2017 Montana Legislature

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SENATE BILL NO. 21

INTRODUCED BY E. BUTTREY

BY REQUEST OF THE CODE COMMISSIONER

 

AN ACT REVISING AND CLARIFYING THE MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED; DIRECTING THE CODE COMMISSIONER TO CORRECT ERRONEOUS REFERENCES CONTAINED IN MATERIAL ENACTED BY THE 65TH LEGISLATURE AND PREVIOUS LEGISLATURES; AMENDING SECTIONS 1-5-603, 1-5-610, 1-5-622, 7-6-2527, 15-6-301, 15-6-302, 15-6-311, 15-7-102, 15-70-412, 20-7-102, 20-7-1404, 20-9-306, 32-9-169, 33-2-1112, 45-8-340, 46-23-509, 61-3-332, 61-8-607, 69-8-402, 69-8-412, 77-1-125, 80-7-1007, AND 85-7-1411, MCA.

 

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

 

     Section 1.  Section 1-5-603, MCA, is amended to read:

     "1-5-603.  Requirements for certain notarial acts -- personal appearance -- identification methods. (1) A notarial officer who takes an acknowledgment of a record shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual, that the individual appearing before the notarial officer and making the acknowledgment has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual.

     (2)  A notarial officer who takes a verification on oath or affirmation of a statement shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual, that the individual appearing before the notarial officer and making the verification has the identity claimed and that the signature on the statement verified is the signature of the individual.

     (3)  A notarial officer who witnesses or attests to a signature shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the individual, that the individual appearing before the notarial officer and signing the record has the identity claimed.

     (4)  A notarial officer who certifies or attests a copy of a record or an item that was copied shall determine that the copy is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the record or the item.

     (5)  A notarial officer who makes or notes a protest of a negotiable instrument shall determine the matters set forth in 30-3-510(1)(b) 30-3-510(2).

     (6)  A notarial officer who administers an oath in conjunction with taking a deposition and certifies or attests to the transcript of the deposition shall certify to the matters set forth by this part, other laws, or the court of jurisdiction.

     (7)  (a) If a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the individual making the statement or executing the signature shall appear physically before the notarial officer or by real-time, two-way video and audio communication technology as authorized in 1-5-615 and 1-5-628.

     (b)  Except as provided in subsection (7)(c), subsection (7)(a) modifies, limits, and supersedes the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 15 U.S.C. 7001, et seq.

     (c)  Subsection (7)(a) does not modify, limit, or supersede 15 U.S.C. 7001(c) or authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in 15 U.S.C. 7003(b).

     (8)  A notarial officer has personal knowledge of the identity of an individual appearing before the notarial officer if the individual is personally known to the notarial officer through dealings sufficient to provide reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.

     (9)  A notarial officer has satisfactory evidence of the identity of an individual appearing before the notarial officer if the notarial officer can identify the individual:

     (a)  by means of:

     (i)  a passport, driver's license, or government-issued nondriver identification card, which may be current or expired, and if expired may not be expired for more than 3 years before the performance of the notarial act; or

     (ii) another form of government identification issued to an individual, which:

     (A)  may be current or expired, and if expired may not be expired for more than 3 years before the performance of the notarial act;

     (B)  must contain the signature or a photograph of the individual; and

     (C)  must be satisfactory to the notarial officer; or

     (b)  by verification on oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally appearing before the notarial officer and known to the notarial officer or

     whom the notarial officer can identify on the basis of a passport, driver's license, or government-issued nondriver identification card, which is current or expired, and if expired may not be expired for more than 3 years before the performance of the notarial act.

     (10) A notarial officer may require an individual to provide additional information or identification credentials necessary to assure the notarial officer of the identity of the individual."

 

     Section 2.  Section 1-5-610, MCA, is amended to read:

     "1-5-610.  Short forms. The following short-form certificates of notarial acts are sufficient for the purposes indicated if they are completed with the information required by 1-5-609(1) and (2):

     (1)  For an acknowledgment in an individual capacity:

State of........................

County of........................

     This record was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name(s) of individual(s)) ..............................................

....................................................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official Stamp)

................................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)

     (2)  For an acknowledgment in a representative capacity:

State of........................

County of......................

     This record was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name(s) of individual(s)) as (type of authority) of or for (name of party on behalf of whom the record was executed). ..............................................

...............................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official stamp)

...............................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)

     (3)  For a verification on oath or affirmation:

State of........................

County of......................

     This record was signed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on (date) by (name(s) of individual(s)) ........................

.......................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official stamp)

........................

(Name - typed, stamped, or printed)

...........................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)

     (4)  For witnessing or attesting a signature:

State of........................

County of........................

     The record was signed before me on (date) by (name(s) of individual(s)) ........................

.............................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official stamp)

.....................................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)

     (5)  For certifying a copy of a record:

State of........................

County of........................

     I certify that this is a true and correct copy of (identification of record) in the possession of, or issued by, (custodian or issuer) and made by me on (date)

.......................................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official stamp)

..................................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)

     (6)  For certifying a transcript or of a deposition or affidavit:

State of........................

County of........................

I hereby certify and state the following:

     that I have sworn in the deponent;

     that the deposition was taken before me and this is a true and accurate transcription of the testimony;

     that I am not a relative, agent, or employee of the deponent or the attorney or counsel of any of the parties;

     that I am not an interested party to the matter.

A review of this transcript (was / was not) requested.

Dated this ........................ day of ........................, 20...

.......................................

(Signature of notarial officer)

(Official stamp)

.......................................

Title of officer (if not shown in stamp)."

 

     Section 3.  Section 1-5-622, MCA, is amended to read:

     "1-5-622.  Authority to refuse to perform notarial act. (1) A notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act if the notarial officer is not satisfied that:

     (a)  the individual executing the record is competent or has the capacity to execute the record; or

     (b)  the individual executing the record is [not] signing knowingly or voluntarily.

     (2)  A notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act unless refusal is prohibited by a law other than as provided in this part."

 

     Section 4.  Section 7-6-2527, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-6-2527.  Taxation -- public and governmental purposes. A county may impose a property tax levy 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, 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 5.  Section 15-6-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-301.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Annual verification" means the use of a process to:

     (a)  verify an applicant's income;

     (b)  approve, renew, or deny benefits for the current year based upon the applicant's eligibility; and

     (c)  terminate participation based upon death or loss of status as a qualified veteran or veteran's spouse.

     (2)  "PCE" means the implicit price deflator for personal consumption expenditures as published quarterly in the survey of current business by the bureau of economic analysis of the U.S. department of commerce.

     (3)  "PCE inflation factor" for a tax year means the PCE for April of the prior tax year before the tax year divided by the PCE for April 2015.

