     (ix) telecommunications services; and

     (x) utility services.

     (b) A service is taxable even if it is provided by a government agency.

     (b)(c)  In determining what a service is, the intended use, principal objective, or ultimate objective of the contracting parties is irrelevant.

     (d) The term does not include services rendered by an employee for an employer or services exempt from tax under this chapter.

     (43) "Sightseeing" means engaging in a tour or trip for pleasure or culture.

     (44) "Sporting, athletic, or recreational activities" means activities commonly performed for pleasure, competition, or fitness purposes. The following list contains examples and is not an all-inclusive list:

     (a) horseback riding;

     (b) climbing, trekking, and mountaineering;

     (c) biking;

     (d) golfing;

     (e) baseball, football, hockey, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and soccer;

     (f) hunting and fishing;

     (g) boating, canoeing, jet skiing, rafting, kayaking, and parasailing;

     (h) camping and backpacking;

     (i) swimming and diving;

     (j) bowling and ice skating;

     (k) skiing, snowmobiling, snow boarding, and snowshoeing;

     (l) hang gliding and ballooning; and

     (m) motorcycling, four-wheeling, and riding all-terrain vehicles.

     (45) "Sporting goods" means items designed for human use and worn or used in conjunction with sporting, athletic, or recreational activities.

     (46) "Tangible personal property" means personal property that can be seen, weighed, measured, felt, or touched or that is in any other manner perceptible to the senses. The term includes but is not limited to agricultural products, clothing, computer software, crops, dairy products, electricity, gas, livestock, livestock products, property used in manufacturing, property used in mining or processing of ores or petroleum, sporting goods, timber, steam, and water.

     (47) "Tobacco" means cigarettes, cigars, chewing or pipe tobacco, or any other item that contains tobacco.

     (18)(48) "Use" or "using" includes use, consumption, or storage, other than storage for resale or for use solely outside this state, in the ordinary course of business."

 

     Section 271.  Section 15-68-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-102.  Imposition and rate of sales tax and use tax -- exceptions -- tax holiday. (1) A sales tax of the following percentages is imposed on sales of the following property or services:

     (a)  3% on accommodations and campgrounds;

     (b)  4% on the base rental charge for rental vehicles.;

     (c) 2% on tangible personal property; and

     (d) 2% on services.

     (2) (a) The sales tax is imposed on the purchaser and must be collected by the seller and paid to the department by the seller. The seller holds all sales taxes collected in trust for the state. The sales tax must be applied to the sales price.

     (b) A sale of property or services is taxable, even if the sale is made:     

     (i) for the purpose of manufacturing; or

     (ii) to a purchaser that does not use the property or service in any manner other than holding it for sale or lease or selling or leasing it in the ordinary course of business.

     (3)  (a) For the privilege of using property or services within this state, there is imposed on the person using the following property or services a use tax equal to the following percentages of the value of the property or services:

     (i)  3% on accommodations and campgrounds;

     (ii) 4% on the base rental charge for rental vehicles.;

     (iii) 2% on tangible personal property; and

     (iv) 2% on services.

     (b)  The use tax is imposed on property or services that were:

     (i)  acquired outside this state as the result of a transaction that would have been subject to the sales tax had it occurred within this state;

     (ii) acquired within the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation within this state as a result of a transaction that would have been subject to the sales tax had it occurred outside the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation within this state;

     (iii) acquired as the result of a transaction that was not initially subject to the sales tax imposed by subsection (1) or the use tax imposed by subsection (3)(a) but which transaction, that because of the buyer's subsequent use of the property, is subject to the sales tax or use tax; or

     (iv) rendered as the result of a transaction that was not initially subject to the sales tax or use tax but that because of the buyer's subsequent use of the services is subject to the sales tax or use tax.

     (4)  For purposes of this section, the value of property must be determined as of the time of acquisition, introduction into this state, or conversion to use, whichever is latest.

     (5)  The sale or use of property or services exempt or nontaxable under this chapter is exempt from the tax imposed in subsections (1) and (3).

     (6)  Lodging facilities and campgrounds are exempt from the tax imposed in subsections (1)(a) and (3)(a)(i) until October 1, 2003, for contracts entered into prior to April 30, 2003, that provide for a guaranteed charge for accommodations or campgrounds A sales tax is not imposed under subsections (1) for sales and services that occur from October 20 through November 20.

     (7) If permitted by the agreement, the department may adopt rules that allow a seller to incorporate the rate of tax imposed under subsection (1) in the final sales price."

 

     Section 272.  Section 15-68-110, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-110.  Collection of sales tax and use tax -- listing of business locations and agents -- severability. (1) A Except when the purchaser has a direct payment permit as provided in [section 26], a person engaging in the business of selling property or services subject to taxation under this chapter shall collect the sales tax from the purchaser and pay the sales tax collected to the department.

     (2) (a) A person who solicits or exploits the consumer market within this state by regularly and systematically performing an activity within this state and whose sales are not subject to the sales tax shall collect the use tax from the purchaser and pay the use tax collected to the department.

     (b) For the purposes of this section, "activity" includes but is not limited to engaging in any of the following within this state:

     (i) maintaining an office or other place of business that solicits orders through employees or independent contractors;

     (ii) canvassing;

     (iii) demonstrating;

     (iv) collecting money;

     (v) warehousing or storing merchandise;

     (vi) delivering or distributing products as a consequence of an advertising or other sales program directed at potential customers;

     (vii) to the extent permitted by federal law, soliciting orders for property by means of the internet, telecommunications, or a television shopping system or by providing telecommunications services that use toll or toll-free numbers and that are intended to be broadcast by cable television or other means to consumers within this state;

     (viii) soliciting orders, pursuant to a contract with a broadcaster or publisher located within this state, for property by means of advertising that is disseminated primarily to consumers located within this state and only secondarily to bordering jurisdictions;

     (ix) soliciting orders for property by mail through the distribution of catalogs, periodicals, advertising flyers, or other advertising;

     (x) soliciting orders, pursuant to a contract with a cable television operator located within this state, for property by means of advertising transmitted or distributed over a cable television system within this state; or

     (xi) participating in an act that benefits from banking, financing, debt collection, telecommunications, or marketing activities occurring within this state or that benefits from the location within this state of authorized installation, servicing, or repair facilities.

