2017 Montana Legislature

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SENATE BILL NO. 210

INTRODUCED BY S. MALEK

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION LAWS; CHANGING THE NAME OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE REGULATION TO PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITY REGULATION; REQUIRING THE APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSIONERS; ESTABLISHING QUALIFICATIONS FOR PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSIONERS; ESTABLISHING A METHOD FOR SETTING COMMISSION SALARIES; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 2-4-102, 2-15-104, 2-15-1021, 2-15-2212, 2-15-2601, 2-15-2602, 2-16-405, 2-16-602, 2-18-101, 2-18-104, 5-5-230, 5-7-102, 7-2-4736, 7-3-4302, 7-7-4428, 7-10-215, 7-13-4107, 7-14-4401, 10-1-1010, 10-3-1306, 10-3-1309, 13-12-207, 13-37-216, 13-37-226, 13-37-240, 15-2-303, 15-6-138, 15-6-141, 15-23-101, 15-23-301, 15-31-114, 15-32-107, 18-4-302, 20-8-121, 27-19-203, 30-14-105, 30-14-1104, 30-14-1405, 30-14-1702, 30-16-303, 31-1-501, 35-18-104, 39-9-211, 53-1-704, 61-3-716, 61-3-722, 61-10-154, 69-1-101, 69-1-102, 69-1-103, 69-1-104, 69-1-105, 69-1-106, 69-1-107, 69-1-112, 69-1-201, 69-1-223, 69-1-224, 69-1-401, 69-1-403, 69-3-204, 69-3-307, 69-3-601, 69-3-701, 69-3-803, 69-3-901, 69-3-1003, 69-3-1004, 69-3-1006, 69-3-1007, 69-3-1205, 69-4-305, 69-4-314, 69-4-356, 69-5-121, 69-8-201, 69-8-215, 69-11-421, 69-11-422, 69-12-302, 69-12-408, 69-12-421, 69-12-423, 69-12-601, 69-14-604, 69-14-607, 69-14-701, 69-14-910, 75-1-201, 75-6-306, 75-10-404, 75-20-216, 76-3-622, 85-1-510, 85-1-511, 85-1-512, 85-1-513, 85-7-1419, 90-4-1202, AND 90-4-1210, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE."

 

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

 

     Section 1.  Section 2-4-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-4-102.  Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Administrative rule review committee" or "committee" means the appropriate committee assigned subject matter jurisdiction in Title 5, chapter 5, part 2.

     (2)  (a) "Agency" means an agency, as defined in 2-3-102, of state government, except that the provisions of this chapter do not apply to the following:

     (i)  the state board of pardons and parole, which is exempt from the contested case and judicial review of contested cases provisions contained in this chapter. However, the board is subject to the remainder of the provisions of this chapter.

     (ii) the supervision and administration of a penal institution with regard to the institutional supervision, custody, control, care, or treatment of youth or prisoners;

     (iii) the board of regents and the Montana university system;

     (iv) the financing, construction, and maintenance of public works;

     (v)  the public service utility commission when conducting arbitration proceedings pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 252 and 69-3-837.

     (b)  The term does not include a school district, a unit of local government, or any other political subdivision of the state.

     (3)  "ARM" means the Administrative Rules of Montana.

     (4)  "Contested case" means a proceeding before an agency in which a determination of legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party is required by law to be made after an opportunity for hearing. The term includes but is not restricted to ratemaking, price fixing, and licensing.

     (5)  (a) "Interested person" means a person who has expressed to the agency an interest concerning agency actions under this chapter and has requested to be placed on the agency's list of interested persons as to matters of which the person desires to be given notice.

     (b)  The term does not extend to contested cases.

     (6)  "License" includes the whole or part of an agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or other form of permission required by law but does not include a license required solely for revenue purposes.

     (7)  "Licensing" includes an agency process respecting the grant, denial, renewal, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, limitation, transfer, or amendment of a license.

     (8)  "Party" means a person named or admitted as a party or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party, but this chapter may not be construed to prevent an agency from admitting any person as a party for limited purposes.

     (9)  "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision, agency, or public organization of any character.

     (10) "Register" means the Montana Administrative Register.

     (11) (a) "Rule" means each agency regulation, standard, or statement of general applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy or describes the organization, procedures, or practice requirements of an agency. The term includes the amendment or repeal of a prior rule.

     (b)  The term does not include:

     (i)  statements concerning only the internal management of an agency or state government and not affecting private rights or procedures available to the public, including rules implementing the state personnel classification plan, the state wage and salary plan, or the statewide accounting, budgeting, and human resource system;

     (ii) formal opinions of the attorney general and declaratory rulings issued pursuant to 2-4-501;

     (iii) rules relating to the use of public works, facilities, streets, and highways when the substance of the rules is indicated to the public by means of signs or signals;

     (iv) seasonal rules adopted annually or biennially relating to hunting, fishing, and trapping when there is a statutory requirement for the publication of the rules and rules adopted annually or biennially relating to the seasonal recreational use of lands and waters owned or controlled by the state when the substance of the rules is indicated to the public by means of signs or signals; or

     (v)  uniform rules adopted pursuant to interstate compact, except that the rules must be filed in accordance with 2-4-306 and must be published in the ARM.