     (4)  (a) "Primary residence" is, subject to the provisions of subsection (4)(b), a dwelling:

     (i)  in which a taxpayer can demonstrate the taxpayer lived for at least 7 months of the year for which benefits are claimed;

     (ii) that is the only residence for which property tax assistance is claimed; and

     (iii) determined using the indicators provided for in the rules authorized by 15-6-302(2).

     (b)  A primary residence may include more than one dwelling when the taxpayer resides in one dwelling for less than 7 months during the tax year and another dwelling for less than 7 months of the same tax year, but lives in the dwellings for more than 7 months of the tax year.

     (5)  "Qualified veteran" means a veteran:

     (a)  who was killed while on active duty or died as a result of a service-connected disability; or

     (b)  if living:

     (i)  was honorably discharged from active service in any branch of the armed services; and

     (ii) is currently rated 100% disabled or is paid at the 100% disabled rate by the U.S. department of veterans affairs for a service-connected disability, as verified by official documentation from the U.S. department of veterans affairs.

     (6)  "Qualifying income" means:

     (a)  the federal adjusted gross income excluding capital and income losses of an applicant and the applicant's spouse as calculated on the Montana income tax return for the prior year;

     (b)  for assistance under 15-6-305 [15-6-311], the federal adjusted gross income excluding capital and income losses of an applicant as calculated on the Montana income tax return for the prior tax year; or

     (c)  for an applicant who is not required to file a Montana income tax return, the income determined using available income information.

     (7)  "Residential real property" means the land and improvements of a taxpayer's primary residence."

 

     Section 6.  Section 15-6-302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-302.  Property tax assistance -- rulemaking. (1) The requirements of this section must be met for a taxpayer to qualify for property tax assistance under 15-6-305 or 15-6-311.

     (2)  For the property tax assistance programs provided for in 15-6-305 and 15-6-311, the residential real property must be owned by the applicant or under contract for deed and be the primary residence as defined in 15-6-301. The department shall make rules specifying the indicators used for determining whether a residence is a primary residence for purposes of property tax assistance programs.

     (3)  An applicant's qualifying income, as defined in 15-6-301, may not exceed the threshold established in 15-6-305 or 15-6-311 or in rules established pursuant to those sections.

     (4)  (a) A claim for assistance must be submitted on a form prescribed by the department.

     (b)  The form must contain:

     (i)  the qualifying income of the applicant and the applicant's spouse;

     (ii) an affirmation that the applicant owns and maintains the land and improvements as the primary residence as defined in 15-6-301;

     (iii) the social security number of the applicant and of the applicant's spouse; and

     (iv) any other information required by the department that is relevant to the applicant's eligibility.

     (5)  (a) An application must be filed by April 15 of the year for which assistance is first claimed.

     (b)  Once assistance is approved, the applicant remains eligible for property tax assistance in subsequent years through the annual verification process defined in 15-6-301 without the need to reapply.

     (c)  Applicants and participants in the property tax assistance program provided for in [former] 15-6-134(1)(c) and the disabled or deceased veterans program provided for in [former] 15-6-211 as those sections existed on December 31, 2014, must be included in the annual verification process and are not required to submit a new application.

     (d)  A taxpayer shall inform the department of any change in eligibility occurring from one year to the next.

     (6)  The department may verify an applicant's and an applicant's spouse's social security number and benefits with the social security administration and the U.S. department of veterans affairs.

     (7)  The department must annually verify an applicant's eligibility, including the applicant's and spouse's income, and approve, renew, or deny benefits for the current year based upon the findings.

     (8)  (a) When providing information for property tax assistance under 15-6-305 or 15-6-311, applicants are subject to the false swearing penalties established in 45-7-202.

     (b)  The department may investigate the information provided in an application and an applicant's continued eligibility.

     (c)  The department may request applicant verification of the primary residence.

     (9)  The department may address unusual circumstances of ownership and income that arise in administering taxpayer assistance programs provided for in 15-6-305 and 15-6-311.

     (10) A temporary stay in a nursing home or similar facility does not change a taxpayer's primary residence for the purposes of taxpayer assistance programs provided for in 15-6-305 and 15-6-311.

     (11) The department shall award property assistance under the property tax assistance program that provides the greatest benefit to the taxpayer by reviewing applications and eligibility requirements, and notify the applicant of the department's decision."

 

     Section 7.  Section 15-6-311, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-311.  Disabled veteran program. (1) The residential real property of a qualified veteran or a qualified veteran's spouse is eligible to receive a tax rate reduction as provided in 15-6-305 [15-6-302] and this section.

     (2)  Property qualifying under subsection (1) and owned by a qualified veteran is taxed at the rate provided in 15-6-134 multiplied by a percentage figure based on the applicant's qualifying income determined from the following table:

 Income

 Income

 Percentage

 Single Person

 Married Couple

 Multiplier

 

 Head of Household

 

 $0 - $37,404

 $0 - $44,885

 0%

 $37,405 - $41,145

 $44,886 - $48,626

 20%

 $41,146 - $44,885

 $48,627 - $52,366

 30%

 $44,886 - $48,626

 $52,367 - $56,107

 50%

     (3)  For a surviving spouse who owns property qualifying under subsection (4), the property is taxed at the rate established by 15-6-134 multiplied by a percentage figure based on the spouse's qualifying income determined from the following table:

 Income

 Percentage

 Surviving Spouse

 Multiplier

 $0 - $31,170

 0%

 $31,171 - $34,911

 20%

 $34,912 - $38,651

 30%

 $38,652 - $42,392

 50%

     (4)  The property tax exemption under this section remains in effect as long as the qualifying income requirements are met and the property is the primary residence owned and occupied by the veteran or, if the veteran is deceased, by the veteran's spouse and the spouse:

     (a)  is the owner and occupant of the house;

     (b)  is unmarried; and

     (c)  has obtained from the U.S. department of veterans affairs a letter indicating that the veteran was rated 100% disabled or was paid at the 100% disabled rate by the U.S. department of veterans affairs for a service-connected disability at the time of death or that the veteran died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability.

     (5)  The qualifying income levels contained in subsections (2) and (3) must be adjusted annually by using the PCE inflation factor defined in 15-6-301, rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount."

 

     Section 8.  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) the total amount of mills levied against the property in the prior year; and

     (iii) 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 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)  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)  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 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 9.  Section 15-70-412, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-70-412.  Invoice of distributors and aviation fuel dealers. Each distributor and aviation fuel dealer in this state shall at the time of delivery, except when authorized by the department of transportation, issue to the purchaser an invoice that states the number of gallons of gasoline or special fuel covered by the invoice and any other information the department may require."

 

     Section 10.  Section 20-7-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "20-7-102.  Accreditation of schools. (1) The conditions under which each elementary school, each middle school, each junior high school, 7th and 8th grades funded at high school rates, and each high school operates must be reviewed by the superintendent of public instruction to determine compliance with the standards of accreditation. The accreditation status of each school must then be established by the board of public education upon the recommendation of the superintendent of public instruction. Notification of the accreditation status for the applicable school year or years must be given to each district by the superintendent of public instruction.