     (3) Multistate registration pursuant to the agreement may not be used as a factor to determine whether the person is conducting an activity within the state subjecting the person to the sales tax or use tax.

     (2)(4)  A person engaging in business within this state shall, before making any sales subject to this chapter, obtain a seller's permit register as a seller, as provided in 15-68-401, and at the time of making a sale, whether within or outside the state, collect the sales tax imposed by 15-68-102 from the purchaser and give to the purchaser a receipt, in the manner and form prescribed by rule, for the sales tax paid.

     (3)(5)  The department may authorize the collection of the sales tax imposed by 15-68-102 by any retailer who does not maintain a place of business within this state but who, to the satisfaction of the department, is in compliance with the law. When authorized, the person shall collect the use tax upon all property and services that, to the person's knowledge, are for use within this state and subject to taxation under this chapter.

     (4)(6)  All sales tax and use tax required to be collected and all sales tax and use tax collected by any person under this chapter constitute a debt owed to this state by the person required to collect the sales tax and use tax.

     (5)(7)  A person engaging in business within this state that is subject to this chapter shall provide to the department:

     (a)  the names and addresses of all of the person's agents operating within this state; and

     (b)  the location of each of the person's distribution houses or offices, sales houses or offices, and other places of business within this state.

     (6)(8)  If any application of this section is held invalid, the application to other situations or persons is not affected."

 

     Section 273.  Section 15-68-201, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-201.  Nontaxable transaction certificate -- requirements. (1) A nontaxable transaction certificate executed by a buyer or lessee must be in the possession of the seller or lessor at the time that a nontaxable transaction occurs.

     (2)  A nontaxable transaction certificate must contain the information and be in the form prescribed by the department.

     (3)  Only a buyer or lessee who has registered with the department and whose seller's permit registration is valid may execute a nontaxable transaction certificate.

     (4)  If the seller or lessor accepts a nontaxable transaction certificate within the required time and believes in good faith that the buyer or lessee will employ the property or service transferred in a nontaxable manner, the properly executed nontaxable transaction certificate is considered conclusive evidence that the sale is nontaxable. If an incorrect claim was made with the intent to evade the payment of the sales tax, the purchaser is subject to the penalty provided in 15-68-410. If an incorrect claim was made in error, the purchaser is subject to payment of the sales tax or use tax."

 

     Section 274.  Section 15-68-202, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-202.  Nontaxable transaction certificate -- form. (1) The department shall provide for a uniform nontaxable transaction certificate. An electronic or digitally usable version of a nontaxable transaction certificate may also be provided. A purchaser shall use the certificate when purchasing goods or services for resale or for other nontaxable transactions.

     (2)  At a minimum, the certificate must provide:

     (a)  the a unique identification number of the seller's permit issued to the purchaser as provided in 15-68-401;

     (b)  the general character of property or service sold by the purchaser in the regular course of business; nature of the exemption, such as the fact that:

     (c)  the property or service purchased for resale;

     (i) the purchaser is authorized to make direct payments; or

     (ii) the purchaser is an entity exempt from payment of sales tax;

     (d)(c)  the name and address of the purchaser; and

     (e)(d) if it is a paper certificate,  a signature line for the purchaser.

     (3)  The department shall adopt rules to provide procedures for application for and provision of a certificate to a person engaging in business within this state for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, [the effective date of this act] and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003. The rules adopted by the department must ensure that each person that is engaging in business within this state for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, [the effective date of this act] and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003, that has applied in a timely fashion is issued a certificate for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003 [the effective date of this act]."

 

     Section 275.  Section 15-68-206, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-206.  Exemption -- government agencies. All sales by or uses by the United States or an agency or instrumentality of the United States or of this state, a political subdivision of this state, an Indian tribe, or a foreign government are exempt from the sales tax and use tax."

 

     Section 276.  Section 15-68-207, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-207.  Exemption -- isolated or occasional sale or lease of property. The isolated or occasional sale or lease of property by a person that is not regularly engaged in or that does not claim to be engaged in the business of selling or leasing the same or a similar property is exempt from the sales tax and use tax. Occasional sales include sales that are occasional but not continuous and that are made for the purpose of fundraising by nonprofit organizations, including but not limited to youth clubs, service clubs, and fraternal organizations."

 

     Section 277.  Section 15-68-208, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-208.  Nontaxability -- sale of property for resale -- nontaxable transaction certificate. The sale of property is nontaxable if:

     (1)  the sale is made to a buyer who delivers a nontaxable transaction certificate to the seller;

     (2)  the buyer resells the property either by itself or in combination with other property; and

     (3)  the subsequent sale is in the ordinary course of business and the property will be subject to the sales tax."

 

     Section 278.  Section 15-68-209, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-209.  Nontaxability -- sale of service for resale -- nontaxable transaction certificate. The sale of a service for resale is nontaxable if:

     (1)  the sale is made to a person who delivers a nontaxable transaction certificate;

     (2)  the buyer resells the service and separately states the value of the service purchased in the charge for the service in the subsequent sale; and

     (3)  the subsequent sale is in the ordinary course of business and subject to the sales tax."

 

     Section 279.  Section 15-68-210, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-210.  Nontaxability -- lease for subsequent lease. The lease of property is nontaxable if:

     (1)  the lease is made to a lessee who delivers a nontaxable transaction certificate; and

     (2)  the lessee does not use the property in any manner other than for subsequent lease in the ordinary course of business."

 

     Section 280.  Section 15-68-401, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-401.  Seller's permit registration. (1) A person that wishes to engage in business within this state that is subject to this chapter shall obtain file with the department an application for a seller's permit registration before engaging in business within this state.

     (2) A person may apply for registration directly with the department or through the multistate central registration system as provided in the agreement. Sellers registered through the multistate central registration system agree to collect and remit sales taxes and use taxes for taxable Montana sales and to comply with audit and compliance provisions established through the agreement.

