2017 Montana Legislature

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HOUSE BILL NO. 662

INTRODUCED BY T. JACOBSON

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING PROPERTY LAWS TO AUTHORIZE A PERSON TO CROSS PRIVATE LAND AT CERTAIN GEOGRAPHIC POINTS; PROVIDING THAT THE PROPOSED ACT BE SUBMITTED TO THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF MONTANA; AMENDING SECTIONS 45-6-201 AND 77-1-806, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE."

 

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

 

     Section 1.  Section 45-6-201, MCA, is amended to read:

     "45-6-201.  Definition of enter or remain unlawfully. (1) A person enters or remains unlawfully in or upon any vehicle, occupied structure, or premises when the person is not licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to do so. Privilege Except as provided in subsection (6), privilege to enter or remain upon land is may only be extended either by the explicit permission of the landowner or other authorized person or by the failure of the landowner or other authorized person to post notice denying entry onto private land. The privilege may be revoked at any time by personal communication of notice by the landowner or other authorized person to the entering person.

     (2)  To provide for effective posting of private land through which the public has no right-of-way, the notice provided for in subsection (1) must satisfy the following requirements:

     (a)  notice must be placed on a post, structure, or natural object by marking it with written notice or with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fenceposts are used, the entire post must be painted; and

     (b)  the notice described in subsection (2)(a) must be placed at each outer gate and normal point of access to the property, including both sides of a water body crossing the property wherever the water body intersects an outer boundary line.

     (3)  To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall:

     (a)  place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or

     (b)  place notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land.

     (4)  If property has been posted in substantial compliance with subsection (2) or (3), it is considered closed to public access unless explicit permission to enter is given by the landowner or the landowner's authorized agent.

     (5)  The department of fish, wildlife, and parks shall attempt to educate and inform all persons holding hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses or permits by including on any publication concerning the licenses or permits, in condensed form, the provisions of this section concerning entry on private land. The department shall use public media, as well as its own publications, in attempting to educate and inform other recreational users of the provisions of this section. In the interests of providing the public with clear information regarding the public nature of certain unfenced rural rights-of-way, the department may develop and distribute posting signs that satisfy the requirements of subsection (3).

     (6) (a) When crossing from one property in which a person is lawfully authorized to remain to another property in which the person is lawfully authorized to remain pursuant to subsection (1), a person is permitted to cross private land at the geographic point that represents the corner of one or more parcels of private land as long as the person does not:

     (i) cause physical harm to a landowner's real or personal property;

     (ii) unreasonably interfere with the quiet enjoyment or use of the landowner's property;

     (iii) interfere with commercial operations on the landowner's property; or

     (iv) use any other means of transportation other than walking unless expressly provided by the adjoining landowners.

     (b) This subsection (6) does not create a right of prescriptive easement across private land.

     (6)(7) For purposes of this section, "land" means land as defined in 70-15-102.

     (7)(8) Civil liability may not be imposed upon the owner or occupier of premises by reason of any privilege created by this section."

 

     Section 2.  Section 77-1-806, MCA, is amended to read:

     "77-1-806.  Prior notification to lessee of recreational use -- trespass -- penalty. (1) If a lessee of state lands under this part desires to be notified prior to anyone entering upon the leasehold, the lessee shall post, at customary access points, signs provided or authorized by the department. The signs must set forth the lessee's or the lessee's agent's name, address, telephone number, and method of notification. The lessee or the lessee's agent must be available to receive notice from recreational users or provide an alternative means for notice as prescribed by rule. When state land is posted, recreational users shall contact and identify themselves to the lessee or the lessee's agent for the purposes of minimizing impact upon the leasehold interest and learning the specific boundaries of adjacent unfenced private property.

     (2) (a) Each Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), each recreational user of state lands shall obtain permission of the lessee or the lessee's agent before entering the adjacent private property owned by the lessee. Entry to private property from adjacent state lands without permission of the landowner or the landowner's agent is an absolute liability offense. A violator of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $50 or more than $500 or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or both.

     (b) Pursuant to 45-6-201, a person is authorized to cross private land at the geographic point that represents the corner of one or more parcels of land owned by the lessee as long as the person does not:

     (i) cause physical harm to a landowner's real or personal property;

     (ii) unreasonably interfere with the quiet enjoyment or use of the landowner's property;

     (iii) interfere with commercial operations on the landowner's property;

     (iv) operate motorized or mechanized vehicles, bicycles, or game carts; or

     (v) ride stock or move strings across the landowner's personal property.

     (3)  A person may be found guilty of the offense described in subsection (2) regardless of the absence of fencing or failure to post a notice in accordance with 45-6-201.

     (4)  The use of a ford or crossing on a navigable river or stream by the adjacent landowner may not be considered a trespass for the purposes of this section."

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective upon approval by the electorate.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 4.  Submission to electorate. [This act] shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana at the general election to be held in November 2018 by printing on the ballot the full title of [this act] and the following:

     [ ]     YES on Legislative Referendum _____.

     [ ]     NO on Legislative Referendum _____.

- END -

 


Latest Version of HB 662 (HB0662.01)
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