     (2)  A school may be accredited for a period consisting of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 school years, except that multiyear accreditation may be granted only to schools that are in compliance with 20-4-101.

     (3)  A nonpublic school may, through its governing body, request that the board of public education accredit the school. Nonpublic schools may be accredited in the same manner as provided in subsection (1).

     (4)  As used in this section, "7th and 8th grades funded at high school rates" means an elementary school district or K-12 district elementary program whose 7th and 8th grades are funded as provided in 20-9-306(15)(c)(ii) 20-9-306(16)(c)(ii)."

 

     Section 11.  Section 20-7-1404, MCA, is amended to read:

     "20-7-1404.  (Temporary) Indian language immersion programs -- funding -- flexibility. (1) School districts are encouraged to create Indian language immersion programs and in doing so:

     (a)  collaborate with other school districts, the Montana digital academy, tribal governments, and tribal colleges;

     (b)  utilize materials produced in the Montana Indian language preservation pilot program pursuant to section 1, Chapter 410, Laws of 2013;

     (c)  utilize American Indian language and culture specialists as teachers of language and culture; and

     (d)  look to existing native language schools in Montana and around the world for guidance and best practices.

     (2)  In acknowledgment of Article X, section 1, of the Montana constitution, the educationally relevant factors for the school funding formula under 20-9-309(3), and the increased costs associated with language immersion programs, a district creating an Indian language immersion program is entitled to the following in addition to the school funding formula in Title 20, chapter 9:

     (a)  (i) subject to subsections (3) and (4), for every Indian student participating in an Indian language immersion program, an additional American Indian achievement gap payment, as calculated in 20-9-306, multiplied by 2; and

     (ii) for every non-Indian student participating in an Indian language immersion program, an additional Indian education for all payment, as calculated in 20-9-306, multiplied by 2; and

     (b)  for every full-time American Indian language and culture specialist teaching in an Indian language immersion program, a quality educator payment as calculated in 20-9-306.

     (3)  For a district operating an Indian language immersion program that improves the district's graduation rate for American Indians by 5 percentage points or more from the previous year as measured by the office of public instruction, the multiplier in subsection (2)(a)(i) must be increased to 3.

     (4)  If the money appropriated for Indian [language] immersion programs is insufficient to provide the amounts in subsections (2) and (3), the office of public instruction shall prorate the payments accordingly.

     (5)  The board of public education is encouraged to approve proposed variances to standards of accreditation for Indian language immersion programs when the board finds the proposal to be educationally sound and in alignment with the purpose described in 20-7-1402(2).

     (6)  The cultural and intellectual property rights from materials developed for an Indian language immersion program belong to the tribe to which the materials relate. Use of the cultural and intellectual property outside of the Indian language immersion program may be negotiated with the tribe. (Terminates June 30, 2019--sec. 10, Ch. 442, L. 2015.)"

 

     Section 12.  Section 20-9-306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "20-9-306.  Definitions. As used in this title, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "BASE" means base amount for school equity.

     (2)  "BASE aid" means:

     (a)  direct state aid for 44.7% of the basic entitlement and 44.7% of the total per-ANB entitlement for the general fund budget of a district;

     (b)  the natural resource development K-12 funding payment for a variable percentage of the basic and per-ANB entitlements above the direct state aid for the general fund budget of a district, as referenced in subsection (10);

     (c)  guaranteed tax base aid for an eligible district for any amount up to 35.3% of the basic entitlement, up to 35.3% of the total per-ANB entitlement budgeted in the general fund budget of a district, and 40% of the special education allowable cost payment;

     (d)  the total quality educator payment;

     (e)  the total at-risk student payment;

     (f)  the total Indian education for all payment;

     (g)  the total American Indian achievement gap payment; and

     (h)  the total data-for-achievement payment.

     (3)  "BASE budget" means the minimum general fund budget of a district, which includes 80% of the basic entitlement, 80% of the total per-ANB entitlement, 100% of the total quality educator payment, 100% of the total at-risk student payment, 100% of the total Indian education for all payment, 100% of the total American Indian achievement gap payment, 100% of the total data-for-achievement payment, and 140% of the special education allowable cost payment.

     (4)  "BASE budget levy" means the district levy in support of the BASE budget of a district, which may be supplemented by guaranteed tax base aid if the district is eligible under the provisions of 20-9-366 through 20-9-369.

     (5)  "BASE funding program" means the state program for the equitable distribution of the state's share of the cost of Montana's basic system of public elementary schools and high schools, through county equalization aid as provided in 20-9-331 and 20-9-333 and state equalization aid as provided in 20-9-343, in support of the BASE budgets of districts and special education allowable cost payments as provided in 20-9-321.

     (6)  "Basic entitlement" means:

     (a)  for each high school district:

     (i)  $300,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $305,370 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts with an ANB of 800 or fewer; and

     (ii) $300,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $305,370 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts with an ANB of more than 800, plus $15,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $15,269 for each succeeding fiscal year for each additional 80 ANB over 800;

     (b)  for each elementary school district or K-12 district elementary program without an approved and accredited junior high school, 7th and 8th grade program, or middle school:

     (i)  $50,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $50,895 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with an ANB of 250 or fewer; and

     (ii) $50,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $50,895 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with an ANB of more than 250, plus $2,500 for fiscal year 2016 and $2,545 for each succeeding fiscal year for each additional 25 ANB over 250;

     (c)  for each elementary school district or K-12 district elementary program with an approved and accredited junior high school, 7th and 8th grade program, or middle school:

     (i)  for the district's kindergarten through grade 6 elementary program:

     (A)  $50,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $50,895 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with an ANB of 250 or fewer; and

     (B)  $50,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $50,895 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with an ANB of more than 250, plus $2,500 for fiscal year 2016 and $2,545 for each succeeding fiscal year for each additional 25 ANB over 250; and

     (ii) for the district's approved and accredited junior high school, 7th and 8th grade programs, or middle school:

     (A)  $100,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $101,790 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with combined grades 7 and 8 with an ANB of 450 or fewer; and

     (B)  $100,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $101,790 for each succeeding fiscal year for school districts or K-12 district elementary programs with combined grades 7 and 8 with an ANB of more than 450, plus $5,000 for fiscal year 2016 and $5,090 for each succeeding fiscal year for each additional 45 ANB over 450.

     (7)  "Budget unit" means the unit for which the ANB of a district is calculated separately pursuant to 20-9-311.

     (8)  "Direct state aid" means 44.7% of the basic entitlement and 44.7% of the total per-ANB entitlement for the general fund budget of a district and funded with state and county equalization aid.