     (2)(3)  Upon an applicant's compliance with this chapter, the department shall issue to the applicant a separate, numbered seller's permit registration for each location in which the applicant maintains an office or other place of business within Montana. A permit registration is valid until revoked or suspended but is not assignable. A permit registration is valid only for the person in whose name it is issued and for the transaction of business at the place designated. The permit registration must be conspicuously displayed at all times at the place for which it is issued.

     (3)(4)  The department shall adopt rules to provide procedures for application applying for a seller's registration and provision of a seller's permit to a person for registering sellers engaging in business within this state that is subject to this chapter for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003 [the applicability date of this section]. The rules adopted by the department must ensure that each person engaging in business within this state for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003, [the effective date of this act] has the opportunity to be registered is issued a seller's permit for renting accommodations and campgrounds prior to June 1, 2003, and renting vehicles prior to July 1, 2003 [the effective date of this act]. The department may adopt rules providing for seasonal permits registration."

 

     Section 281.  Section 15-68-402, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-402.  Permit application Application for seller's registration -- requirements -- place of business -- form. (1) (a) A person that wishes to engage in the business of making retail sales or providing services in Montana that are subject to this chapter shall file with the department an application for a permit seller's registration. If the person has more than one location in which the person maintains an office or other place of business, an application may include multiple locations.

     (b)  An applicant who does not maintain an office or other place of business and who moves from place to place is considered to have only one place of business and shall attach the permit seller's registration to the applicant's cart, stand, truck, or other merchandising device.

     (c) A vending machine operator who has more than one vending machine location is considered to have only one place of business for the purposes of this section.

     (2)  Each person or class of persons required to file a return under this chapter, other than persons with direct payment permits and certified service providers, is required to file an application for a permit seller's registration.

     (3)  Each An application for a permit seller's registration must may be on a in either electronic or paper form and must be prescribed by the department. and The application must meet the requirements of the multistate central registration system under the agreement even if the applicant intends to make local retail sales only in Montana. The form must set forth the name under which the applicant intends to transact business, the location of the applicant's place or places of business, and other information that the department may require. The application must be filed by the owner if the owner is a natural person or by a person authorized to sign the application if the owner is a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or some other business entity."

 

     Section 282.  Section 15-68-405, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-405.  Revocation or suspension of permit seller's registration -- appeal. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), the department may, for reasonable cause, revoke or suspend any permit registration held by a person that fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter.

     (2)  The department shall provide dispute resolution on a proposed revocation or suspension pursuant to 15-1-211.

     (3)  If a permit seller's registration is revoked, the department may not issue a new permit registration except upon application accompanied by reasonable evidence of the intention of the applicant to comply with the provisions of this chapter. The department may require security in addition to that authorized by 15-68-512 in an amount reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter as a condition for the issuance of a new permit registration to the applicant.

     (4)  A person aggrieved by the department's final decision to revoke a permit seller's registration, as provided in subsection (1), may appeal the decision to the state tax appeal board within 30 days after the date on which the department issued its final decision."

 

     Section 283.  Section 15-68-501, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-501.  Liability for payment of tax -- security for retailer without place of business -- penalty. (1) Liability for the payment of the sales tax and use tax is not extinguished until the taxes have been paid to the department.

     (2)  A retailer that does not maintain an office or other place of business within this state is liable for the sales tax or use tax in accordance with this chapter and may be required to furnish adequate security, as provided in 15-68-512, to ensure collection and payment of the taxes. When authorized and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the retailer is liable for the taxes upon all property sold and services provided in this state in the same manner as a retailer who maintains an office or other place of business within this state. The seller's permit registration provided for in 15-68-401 may be canceled at any time if the department considers the security inadequate or believes that the taxes can be collected more effectively in another manner.

     (3)  An agent, canvasser, or employee of a retailer doing business within this state may not sell, solicit orders for, or deliver any property or services within Montana unless the principal, employer, or retailer possesses a seller's permit registration issued by the department. If an agent, canvasser, or employee violates the provisions of this chapter, the person is subject to a fine of not more than $100 for each separate transaction or event."

 

     Section 284.  Section 15-68-502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-502.  Returns -- payment -- authority of department. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), on or before the last day of the month following the calendar quarter in which the transaction subject to the tax imposed by this chapter occurred, a return, on a form provided by the department, and payment of the tax for the preceding quarter must be filed with the department. Each person engaged in business within this state or using property or services within this state that are subject to tax under this chapter shall file a return. A person making retail sales at two or more places of business shall file a separate return for each separate place of business. Sellers that are registered under the agreement and that use either a certified automated system or a certified service provider, as defined in the agreement, are subject to the reporting and payment provisions of subsection (2). A person that has been issued a seasonal seller's registration shall file a return and pay the tax on the date or dates set by the department. All other sellers are subject to the reporting and payment provisions provided in subsection (3).

     (2) (a) On or before the 20th day of each month, a return, in a form adopted by the department in conformance with the agreement, with a remittance of the tax owed for the preceding month, must be filed with the department. The filing and the remittance may be done electronically.

     (b) The seller and any agent of the seller, for the purposes of reporting or paying the sales tax or use tax, are subject to the audit and accountability provisions of the agreement.

     (2)  A person who has been issued a seasonal seller's permit shall file a return and pay the tax on the date or dates set by the department.

     (3)  (a) For the purposes of the sales tax or use tax, a return must be filed by:

     (i)  a retailer seller required to collect the tax; and

     (ii) a purchaser with a direct payment permit; and

     (ii)(iii) a person that:

     (A)  purchases any items the for which the items' storage, use, nonexempt sales to purchasers in the ordinary course of business, or other consumption of which is subject to the sales tax or use tax; and

     (B)  has not paid the tax to a retailer seller required to pay the tax.

     (b) A return must be filed with and payment must be received by the department on or before the 20th day of each month for taxes owed for sales occurring during the preceding month. A seller that has a tax liability that averages less than $100 a month may report and pay the tax quarterly and shall file the return with payment received by the department before the 20th day of the month after the end of each quarter.

     (b)  Each return must be authenticated by the person filing the return or by the person's agent authorized in writing to file the return.

     (4)  (a) A person required to collect and pay to the department the taxes imposed by this chapter shall keep records, render statements, make returns, and comply with the provisions of this chapter and the rules prescribed by the department. Each return or statement must include the information required by the rules of the department. The department shall comply with the provisions of the agreement in determining reports and records management requirements in reference to sellers that are registered under the agreement.

     (b)  For the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the department is authorized to examine or cause to be examined any books, papers, records, or memoranda relevant to making a determination of the amount of tax due, whether the books, papers, records, or memoranda are the property of or in the possession of the person filing the return or another person. In determining compliance, the department may use statistical sampling and other sampling techniques consistent with generally accepted auditing standards. The department may also:

     (i)  require the attendance of a person having knowledge or information relevant to a return;

     (ii) compel the production of books, papers, records, or memoranda by the person required to attend;

     (iii) implement the provisions of 15-1-703 if the department determines that the collection of the tax is or may be jeopardized because of delay;

     (iv) take testimony on matters material to the determination; and

     (v)  administer oaths or affirmations.

     (5)  Pursuant to rules established by the department, returns may be computer-generated and electronically filed."

 

     Section 285.  Section 15-68-505, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-505.  Credit for taxes paid on worthless accounts -- taxes paid if account collected. (1) Sales taxes tax paid by a person filing a return under 15-68-502 on sales found to be worthless and actually deducted by the person as a bad debt for federal income tax purposes may be credited on a subsequent payment of the tax.

     (2)  Bad debts may be deducted within 12 months after the month in which the bad debt has been charged off for federal income tax purposes. "Charged off for federal income tax purposes" includes the charging off of unpaid balances due on accounts as uncollectible or declaring as uncollectible such unpaid balance due on accounts in the case of a seller who is not required to file federal income tax returns.

     (3)  If an account is subsequently collected, the sales tax must be paid on the amount collected.

     (4)  A seller may obtain a refund of tax on any amount of bad debt that exceeds the amount of taxable sales within a 12-month period defined by that bad debt.

     (5)  For purposes of computing a bad debt deduction or reporting a payment received on a previously claimed bad debt, any payments made on a debt or account are applied first to interest, service charges, and any other charges and second to the price of the property or service and sales tax on the property or service, proportionally.

     (6) If filing responsibilities have been assumed by a certified service provider, the certified service provider may claim any bad debt allowance on behalf of the seller.

     (7) If the books and records of the seller claiming the bad debt allowance support an allocation of the bad debts among several states, the bad debts may be allocated among those states."

 

     Section 286.  Section 15-68-510, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-510.  Vendor allowance. (1) (a) A person filing a timely return under 15-68-502 may claim a quarterly vendor allowance for each permitted location in the amount of 5% of the tax determined to be payable to the state, not to exceed $1,000 a quarter $350 a month for a person filing on a monthly basis.

     (2)(b)  The allowance may be deducted on the return.

     (3)(c)  A person that files a return or payment after the due date for the return or payment may not claim a vendor allowance.

     (2) In lieu of the vendor allowance provided in subsection (1), certified service providers must receive a monetary allowance determined as provided in the agreement and the sellers using the certified service providers may not receive a vendor allowance. The vendor allowance must be funded entirely from sales tax proceeds collected by the sellers using the certified service providers.

     (3) In addition to the vendor allowance provided in subsection (1), a registered seller using a certified automated system must receive a percentage of the tax determined to be payable to the state. The percentage must be determined as provided in the agreement."

 

     Section 287.  Section 15-68-520, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-520.  Limitations. (1) Except in the case of a person that purposely or knowingly, as those terms are defined in 45-2-101, files a false or fraudulent return violating the provisions of this chapter, a deficiency may not be assessed or collected with respect to a quarter month for which a return is filed unless the notice of additional tax proposed to be assessed is mailed to or personally served upon the taxpayer within 5 years from the date that the return was filed. For purposes of this section, a return filed before the last day prescribed for filing is considered to be filed on the last day.

     (2)  If, before the expiration of the 5-year period prescribed in subsection (1) for assessment of the tax, the taxpayer consents in writing to an assessment after expiration of the 5-year period, a deficiency may be assessed at any time prior to the expiration of the period to which consent was given."

 

     Section 288.  Section 15-68-801, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-801.  Administration -- rules. (1) The department shall:

     (1)(a)  administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter;

     (2)(b)  cause to be prepared and distributed forms and information that may be necessary to administer the provisions of this chapter; and

     (3)(c)  adopt rules that may be necessary or appropriate to administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

     (2) In administering the provisions of this chapter, the department shall, when applicable and not in conflict with Montana law, follow the provisions of the agreement adopted pursuant to [sections 17 through 24]. The department shall report to the revenue and transportation interim committee provided for in 5-5-227 on:

     (a) the operation of the agreement and the benefits and costs to the state of the state's participation; and

     (b) any changes to the agreement that require changes in Montana law for compliance with the agreement."

 

     Section 289.  Section 15-68-820, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-68-820.  Sales tax and use tax proceeds. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), all money collected under this chapter must, in accordance with the provisions of 17-2-124, be deposited by the department into the general fund as follows:

     (a) 70% in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the sales and use tax reimbursement account provided in [section 2]; and

     (b) 5% in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the critical needs assessment account provided in [section 16];

     (c) 5% in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the school infrastructure needs assessment account provided in [section 53]; and

     (d) the remainder to the general fund.

     (2)  Twenty-five percent of the revenue collected on the base rental charge for rental vehicles under 15-68-102(1)(b) and 15-68-102(3)(a)(ii) must be deposited in the state special revenue fund to the credit of the senior citizen and persons with disabilities transportation services account provided for in 7-14-112."

 

     Section 290.  Section 15-70-419, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-70-419.  Improperly imported fuel -- seizure. (1) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  "Conveyance" means a tank car, vehicle, or vessel that is used to transport fuel.

     (b)  "Department" means the department of transportation.