     (9)  "Maximum general fund budget" means a district's general fund budget amount calculated from the basic entitlement for the district, the total per-ANB entitlement for the district, the total quality educator payment, the total at-risk student payment, the total Indian education for all payment, the total American Indian achievement gap payment, the total data-for-achievement payment, and the greater of the district's special education allowable cost payment multiplied by:

     (a)  175%; or

     (b)  the ratio, expressed as a percentage, of the district's special education allowable cost expenditures to the district's special education allowable cost payment for the fiscal year that is 2 years previous, with a maximum allowable ratio of 200%.

     (10) "Natural resource development K-12 funding payment" means the payment of a variable percentage of the basic and per-ANB entitlements above the direct state aid for the general fund budget of a district. The total payment to school districts may not exceed the greater of 50% of the fiscal year 2012 oil and natural gas production taxes deposited into the general fund pursuant to 15-36-331(4) or 50% of the oil and natural gas production taxes deposited into the general fund pursuant to 15-36-331(4) for the fiscal year occurring 2 fiscal years prior to the school fiscal year in which the payment is provided, plus any excess interest and income revenue appropriated by the legislature pursuant to 20-9-622(2)(a). The amount of the natural resource development K-12 funding payment must be, subject to the limitations of this subsection (10), an amount sufficient to offset any estimated increase in statewide revenue from the general fund BASE budget levy provided for in 20-9-141 that is anticipated to result from increases in the basic or per-ANB entitlements plus any excess interest and income revenue appropriated by the legislature pursuant to 20-9-622(2)(a). The superintendent of public instruction shall incorporate a natural resource development K-12 funding payment calculated in compliance with this subsection (10) in preparing and submitting an agency budget pursuant to 17-7-111 and 17-7-112.

     (11) "Over-BASE budget levy" means the district levy in support of any general fund amount budgeted that is above the BASE budget and below the maximum general fund budget for a district.

     (12) "Total American Indian achievement gap payment" means the payment resulting from multiplying $205 in fiscal year 2016 and $209 for each succeeding fiscal year times the number of American Indian students enrolled in the district as provided in 20-9-330.

     (13) "Total at-risk student payment" means the payment resulting from the distribution of any funds appropriated for the purposes of 20-9-328.

     (14) "Total data-for-achievement payment" means the payment provided in 20-9-325 resulting from multiplying $20 for fiscal year 2016 and $20.36 for each succeeding fiscal year by the district's ANB calculated in accordance with 20-9-311.

     (14)(15) "Total Indian education for all payment" means the payment resulting from multiplying $20.88 in fiscal year 2016 and $21.25 for each succeeding fiscal year times the ANB of the district or $100 for each district, whichever is greater, as provided for in 20-9-329.

     (15)(16) "Total per-ANB entitlement" means the district entitlement resulting from the following calculations and using either the current year ANB or the 3-year ANB provided for in 20-9-311:

     (a)  for a high school district or a K-12 district high school program, a maximum rate of $6,847 for fiscal year 2016 and $6,970 for each succeeding fiscal year for the first ANB, decreased at the rate of 50 cents per ANB for each additional ANB of the district up through 800 ANB, with each ANB in excess of 800 receiving the same amount of entitlement as the 800th ANB;

     (b)  for an elementary school district or a K-12 district elementary program without an approved and accredited junior high school, 7th and 8th grade program, or middle school, a maximum rate of $5,348 for fiscal year 2016 and $5,444 for each succeeding fiscal year for the first ANB, decreased at the rate of 20 cents per ANB for each additional ANB of the district up through 1,000 ANB, with each ANB in excess of 1,000 receiving the same amount of entitlement as the 1,000th ANB; and

     (c)  for an elementary school district or a K-12 district elementary program with an approved and accredited junior high school, 7th and 8th grade program, or middle school, the sum of:

     (i)  a maximum rate of $5,348 for fiscal year 2016 and $5,444 for each succeeding fiscal year for the first ANB for kindergarten through grade 6, decreased at the rate of 20 cents per ANB for each additional ANB up through 1,000 ANB, with each ANB in excess of 1,000 receiving the same amount of entitlement as the 1,000th ANB; and

     (ii) a maximum rate of $6,847 for fiscal year 2016 and $6,970 for each succeeding fiscal year for the first ANB for grades 7 and 8, decreased at the rate of 50 cents per ANB for each additional ANB for grades 7 and 8 up through 800 ANB, with each ANB in excess of 800 receiving the same amount of entitlement as the 800th ANB.

     (16) "Total data-for-achievement payment" means the payment provided in 20-9-325 resulting from multiplying $20 for fiscal year 2016 and $20.36 for each succeeding fiscal year by the district's ANB calculated in accordance with 20-9-311.

     (17) "Total quality educator payment" means the payment resulting from multiplying $3,113 in fiscal year 2016 and $3,169 for each succeeding fiscal year by the number of full-time equivalent educators as provided in 20-9-327."

 

     Section 13.  Section 32-9-169, MCA, is amended to read:

     "32-9-169.  Mortgage servicer prohibitions. A mortgage servicer may not:

     (1)  fail to comply with the mortgage loan servicing transfer, escrow account administration, or borrower inquiry response requirements imposed by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, 12 U.S.C. 2601, et seq., and regulations adopted under that act;

     (2)  fail to comply with applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations related to mortgage servicing;

     (3)  fail to provide written notice to a borrower upon taking action to place hazard, homeowner's, or flood insurance on the mortgaged property or to place the insurance when the mortgage servicer knows or has reason to know that there is insurance in effect;

     (4)  place hazard, homeowner's, or flood insurance on a mortgaged property for an amount that exceeds either the value of the insurable improvements or the last-known coverage amount of insurance;

     (5)  fail to provide to the borrower a refund of unearned premiums paid by a borrower or charged to the borrower for hazard, homeowner's, or flood insurance placed by a mortgage lender or mortgage servicer if the borrower provides reasonable proof that the borrower has obtained coverage so that the forced placement is no longer necessary and the property is insured. If the borrower provides reasonable proof within 12 months of the placement that no lapse in coverage occurred so that the forced placement was not necessary, the mortgage servicer shall refund the entire premium.

     (6)  fail to make all payments from any escrow account held for the borrower for insurance, taxes, and other charges with respect to the property in a timely manner so as to ensure that late penalties are not assessed or other negative consequences do not result regardless of whether the loan is delinquent unless there are not sufficient funds in the account to cover the payments and the mortgage servicer has a reasonable basis to believe that recovery of the funds will not be possible."

 

     Section 14.  Section 33-2-1112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "33-2-1112.  Exemptions -- disclaimer -- violations. (1) The provisions of 33-2-1111 and this section do not apply to any insurer, information, or transaction to the extent that the commissioner by rule or order has exempted that insurer, information, or transaction from the provisions of 33-2-1111 and this section.

     (2)  (a) Any person may file with the commissioner a disclaimer of affiliation with any authorized insurer, or a disclaimer may be filed by an insurer or any member of an insurance holding company system. The disclaimer must fully disclose all material relationships and bases for affiliation between the person and the insurer that is the object of the disclaimer as well as the basis for disclaiming the affiliation.

     (b)  The commissioner shall approve or deny a disclaimer within 30 days of filing. If the commissioner denies a disclaimer under this section, the disclaiming party may request a hearing, which must be granted. The disclaiming party is not required to register under this section if the commissioner approves the disclaimer.

     (3)  The failure to file a registration statement, any summary of the registration statement, an enterprise risk report, or any amendment to the registration statement or enterprise risk request [report], as required by 33-2-1111 and this section, within the time specified for filing is a violation of 33-2-1111 and this section."

 

     Section 15.  Section 45-8-340, MCA, is amended to read:

     "45-8-340.  Sawed-off firearm -- penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of possession of a sawed-off firearm if the person knowingly possesses a rifle or shotgun that when originally manufactured had a barrel length of:

     (a)  16 inches or more and an overall length of 26 inches or more in the case of a rifle; or

     (b)  18 inches or more and an overall length of 26 inches or more in the case of a shotgun; and

     (c)  the firearm has been modified in a manner so that the barrel length, overall length, or both, are less than specified in subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b).

     (2)  The barrel length is the distance from the muzzle to the rear-most point of the chamber.

     (3)  This section does not apply to firearms possessed:

     (a)  by a peace officer of this state or one of its political subdivisions;

     (b)  by an officer of the United States government authorized to carry weapons;

     (c)  by a person in actual service as a member of the national guard;

     (d)  by a person called to the aid of one of the persons named in subsections (3)(a) through (3)(c);

     (e)  for educational or scientific purposes in which the firearms are incapable of being fired;

     (f)  by a person who has a valid federal tax stamp for the firearm, issued by the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms and explosives; or

     (g)  by a bona fide collector of firearms if the firearm is a muzzleloading, sawed-off firearm manufactured before 1900.

     (4)  A person convicted of the offense of possession of a sawed-off firearm shall be fined not less than $200 or more than $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 5 days or more than 6 months, or both, upon a first conviction. If a person has one or more prior convictions under this section or one or more prior felony convictions under a law of this state, another state, or the United States, the person shall be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000 or be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 5 years, or both."

 

     Section 16.  Section 46-23-509, MCA, is amended to read:

     "46-23-509.  Psychosexual evaluations and sexual offender designations -- rulemaking authority. (1) The department shall adopt rules for the qualification of sexual offender evaluators who conduct psychosexual evaluations of sexual offenders and sexually violent predators and for determinations by sexual offender evaluators of the risk of a repeat offense and the threat that an offender poses to the public safety.

     (2)  Prior to sentencing of a person convicted of a sexual offense, the department or a sexual offender evaluator shall provide the court with a psychosexual evaluation report recommending one of the following levels of designation for the offender:

     (a)  level 1, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is low;

     (b)  level 2, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is moderate;

     (c)  level 3, the risk of a repeat sexual offense is high, there is a threat to public safety, and the sexual offender evaluator believes that the offender is a sexually violent predator.

     (3)  Upon sentencing the offender, the court shall:

     (a)  review the psychosexual evaluation report, any statement by a victim, and any statement by the offender;

     (b)  designate the offender as level 1, 2, or 3; and

     (c)  designate a level 3 offender as a sexually violent predator.

     (4)  An offender designated as a level 2 offender or given a level designation by another state, the federal government, or the department under subsection (6) that is determined by the court to be similar to level 2 may petition the sentencing court or the district court for the judicial district in which the offender resides to change the offender's designation if the offender has enrolled in and successfully completed the treatment phase of either the prison's sexual offender treatment program or of an equivalent program approved by the department. After considering the petition, the court may change the offender's risk level designation if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offender's risk of committing a repeat sexual offense has changed since the time sentence was imposed. The court shall impose one of the three risk levels specified in this section.

     (5)  If, at the time of sentencing, the sentencing judge did not apply a level designation to a sexual offender who is required to register under this part and who was sentenced prior to October 1, 1997, the department shall designate the offender as level 1, 2, or 3 when the offender is released from confinement.

     (6)  If an offense is covered by 46-23-502(9)(b), the offender registers under 46-23-504(1)(c), and the offender was given a risk level designation after conviction by another state or the federal government, the department of justice may give the offender the risk level designation assigned by the other state or the federal government. All offenders convicted in another state or by the federal government who are not currently under the supervision of the department or the youth court and were not given a risk level designation after conviction shall provide to the department of justice all prior risk assessments and psychosexual evaluations done to evaluate the offender's risk to reoffend. Any offender without a risk assessment or psychosexual evaluation shall, at the offender's expense, undergo a psychosexual evaluation with a sexual offender evaluator who is a member of the Montana sex offender treatment association or has comparable credentials acceptable to the department of labor and industry. The results of the sex offender psychosexual evaluation may be requested by the attorney general or a county attorney for purposes of petitioning a district court to assign a risk level designation.

     (7)  The lack of a fixed residence is a factor that may be considered by the sentencing court or by the department in determining the risk level to be assigned to an offender pursuant to this section.

     (8)  Upon obtaining information that indicates that a sexual offender who is required to register under this part does not have a level 1, 2, or 3 designation, the attorney general, the county attorney that prosecuted the offender and obtained a conviction for a sexual offense, or the county attorney for the county in which the offender resides may, at any time, petition the district court that sentenced the offender for a sexual offense or the district court for the judicial district in which the offender resides to designate the offender as level 1, 2, or 3. Upon the filing of the petition, the court may order a psychosexual evaluation report at the petitioner's expense. The court shall provide the offender with an opportunity for a hearing prior to designating the offender. The petitioner shall provide the offender with notice of the petition and notice of the hearing."

 

     Section 17.  Section 61-3-332, MCA, is amended to read:

     "61-3-332.  Standard license plates. (1) In addition to special license plates, collegiate license plates, generic specialty license plates, and fleet license plates authorized under this chapter, a separate series of standard license plates must be issued for motor vehicles, quadricycles, travel trailers, trailers, semitrailers, and pole trailers registered in this state or offered for sale by a vehicle dealer licensed in this state. Standard license plates issued to licensed vehicle dealers must be readily distinguishable from license plates issued to vehicles owned by other persons.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in 61-3-479 and subsections (2)(b), (3)(b), and (3)(c) of this section, all standard license plates for motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers must bear a distinctive marking, as determined by the department, and be furnished by the department. In years when standard license plates are not reissued for a vehicle, the department shall provide a registration decal that must be affixed to the rear license plate of the vehicle.

     (b)  For light vehicles that are permanently registered as provided in 61-3-562 and motor vehicles described in 61-3-303(9) that are permanently registered, the department shall provide a distinctive registration decal indicating that the motor vehicle is permanently registered. The registration decal must be affixed to the rear license plate of the permanently registered motor vehicle.

     (c)  For a travel trailer, motorcycle, quadricycle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer that is permanently registered as provided in 61-3-313(2), the department may use the word or an abbreviation for the word "permanent" on the plate in lieu of issuing a registration decal for the plate.