     (c)  "Peace officer" means an employee of the department of transportation designated or appointed as a peace officer under 61-10-154 or 61-12-201.

     (2)  Pursuant to 61-12-206(5) 61-12-206(4), a peace officer may:

     (a)  stop and search a conveyance in the state if the peace officer has reasonable cause to believe that the conveyance is being used to carry improperly imported fuel and is intentionally avoiding fuel tax responsibilities; and

     (b)  seize without a warrant imported fuel for which the distributor or transporter has not obtained a valid Montana gasoline or special fuel distributor license as required in 15-70-402.

     (3)  The peace officer shall obtain authorization from the director of the department of transportation or the director's designee before seizing fuel.

     (4)  Upon seizing the fuel that the peace officer believes to be improperly imported, the peace officer may:

     (a)  direct the rerouting or transfer of the fuel to a location designated by the department. The department shall reimburse the carrier for transportation costs from the point of seizure to the location designated by the department.

     (b)  unload the fuel; and

     (c)  take three samples of the fuel from the cargo tank for examination.

     (5)  Within 48 hours after seizure of the improperly imported fuel, the department shall issue a notice of right to file claim for the return of interest or title to the fuel. The notice must be issued to:

     (a)  the original owner of the fuel;

     (b)  the owner of the transportation company that conveyed the fuel; and

     (c)  any other interested party.

     (6)  The parties listed in subsections (5)(a) through (5)(c) may file a claim for the return of interest or title to the fuel within 30 days after the date of seizure. If a claim is filed for interest or title to the seized fuel, the department shall:

     (a)  provide the opportunity for a hearing;

     (b)  if requested, conduct the hearing within 5 days after receiving the claim;

     (c)  make a final determination of the party to take interest or title to the fuel within 2 working days after the hearing; and

     (d)  mail notice of the department's determination to interested parties.

     (7)  (a) The department may determine that the seized fuel be forfeited by the original owner and may:

     (i)  sell the fuel to the licensed Montana distributor predetermined through a bidding process established in department administrative rule; or

     (ii) use the forfeited fuel for a public purpose determined by the department.

     (b)  The department shall issue a certificate of sale to the licensed distributor who purchases the seized fuel.

     (c)  The net proceeds from the sale of the fuel must be deposited in the general fund, less:

     (i)  the applicable taxes, fees, and penalties, which the department shall deposit in a highway revenue account in the state special revenue fund, as required in 15-70-101; and

     (ii) the administrative costs incurred in conjunction with the seizure and disposal of the improperly imported fuel.

     (8)  If the department determines that the original owner of the fuel may reclaim interest or title to the fuel, the department may:

     (a)  return to the owner money, less tax and penalty, equal to the wholesale value of the fuel on the day of the seizure; or

     (b)  return the fuel.

     (9)  A person forfeits the interest, right, and title to improperly imported fuel if the person:

     (a)  fails to file a claim for the seized fuel within the time allowed in subsection (6); or

     (b)  is determined to be guilty of violating fuel tax laws.

     (10) A person whose fuel is seized under this section is not relieved of any penalties imposed for illegal fuel importation in Title 15, chapter 70."

 

     Section 291.  Section 17-3-213, MCA, is amended to read:

     "17-3-213.  Allocation of forest reserve funds and other federal funds -- options provided in federal law. (1) The board of county commissioners in each county shall decide among payment options provided in subsections (2) through (6), as provided in Public Law 106-393 and Public Law 110-343, to determine how the forest reserve funds, Public Law 106-393 funds, and Public Law 110-343 funds apportioned to each county must be distributed by the county treasurer pursuant to this section.

     (2)  If a board of county commissioners chooses to receive a payment that is 25% of the revenue derived from national forest system lands, as provided in 16 U.S.C. 500, all funds received must be distributed as provided in subsection (5).

     (3)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (4), if a county elects to receive the county's full payment under Public Law 106-393, a minimum of 80% up to a maximum of 85% of the county's full payment must be designated by the county for distribution as provided in subsection (5).

     (b)  The balance not distributed pursuant to subsection (3)(a) may be allocated by the county in accordance with Public Law 106-393.

     (4)  If a county's full payment under Public Law 106-393 is less than $100,000, the county may elect to distribute up to 100% of the payment as provided in subsection (5).

     (5)  The total amount designated by a county in accordance with subsection (3)(a) or (4) must be distributed as follows:

     (a)  to the general road fund, 66 2/3% of the amount designated;

     (b)  to the following countywide school levies school districts of the county in proportion to each district's ANB, 33 1/3% of the amount designated:

     (i)  county equalization for elementary schools provided for in 20-9-331;

     (ii) county equalization for high schools provided for in 20-9-333;

     (iii) the county transportation fund provided for in 20-10-146; and

     (iv) the elementary and high school district retirement fund obligations provided for in 20-9-501.

     (6)  The apportionment of money to the funds provided for under subsection (5)(b) must be made by the county superintendent based on the proportion that the mill levy of each fund bears to the total number of mills for all the funds. Whenever the total amount of money available for apportionment under subsection (5)(b) is greater than the total requirements of a levy, the excess money and any interest income must be retained in a separate reserve fund, to be reapportioned in the ensuing school fiscal year to the levies designated in subsection (5)(b) deposited in the district's local control and efficiency fund provided for in [section 38].

     (7)  In counties in which special road districts have been created according to law, the board of county commissioners shall distribute a proportionate share of the 66 2/3% distributed under subsection (5)(a) for the general road fund to the special road districts within the county based upon the percentage that the total area of the road district bears to the total area of the entire county.

     (8)  Except as provided in subsection (9), if a county elects to receive the county's full payment under Public Law 110-343, not less than 80% but not more than 85% of the funds must be expended in the same manner as provided in subsection (5). A county may reserve not more than 7% of the county's full payment for projects in accordance with Title III of section 601 of Public Law 110-343. The balance of the funds may be:

     (a)  reserved for projects in accordance with Title II of section 601 of Public Law 110-343; or

     (b)  returned to the United States.

     (9)  (a) If a county's full payment is more than $100,000 but less than or equal to $350,000, the county may use all of the funds as provided in Title II or Title III of section 601 of Public Law 110-343 or return the funds to the United States.

     (b)  If a county's full payment is less than or equal to $100,000, the county may elect to distribute up to 100% of the payment as provided in subsection (5)."

 

     Section 292.  Section 17-3-1003, MCA, is amended to read:

     "17-3-1003.  Support of state institutions. (1) Except as provided in subsection (5), for the support and endowment of each state institution, there is annually and perpetually appropriated, after any deductions made under 77-1-109, the income from all permanent endowments for the institution and from all land grants as provided by law. All money received or collected in connection with permanent endowments by all higher educational institutions, reformatory, custodial and penal institutions, state hospitals, and sanitariums, for any purpose, except revenue pledged to secure the payment of principal and interest of obligations incurred for the purchase, construction, equipment, or improvement of facilities at units of the Montana university system and for the refunding of obligations or money that constitutes temporary deposits, all or part of which may be subject to withdrawal or repayment, must be paid to the state treasurer, who shall deposit the money to the credit of the proper fund.

     (2)  Except as provided in subsections (1), (3), and (5), all money received from the investment of grants of a state institution and all money received from the leasing of lands granted to a state institution must be deposited with the state treasurer of Montana for each institution, to the credit of the state special revenue fund.

     (3)  Except as provided in 77-1-109 and subsection (4) of this section, all money received from the sale of timber from lands granted to a state institution must be deposited to the credit of the permanent trust fund for the support of the institution.

     (4)  The board of regents shall designate, at least once a biennium, whether the timber sale proceeds from Montana university system lands must be distributed to the beneficiaries or placed in the permanent fund.

     (5)  Except as provided in 77-1-109, income received from certain lands and riverbeds pursuant to 77-1-103(4) or 77-4-208 must be deposited as follows:

     (a)  from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014, to in the guarantee account provided for in 20-9-622; and

     (b)  on or after July 1, 2014, to the school facility and technology account provided for in 20-9-516."

 

     Section 293.  Section 17-7-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "17-7-301.  Authorization to expend during first year of biennium from appropriation for second year -- proposed supplemental appropriation defined -- limit on second-year expenditures. (1) An agency may make expenditures during the first fiscal year of the biennium from appropriations for the second fiscal year of the biennium if authorized by the general appropriations act. An agency that is not authorized in the general appropriations act to make first-year expenditures may be granted spending authorization by the approving authority upon submission and approval of a proposed supplemental appropriation to the approving authority. The proposal submitted to the approving authority must include a plan for reducing expenditures in the second year of the biennium that allows the agency to contain expenditures within appropriations. If the approving authority finds that, due to an unforeseen and unanticipated emergency, the amount actually appropriated for the first fiscal year of the biennium with all other income will be insufficient for the operation and maintenance of the agency during the year for which the appropriation was made, the approving authority shall, after careful study and examination of the request and upon review of the recommendation for executive branch proposals by the budget director, submit the proposed supplemental appropriation to the legislative fiscal analyst.

     (2)  The plan for reducing expenditures required by subsection (1) is not required if the proposed supplemental appropriation is:

     (a)  due to an unforeseen and unanticipated emergency for fire suppression;

     (b)  requested by the superintendent of public instruction, in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-351, and is to complete the state's funding of guaranteed tax base aid BASE aid as provided in 20-9-306, transportation aid as provided in [section 39], retirement aid as provided in 20-9-501, or equalization local control aid as provided in [section 38] to elementary and secondary schools for the current biennium; or

     (c)  requested by the attorney general and:

     (i)  is to pay the costs associated with litigation in which the department of justice is required to provide representation to the state of Montana; or

     (ii) in accordance with the provisions of 7-32-2242, is to pay costs for which the department of justice is responsible for confinement of an arrested person in a detention center.

     (3)  Upon receipt of the recommendation of the legislative finance committee pursuant to 17-7-311, the approving authority may authorize an expenditure during the first fiscal year of the biennium to be made from the appropriation for the second fiscal year of the biennium. Except as provided in subsection (2), the approving authority shall require the agency to implement the plan for reducing expenditures in the second year of the biennium that contains agency expenditures within appropriations.

     (4)  The agency may expend the amount authorized by the approving authority only for the purposes specified in the authorization.

     (5)  The approving authority shall report to the next legislature in a special section of the budget the amounts expended as a result of all authorizations granted by the approving authority and shall request that any necessary supplemental appropriation bills be passed.

     (6)  As used in this part, "proposed supplemental appropriation" means an application for authorization to make expenditures during the first fiscal year of the biennium from appropriations for the second fiscal year of the biennium.

     (7)  (a) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (7)(b), an agency may not make expenditures in the second year of the biennium that, if carried on for the full year, will require a deficiency appropriation, commonly referred to as a "supplemental appropriation".

     (b)  An agency shall prepare and, to the extent feasible, implement a plan for reducing expenditures in the second year of the biennium that contains agency expenditures within appropriations. The approving authority is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the plan. If, in the second year of a biennium, mandated expenditures that are required by state or federal law will cause an agency to exceed appropriations or available funds, the agency shall reduce all nonmandated expenditures pursuant to the plan in order to reduce to the greatest extent possible the expenditures in excess of appropriations or funding. An agency may not transfer funds between fund types in order to implement a plan."

 

     Section 294.  Section 17-7-502, MCA, is amended to read:

     "17-7-502.  Statutory appropriations -- definition -- requisites for validity. (1) A statutory appropriation is an appropriation made by permanent law that authorizes spending by a state agency without the need for a biennial legislative appropriation or budget amendment.

     (2)  Except as provided in subsection (4), to be effective, a statutory appropriation must comply with both of the following provisions:

     (a)  The law containing the statutory authority must be listed in subsection (3).

     (b)  The law or portion of the law making a statutory appropriation must specifically state that a statutory appropriation is made as provided in this section.