     (3)  (a) (i) New license plates issued under 61-3-303 or this section must be a standard license plate design first issued in 1989 or later or current collegiate or generic specialty license plate designs. For the purposes of this subsection (3), all military, veteran, and amateur radio license plates and any license plate with a wheelchair design, excluding collegiate or generic specialty plates with a wheelchair design, are treated as standard license plates.

     (ii) License plates issued on or after January 1, 2010, must be replaced with new license plates if, upon renewal of registration under this section 61-3-312, the license plates are 5 or more years old or will become older than 5 years during the registration period. New license plates must be issued in accordance with the implementation schedule adopted by the department under 61-3-315.

     (iii) A vehicle owner may elect to keep the same license plate number from license plates issued before January 1, 2010, when replacement of those plates is required under this subsection.

     (b)  A motor vehicle that is registered for a 13-month to a 24-month period, as provided in 61-3-311, may display the license plate and plate design in effect at the time of registration for the entire registration period.

     (c)  A light vehicle described in subsection (2)(b) or a motor home that is permanently registered may display the license plate and plate design in effect at the time of registration for the entire period that the light vehicle or motor home is permanently registered.

     (d)  The provisions of this subsection (3) do not apply to a travel trailer, motorcycle, quadricycle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer.

     (e)  The requirements of this subsection (3) apply to collegiate license plates authorized under 61-3-461 through 61-3-468, generic specialty license plates authorized under 61-3-472 through 61-3-481, commemorative centennial license plates authorized under 61-3-448, and special military or veteran license plates authorized under 61-3-458.

     (4)  (a) All license plates must be metal and treated with a reflectorized background material according to specifications prescribed by the department. The word "Montana" must be placed on each license plate and, except for license plates that are 4 inches wide and 7 inches in length, the outline of the state of Montana must be used as a distinctive border on each standard license plate.

     (b)  Plates for semitrailers, travel trailers, pole trailers, trailers with a declared weight of 6,000 pounds or more, and motor vehicles, other than motorcycles and quadricycles, must be 6 inches wide and 12 inches in length.

     (c)  Plates for motorcycles and quadricycles must be 4 inches wide and 7 inches in length.

     (d)  The department shall issue plates that are 4 inches wide and 7 inches in length for trailers with a declared weight of less than 6,000 pounds unless a person registering a trailer with a declared weight of less than 6,000 pounds requests plates that are 6 inches wide and 12 inches in length. A person registering a trailer shall pay all applicable fees for the plates chosen.

     (5)  The distinctive registration numbers for standard license plates must begin with a number one or with a letter-number combination, such as "A 1" or "AA 1", or any other similar combination of letters and numbers. Except for special license plates, collegiate license plates, generic specialty license plates, fleet license plates, and standard license plates that are 4 inches wide and 7 inches in length, the distinctive registration number or letter-number combination assigned to the motor vehicle must appear on the plate preceded by the number of the county and appearing in horizontal order on the same horizontal baseline. The county number must be separated from the distinctive registration number by a separation mark unless a letter-number combination is used. The dimensions of the numerals and letters must be determined by the department, and all county and registration numbers must be of equal height.

     (6)  For the use of exempt motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers and motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers that are exempt from the registration fee as provided in 61-3-321, in addition to the markings provided in this section, standard license plates must bear the following distinctive markings:

     (a)  For motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers owned by the state, the department may designate the prefix number for the various state departments. All numbered plates issued to state departments must bear the words "State Owned", and a year number may not be indicated on the plates because these numbered plates are of a permanent nature and will be replaced by the department only when the physical condition of numbered plates requires it.

     (b)  For motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers that are owned by the counties, municipalities, and special districts, as defined in 18-8-202, organized under the laws of Montana and not operating for profit, and that are used and operated by officials and employees in the line of duty and for motor vehicles on loan from the United States government or the state of Montana to, or owned by, the civil air patrol and used and operated by officials and employees in the line of duty, there must be placed on the standard license plates assigned, in a position that the department may designate, the letter "X" or the word "EXEMPT". Distinctive registration numbers for plates assigned to motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers of each of the counties in the state and those of the municipalities and special districts that obtain plates within each county must begin with number one and be numbered consecutively. Because these standard license plates are of a permanent nature, they are subject to replacement by the department only when the physical condition of the license plates requires it and a year number may not be displayed on the plates.

     (7)  For the purpose of this chapter, the several counties of the state are assigned numbers as follows: Silver Bow, 1; Cascade, 2; Yellowstone, 3; Missoula, 4; Lewis and Clark, 5; Gallatin, 6; Flathead, 7; Fergus, 8; Powder River, 9; Carbon, 10; Phillips, 11; Hill, 12; Ravalli, 13; Custer, 14; Lake, 15; Dawson, 16; Roosevelt, 17; Beaverhead, 18; Chouteau, 19; Valley, 20; Toole, 21; Big Horn, 22; Musselshell, 23; Blaine, 24; Madison, 25; Pondera, 26; Richland, 27; Powell, 28; Rosebud, 29; Deer Lodge, 30; Teton, 31; Stillwater, 32; Treasure, 33; Sheridan, 34; Sanders, 35; Judith Basin, 36; Daniels, 37; Glacier, 38; Fallon, 39; Sweet Grass, 40; McCone, 41; Carter, 42; Broadwater, 43; Wheatland, 44; Prairie, 45; Granite, 46; Meagher, 47; Liberty, 48; Park, 49; Garfield, 50; Jefferson, 51; Wibaux, 52; Golden Valley, 53; Mineral, 54; Petroleum, 55; Lincoln, 56. Any new counties must be assigned numbers by the department as they are formed, beginning with the number 57.

     (8)  Each type of special license plate approved by the legislature, except collegiate license plates authorized in 61-3-463 and generic specialty license plates authorized in 61-3-472 through 61-3-481, must be a separate series of plates, numbered as provided in subsection (5), except that the county number must be replaced by a design that distinguishes each separate plate series. Unless otherwise specifically stated in this section, the special plates are subject to the same rules and laws as govern the issuance of standard license plates, must be placed or mounted on a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer owned by the person who is eligible to receive them, with the registration decal affixed to the rear license plate of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer, and must be removed upon sale or other disposition of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer.

     (9)  (a) A Montana resident who is eligible to receive a special parking permit under 49-4-301 may and a person with a low-speed restricted driver's license operating a low-speed electric vehicle or golf cart as provided in 61-5-122 must, upon written application on a form prescribed by the department, be issued a special license plate with a design or decal bearing a representation of a wheelchair as the symbol of a person with a disability.

     (b)  If the motor vehicle to which the license plate is attached is permanently registered, the owner of the motor vehicle shall provide, upon request of a person authorized to enforce special parking laws or ordinances in this or any state, evidence of continued eligibility to use the license plate in the form of a valid special parking permit issued to or renewed by the vehicle owner under 49-4-304 and 49-4-305.

     (c)  A person with a permanent condition, as provided in 49-4-301(2)(b), who has been issued a special license plate upon written application, as provided in this subsection (9), is not required to reapply upon reregistration of the motor vehicle.

     (10) The provisions of this section do not apply to a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer that is registered as part of a fleet, as defined in 61-3-712, and that is subject to the provisions of 61-3-711 through 61-3-733."

 

     Section 18.  Section 61-8-607, MCA, is amended to read:

     "61-8-607.  Lamps and other equipment on bicycles and mopeds. (1) A bicycle or moped when in use at dawn, dusk, or nighttime must be equipped with:

     (a)  a lamp on the front emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front. In lieu of a lamp affixed to the bicycle [or moped], a bicyclist may use a lamp with equal intensity and visibility affixed to the cyclist's helmet and facing forward.

     (b)  facing the rear, either a lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear or a red reflector visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear when illuminated by low-beam motor vehicle headlamps; and

     (c)  reflective material large and reflective enough to be visible from the left and right sides from a distance of at least 500 feet when illuminated by low-beam motor vehicle headlamps.

     (2)  A bicycle or moped must be equipped with a brake enabling the operator to stop the bicycle [or moped] within no more than 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles an hour on dry, level, clean pavement."

 

     Section 19.  Section 69-8-402, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-8-402.  Universal system benefits programs. (1) Universal system benefits programs are established for the state of Montana to ensure continued funding of and new expenditures for energy conservation, renewable resource projects and applications, and low-income energy assistance.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (11), beginning January 1, 1999, 2.4% of each utility's annual retail sales revenue in Montana for the calendar year ending December 31, 1995, is established as the initial funding level for universal system benefits programs. To collect this amount of funds on an annualized basis in 1999, the commission shall establish rates for utilities subject to its jurisdiction and the governing boards of cooperatives shall establish rates for the cooperatives.

     (a)(b)  The recovery of all universal system benefits programs costs imposed pursuant to this section is authorized through the imposition of a universal system benefits charge assessed at the meter for each local utility system customer as provided in this section.

     (b)(c)  A utility must receive credit toward annual funding requirements for the utility's internal programs or activities that qualify as universal system benefits programs, including those amortized or nonamortized portions of expenditures for the purchase of power that are for the acquisition or support of renewable energy, conservation-related activities, or low-income energy assistance, and for large customers' programs or activities as provided in subsection (7). The department of revenue shall review claimed credits of the utilities and large customers pursuant to 69-8-414.

     (c)(d)  A utility at which the sale of power for final end use occurs is the utility that receives credit for the universal system benefits programs expenditure.

     (d)(e)  A customer's utility shall collect universal system benefits funds less any allowable credits.

     (e)(f)  For a utility to receive credit for low-income-related expenditures, the activity must have taken place in Montana.

     (f)(g)  If a utility's or a large customer's credit for internal activities does not satisfy the annual funding provisions of this subsection (2), then the utility or large customer shall make a payment to the universal system benefits fund established in 69-8-412 for any difference.

     (3)  Cooperative utilities may collectively pool their statewide credits to satisfy their annual funding requirements for universal system benefits programs and low-income energy assistance.

     (4)  A utility's transition plan must describe how the utility proposes to provide for universal system benefits programs, including the methodologies, such as cost-effectiveness and need determination, used to measure the utility's level of contribution to each program.

     (5)  (a) A cooperative utility's minimum annual funding requirement for low-income energy and weatherization assistance is established at 17% of the cooperative utility's annual universal system benefits funding level and is inclusive within the overall universal system benefits funding level.

     (b)  Except as provided in subsection (11), a public utility's minimum annual funding requirement for low-income energy and weatherization assistance is established at 50% of the public utility's annual universal system benefits funding level and is inclusive within the overall universal system benefits funding level.

     (c)  A utility must receive credit toward the utility's low-income energy assistance annual funding requirement for the utility's internal low-income energy assistance programs or activities. Internal programs and activities may include providing low-income energy and weatherization assistance on Indian reservations.

     (d)  If a utility's credit for internal activities does not satisfy its annual funding requirement, then the utility shall make a payment for any difference to the universal low-income energy assistance fund established in 69-8-412.

     (6)  An individual customer may not bear a disproportionate share of the local utility's funding requirements, and a sliding scale must be implemented to provide a more equitable distribution of program costs.

     (7)  (a) A large customer:

     (i)  shall pay a universal system benefits programs charge with respect to the large customer's qualifying load equal to the lesser of:

     (A)  $500,000, less the large customer credits provided for in this subsection (7); or

     (B)  the product of 0.9 mills per kilowatt hour multiplied by the large customer's total kilowatt hour purchases, less large customer credits with respect to that qualifying load provided for in this subsection (7);

     (ii) must receive credit toward that large customer's universal system benefits charge for internal expenditures and activities that qualify as a universal system benefits programs expenditure, and these internal expenditures must include but not be limited to:

     (A)  expenditures that result in a reduction in the consumption of electrical energy in the large customer's facility; and

     (B)  those amortized or nonamortized portions of expenditures for the purchase of power at retail or wholesale that are for the acquisition or support of renewable energy or conservation-related activities.

     (b)  Large customers making these expenditures must receive a credit against the large customer's universal system benefits charge, except that any of those amounts expended in a calendar year that exceed that large customer's universal system benefits charge for the calendar year must be used as a credit against those charges in future years until the total amount of those expenditures has been credited against that large customer's universal system benefits charges.

     (8)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (11), a public utility shall prepare and submit an annual summary report of the public utility's activities relating to all universal system benefits programs to the commission, the department of revenue, and the energy and telecommunications interim committee provided for in 5-5-230. A cooperative utility shall prepare and submit annual summary reports of activities to the cooperative utility's respective local governing body, the statewide cooperative utility office, and the energy and telecommunications interim committee. The statewide cooperative utility office shall prepare and submit an annual summary report of the activities of individual cooperative utilities, including a summary of the pooling of statewide credits, as provided in subsection (3), to the department of revenue and the energy and telecommunications interim committee. The annual report of a public utility or of the statewide cooperative utility office must include but is not limited to:

     (i)  the types of internal utility and customer programs being used to satisfy the provisions of this chapter;

     (ii) the level of funding for those programs relative to the annual funding requirements prescribed in subsection (2);

     (iii) any payments made to the statewide funds in the event that internal funding was below the prescribed annual funding requirements; and

     (iv) the names of all large customers who either utilized credits to minimize or eliminate their charge pursuant to subsection (7) or received a reimbursement for universal system benefits related to expenditures from the utility during the previous reporting year.