     (3)  The following laws are the only laws containing statutory appropriations: 2-17-105; 5-11-120; 5-11-407; 5-13-403; 7-4-2502; 10-1-108; 10-1-1202; 10-1-1303; 10-2-603; 10-3-203; 10-3-310; 10-3-312; 10-3-314; 10-4-301; 15-1-121; 15-1-218; 15-35-108; 15-36-332; 15-37-117; 15-39-110; 15-65-121; [section 2]; 15-70-101; 15-70-433; 15-70-601; 16-11-509; 17-3-106; 17-3-112; 17-3-212; 17-3-222; 17-3-241; 17-6-101; 17-7-215; 18-11-112; 19-3-319; 19-6-404; 19-6-410; 19-9-702; 19-13-604; 19-17-301; 19-18-512; 19-19-305; 19-19-506; 19-20-604; 19-20-607; 19-21-203; 20-8-107; 20-9-517; 20-9-520; 20-9-534; 20-9-622; 20-9-905; 20-26-617; 20-26-1503; 22-1-327; 22-3-116; 22-3-117; 22-3-1004; 23-4-105; 23-5-306; 23-5-409; 23-5-612; 23-7-301; 23-7-402; 30-10-1004; 37-43-204; 37-50-209; 37-51-501; 39-71-503; 41-5-2011; 42-2-105; 44-4-1101; 44-12-213; 44-13-102; 50-1-115; 53-1-109; 53-6-1304; 53-9-113; 53-24-108; 53-24-206; 60-11-115; 61-3-415; 69-3-870; 75-1-1101; 75-5-1108; 75-6-214; 75-11-313; 76-13-150; 76-13-416; 77-1-108; 77-2-362; 80-2-222; 80-4-416; 80-11-518; 81-1-112; 81-7-106; 81-10-103; 82-11-161; 85-20-1504; 85-20-1505; [85-25-102]; 87-1-603; 90-1-115; 90-1-205; 90-1-504; 90-3-1003; 90-6-331; and 90-9-306.

     (4)  There is a statutory appropriation to pay the principal, interest, premiums, and costs of issuing, paying, and securing all bonds, notes, or other obligations, as due, that have been authorized and issued pursuant to the laws of Montana. Agencies that have entered into agreements authorized by the laws of Montana to pay the state treasurer, for deposit in accordance with 17-2-101 through 17-2-107, as determined by the state treasurer, an amount sufficient to pay the principal and interest as due on the bonds or notes have statutory appropriation authority for the payments. (In subsection (3): pursuant to sec. 10, Ch. 360, L. 1999, the inclusion of 19-20-604 terminates contingently when the amortization period for the teachers' retirement system's unfunded liability is 10 years or less; pursuant to sec. 10, Ch. 10, Sp. L. May 2000, secs. 3 and 6, Ch. 481, L. 2003, and sec. 2, Ch. 459, L. 2009, the inclusion of 15-35-108 terminates June 30, 2019; pursuant to sec. 73, Ch. 44, L. 2007, the inclusion of 19-6-410 terminates contingently upon the death of the last recipient eligible under 19-6-709(2) for the supplemental benefit provided by 19-6-709; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 442, L. 2009, the inclusion of 90-6-331 terminates June 30, 2019; pursuant to sec. 16, Ch. 58, L. 2011, the inclusion of 30-10-1004 terminates June 30, 2017; pursuant to sec. 6, Ch. 61, L. 2011, the inclusion of 76-13-416 terminates June 30, 2019; pursuant to sec. 13, Ch. 339, L. 2011, the inclusion of 81-1-112 and 81-7-106 terminates June 30, 2017; pursuant to sec. 11(2), Ch. 17, L. 2013, the inclusion of 17-3-112 terminates on occurrence of contingency; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 244, L. 2013, the inclusion of 22-1-327 terminates July 1, 2017; pursuant to sec. 27, Ch. 285, L. 2015, and sec. 1, Ch. 292, L. 2015, the inclusion of 53-9-113 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 6, Ch. 291, L. 2015, the inclusion of 50-1-115 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 28, Ch. 368, L. 2015, the inclusion of 53-6-1304 terminates June 30, 2019; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 383, L. 2015, the inclusion of 85-25-102 is effective on occurrence of contingency; pursuant to sec. 5, Ch. 422, L. 2015, the inclusion of 17-7-215 terminates June 30, 2021; pursuant to sec. 6, Ch. 423, L. 2015, the inclusion of 22-3-116 and 22-3-117 terminates June 30, 2025; pursuant to sec. 10, Ch. 427, L. 2015, the inclusion of 37-50-209 terminates September 30, 2019; and pursuant to sec. 33, Ch. 457, L. 2015, the inclusion of 20-9-905 terminates December 31, 2023.)"

 

     Section 295.  Section 19-3-204, MCA, is amended to read:

     "19-3-204.  Tax levy Funding to meet employer's obligations. (1) If the required contributions to the retirement system exceed the funds available to a contracting employer from general revenue sources, the contracting employer may budget, levy, and collect annually a special tax upon the assessable property of the contracting employer in the number of cents per $100 of assessable property as is sufficient to raise the amount estimated by the legislative body to be required to provide sufficient revenue to meet the obligation of the contracting employer to the retirement system. The rate of taxation may be in addition to the annual rate of taxation allowed by law to be levied by the contracting employer and request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  A person who is a member or designated beneficiary of the retirement system because of the participation of the contracting employer may maintain the appropriate action or proceeding to require the contracting employer to budget, levy, and collect the special tax and request funding authorized in subsection (1)."

 

     Section 296.  Section 19-7-404, MCA, is amended to read:

     "19-7-404.  Employer contributions. (1) Each employer shall pay 9.535% of the compensation paid to all of the employer's employees plus any additional contribution under subsection (3), except for those employees properly excluded from membership.

     (2)  If the required contribution to the retirement system exceeds the funds available to a county from general revenue sources, a county may, subject to 15-10-420, budget, levy, and collect annually a tax on the taxable value of all taxable property within the county request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] that is sufficient to raise the amount of revenue needed to meet the county's obligation.

     (3)  Subject to subsection (4), each employer shall contribute to the system an additional employer contribution equal to 0.58% of the compensation paid to all of the employer's employees, except for those employees properly excluded from membership.

     (4)  (a) The board shall periodically review the additional employer contribution provided for under subsection (3) and recommend adjustments to the legislature as needed to maintain the amortization schedule set by the board for payment of the system's unfunded liabilities.

     (b)  The employer contribution required under subsection (3) terminates on July 1 following the board's receipt of the system's actuarial valuation if:

     (i)  the actuarial valuation determines that the period required to amortize the system's unfunded liabilities, including adjustments made for any benefit enhancements enacted by the legislature after the valuation, is less than 25 years; and

     (ii) terminating the additional employer contribution would not cause the amortization period as of the most recent actuarial valuation to exceed 25 years."

 

     Section 297.  Section 19-18-501, MCA, is amended to read:

     "19-18-501.  Contributions to fund. The disability and pension fund consists of:

     (1)  all bequests, fees, gifts, emoluments, donations, or money from other sources given or paid to the fund, except as otherwise designated by the donor;

     (2)  a monthly contribution to the fund by each paid or part-paid member of the association amounting to 6% of the member's regular monthly salary;

     (3)  the proceeds of the tax levy provided for in 19-18-504;

     (4)(3)  all money received from the state, including those payments provided for in 19-18-512; and

     (5)(4)  all interest and other income earned from the investment of the fund."

 

     Section 298.  Section 19-18-504, MCA, is amended to read:

     "19-18-504.  Special tax levy for fund required Required funding. (1) Whenever the fund contains an amount that is less than the minimum amount required to keep the fund soundly funded pursuant to 19-18-503, the city or town council shall, subject to 15-10-420, levy an annual tax on the taxable value of all taxable property within the city or town utilize sales and use tax revenue allocated under [section 1] and revenue received based on a supplemental funding request to the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11].

     (2)  When the fund contains an amount that is less than 0.52% but more than 0.21% of the total assessed value of all taxable property within the city or town, the city or town council may, if authorized by the voters as provided in 15-10-425, levy an annual tax.

     (3)(2)  All revenue from the tax received must be deposited in the fund."

 

     Section 299.  Section 19-19-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "19-19-301.  City's contribution to fund. Each city, other than one of the first or second class, that has a police retirement fund and that did not elect to join the statewide police reserve fund provided for in Chapter 335, Laws of 1974, and has not elected to participate in the plan under 19-9-207 shall deposit in its fund monthly an amount equal to 11% of the total salaries for the preceding month paid to active police officers of the city, exclusive of overtime and payments in lieu of sick leave and annual leave. If the demand against a city for deposits in its fund cannot be met, the city, subject to 15-10-420, may impose an additional levy request funding from the critical needs assessment commission as provided in [section 11] in an amount that is sufficient to meet the demand."

 

     Section 300.  Section 20-1-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "20-1-101.  Definitions. As used in this title, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Accreditation standards" means the body of administrative rules governing standards such as:

     (a)  school leadership;

     (b)  educational opportunity;

     (c)  academic requirements;

     (d)  program area standards;

     (e)  content and performance standards;

     (f)  school facilities and records;

     (g)  student assessment; and

     (h)  general provisions.

     (2)  "Aggregate hours" means the hours of pupil instruction for which a school course or program is offered or for which a pupil is enrolled.

     (3)  "Agricultural experiment station" means the agricultural experiment station established at Montana state university-Bozeman.

     (4)  "At-risk student" means any student who is affected by environmental conditions that negatively impact the student's educational performance or threaten a student's likelihood of promotion or graduation.

     (5)  "Average number belonging" or "ANB" means the average number of regularly enrolled, full-time pupils physically attending or receiving educational services at an offsite instructional setting from the public schools of a district.

     (6)  "Board of public education" means the board created by Article X, section 9, subsection (3), of the Montana constitution and 2-15-1507.

     (7)  "Board of regents" means the board of regents of higher education created by Article X, section 9, subsection (2), of the Montana constitution and 2-15-1505.

     (8)  "Commissioner" means the commissioner of higher education created by Article X, section 9, subsection (2), of the Montana constitution and 2-15-1506.

     (9)  "County superintendent" means the county government official who is the school officer of the county.

     (10) "District superintendent" means a person who holds a valid class 3 Montana teacher certificate with a superintendent's endorsement that has been issued by the superintendent of public instruction under the provisions of this title and the policies adopted by the board of public education and who has been employed by a district as a district superintendent.

     (11) (a) "Educational program" means a set of educational offerings designed to meet the program area standards contained in the accreditation standards.

     (b)  The term does not include an educational program or programs used in 20-4-121 and 20-25-803.

     (12) "K-12 career and vocational/technical education" means organized educational activities that have been approved by the office of public instruction and that:

     (a)  offer a sequence of courses that provide a pupil with the academic and technical knowledge and skills that the pupil needs to prepare for further education and for careers in the current or emerging employment sectors; and

     (b)  include competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, and occupation-specific skills of the pupil.

     (13) (a) "Minimum aggregate hours" means the minimum hours of pupil instruction that must be conducted during the school fiscal year in accordance with 20-1-301 and includes passing time between classes.

     (b)  The term does not include lunch time and periods of unstructured recess.

     (14) "Offsite instructional setting" means an instructional setting at a location, separate from a main school site, where a school district provides for the delivery of instruction to a student who is enrolled in the district.

     (15) "Principal" means a person who holds a valid class 3 Montana teacher certificate with an applicable principal's endorsement that has been issued by the superintendent of public instruction under the provisions of this title and the policies adopted by the board of public education and who has been employed by a district as a principal. For the purposes of this title, any reference to a teacher must be construed as including a principal.

     (16) "Pupil" means a child who is 6 years of age or older on or before September 10 of the year in which the child is to enroll or has been enrolled by special permission of the board of trustees under 20-5-101(3) but who has not yet reached 19 years of age and who is enrolled in a school established and maintained under the laws of the state at public expense. For purposes of calculating the average number belonging pursuant to 20-9-311, the definition of pupil includes a person who has not yet reached 19 years of age by September 10 of the year and is enrolled under 20-5-101(3) in a school established and maintained under the laws of the state at public expense.