     (b)  Before September 15 of the year preceding a legislative session, the energy and telecommunications interim committee shall:

     (i) review the universal system benefits programs and, if necessary, submit recommendations regarding these programs to the legislature; and

     (ii) review annual universal system benefits reports provided by utilities in accordance with subsection (8)(a) and compare those reports with reports provided by large customers to the department of revenue in accordance with subsection (10)(a) and identify large customers, if any, who are not in compliance with reporting requirements in accordance with this subsection (8) and subsection (10).

     (9)  A utility or large customer filing for a credit shall develop and maintain appropriate documentation to support the utility's or the large customer's claim for the credit.

     (10) (a) A large customer claiming credits for a calendar year shall submit an annual summary report of its universal system benefits programs activities and expenditures to the department of revenue and to the large customer's utility. A report must be filed with the department even if a large customer is being reimbursed for a prior year's project. The annual report of a large customer must identify each qualifying project or expenditure for which it has claimed a credit and the amount of the credit. Prior approval by the utility is not required, except as provided in subsection (10)(b).

     (b)  If a large customer claims a credit that the department of revenue disallows in whole or in part, the large customer is financially responsible for the disallowance. A large customer and the large customer's utility may mutually agree that credits claimed by the large customer be first approved by the utility. If the utility approves the large customer credit, the utility may be financially responsible for any subsequent disallowance.

     (11) A public utility with fewer than 50 customers is exempt from the requirements of this section."

 

     Section 20.  Section 69-8-412, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-8-412.  Funds established -- fund administrators designated -- purpose of funds -- department rulemaking authority to administer funds. (1) If, pursuant to 69-8-402(2)(f) 69-8-402(2)(g) or (5)(d), there is any positive difference between credits and the annual funding requirement, the department of revenue shall establish one or both of the following funds:

     (a)  a fund to provide for universal system benefits programs other than low-income energy assistance. The department of environmental quality shall administer this fund.

     (b)  a fund to provide universal low-income energy assistance. The department of public health and human services shall administer this fund.

     (2)  The purpose of these funds is to fund universal system benefits programs.

     (3)  The department of environmental quality and the department of public health and human services shall expend the money in each representative fund on universal system benefits programs in the utility service territory from which the money was received.

     (4)  The department of environmental quality and the department of public health and human services may adopt rules that administer and expend the money in each respective fund based on an annual assessment of identified funding needs in the utility service territory from which the money was received. In assessing the funding needs, the departments shall solicit utility and public comment from the utility service territory from which the money was received. The annual assessment must also take into account existing utility and large customer universal system benefits programs expenditures."

 

     Section 21.  Section 77-1-125, MCA, is amended to read:

     "77-1-125.  Liability for unauthorized installation or construction of facility or structure on state trust land -- penalty. (1) A person, other than the lessee of the affected state trust land, may not, after September 30, 1997:

     (a)  install or construct a road, pipeline, ditch, utility line, fence, building, or other facility or structure on state trust land without obtaining an easement, lease, license, or other written permission of the department; or

     (b)  disturb state trust land in anticipation of the installation or construction of the facility or structure.

     (2)  A person who violates subsection (1) is liable to the department for a civil penalty in an amount determined by the board. The penalty may be an amount up to three times the full market value of the land disturbed or affected or $500, whichever is greater.

     (3)  In addition to the penalty provided for in subsection (1) (2), a person who installs or constructs a facility or structure on state trust land without permission is liable for any permanent damage to the state trust land and may be required to remove the facility or structure and to reclaim the disturbed land to the satisfaction of the department or to pay the department's cost of removal and reclamation.

     (4)  If the department allows the facility or structure to remain on state trust land, the department shall also require payment of full market value of any easement, lease, or license required for the facility or structure.

     (5)  The penalties provided in this section do not apply to the lessee of the affected state trust land. The remedies and penalties provided in a state trust easement, lease, or license and the statutes and regulations under which the easement, lease, or license was entered are the exclusive remedies and penalties that may be applied to a lessee.

     (6)  The penalties provided in this section do not apply to persons who have inadvertently installed or constructed pipelines or utility lines within 20 feet of the easement boundaries granted by the state.

     (7)  The penalties provided in this section do not apply to facilities or structures installed on lands acquired by the state through exchange or purchase that were authorized with the permission of the previous landowner or through authority granted by an appropriate government agency."

 

     Section 22.  Section 80-7-1007, MCA, is amended to read:

     "80-7-1007.  Rulemaking authority. (1) Unless otherwise provided in Title 81, chapters 2 and 7, or this chapter, each of the departments may adopt rules for the prevention, early detection, and control of invasive species under the departments' jurisdiction, including rules for the:

     (a)  implementation of the invasive species strategic plan adopted pursuant to 80-7-1006;

     (b)  transportation of an invasive species or any agent likely to be a carrier of an invasive species;

     (c)  designation, regulation, and treatment of an invasive species management area under 80-7-1008, including rules pertaining to:

     (i)  the use of quarantine regulations and measures;

     (ii) the movement of vessels and equipment within, to, or from the area; and

     (iii) the inspection and cleaning of vessels and equipment moving within, to, or from the area; and

     (d)  manner in which vessels and equipment, including bilges, livewells, bait containers, and other boating-related equipment, traveling in the state must be cleaned to ensure that they are free from the presence of an invasive species.

     (2)  The departments shall adopt rules for the administration of the statewide invasive species management area established in 80-7-1015, including rules specifying the method or methods for preventing the introduction or further introduction of invasive species into the state, and shall adopt rules for:

     (a)  the use of quarantine measures;

     (b)  the movement of vessels and equipment into the state; and

     (c)  the manner in which check stations will be used to inspect, clean, and decontaminate vessels and equipment moving into the state."

 

     Section 23.  Section 85-7-1411, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-7-1411.  Authority to acquire, construct, maintain, operate, and lease various undertakings. (1) An irrigation district may:

     (a)  construct, acquire by gift, purchase, or lease, or improve any undertaking, within or outside the irrigation district, and acquire by gift, purchase, or lease land or rights in land or water rights in connection with the undertaking;

     (b)  operate and maintain or enter into a contract for the operation and maintenance of any undertaking and furnish or enter into a contract for the furnishing of services, facilities, and commodities of the undertaking for its own use and for the use of public and private consumers within or outside the territorial boundaries of the irrigation district. However, an irrigation district may not furnish or enter into a contract for the furnishing of electrical energy or capacity except to a qualified purchaser under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Policies Act of 1978.

     (c)  lease any undertaking to a private or governmental entity.

     (2)  This section may not be construed to permit an irrigation district to condemn any property owned or controlled by a rural electric cooperative or a utility, whether publicly or privately owned. An irrigation district is expressly prohibited from condemning, pursuant to Title 70, chapter 30, property owned or controlled by a rural electric cooperative or utility."

 

     Section 24.  Directions to code commissioner. The code commissioner is directed to implement 1-11-101(2)(g)(ii) by correcting any clearly inaccurate references to other sections of the Montana Code Annotated contained in material enacted by the 65th legislature and previous legislatures.

- END -

 


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