     (12) (a) "Significant interest to the public" means agency actions under this chapter regarding matters that the agency knows to be of widespread citizen interest. These matters include issues involving a substantial fiscal impact to or controversy involving a particular class or group of individuals.

     (b)  The term does not extend to contested cases.

     (13) "Small business" means a business entity, including its affiliates, that is independently owned and operated and that employs fewer than 50 full-time employees.

     (14) "Substantive rules" are either:

     (a)  legislative rules, which if adopted in accordance with this chapter and under expressly delegated authority to promulgate rules to implement a statute have the force of law and when not so adopted are invalid; or

     (b)  adjective or interpretive rules, which may be adopted in accordance with this chapter and under express or implied authority to codify an interpretation of a statute. The interpretation lacks the force of law."

 

     Section 2.  Section 2-15-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-15-104.  Structure of executive branch. (1) In accordance with the constitution, all executive and administrative offices, boards, commissions, agencies, and instrumentalities of the executive branch of state government and their respective functions are allocated by this chapter among and within the following departments or entities:

     (a)  department of administration;

     (b)  department of military affairs;

     (c)  department of revenue;

     (d)  state board of education;

     (e)  department of labor and industry;

     (f)  department of commerce;

     (g)  department of justice;

     (h)  department of public health and human services;

     (i)  department of corrections;

     (j)  department of transportation;

     (k)  department of public service utility regulation;

     (l)  department of agriculture;

     (m)  department of livestock;

     (n)  department of natural resources and conservation;

     (o)  department of fish, wildlife, and parks;

     (p)  department of environmental quality.

     (2)  For its internal structure, each department shall adhere to the following standard terms that establish the principal unit of a:

     (a)  The principal unit of a department is as a division. Each division is headed by an administrator.

     (b)  The principal unit of a division is as a bureau. Each bureau is headed by a chief.

     (c)  The principal unit of a bureau is as a section. Each section is headed by a supervisor."

 

     Section 3.  Section 2-15-1021, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-15-1021.  Information technology board -- membership -- qualifications -- vacancies -- compensation. (1) There is an information technology board. The board consists of 19 members who are appointed as follows:

     (a)  the director of the department of administration, who serves as presiding officer of the board;

     (b)  the chief information officer provided for in 2-17-511;

     (c)  the director of the office of budget and program planning;

     (d)  six members who are directors of state agencies and who are appointed by the governor;

     (e)  two members representing local government, appointed by the governor;

     (f)  one member representing the public service utility commission, appointed by the public service utility commission;

     (g)  one member representing the private sector, appointed by the governor;

     (h)  one member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;

     (i)  one member of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate;

     (j)  one member representing the legislative branch, appointed by the legislative branch information technology planning council;

     (k)  one member representing the judicial branch, appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court;

     (l)  one member representing the university system, appointed by the board of regents; and

     (m)  one member representing K-12 education, appointed by the superintendent of public instruction.

     (2)  Appointments must be made without regard to political affiliation and must be made solely for the wise management of the information technology resources used by the state.

     (3)  A vacancy occurring on the board must be filled by the appointing authority in the same manner as the original appointment.

     (4)  The board shall function in an advisory capacity as defined in 2-15-102.

     (5)  Members of the board must be reimbursed and compensated in the same manner as members of quasi-judicial boards under 2-15-124(7), except that legislative members are reimbursed and compensated as provided in 5-2-302."

 

     Section 4.  Section 2-15-2212, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-15-2212.  Committee on telecommunications access services for persons with disabilities -- composition -- allocation. (1) There is a committee on Montana telecommunications access services for persons with disabilities.

     (2)  The committee consists of 13 members appointed by the governor as follows:

     (a)  four members who are persons with disabilities, two of whom must be deaf or hard-of-hearing;

     (b)  two members who are not persons with disabilities, one of whom must be engaged in a business other than a business in the telecommunications industry and one of whom must be a senior citizen;

     (c)  one member from the department of public health and human services;

     (d)  one member from the largest service provider in Montana;

     (e)  one member from an independent service provider;

     (f)  one member from an interLATA interexchange carrier;

     (g)  one member from the public service utility commission;

     (h)  one member who is a licensed audiologist; and

     (i)  one member from the department of administration.

     (3)  The committee is allocated to the department of public health and human services for administrative purposes only as provided in 2-15-121."

 

     Section 5.  Section 2-15-2601, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-15-2601.  Department of public service utility regulation -- head. There is a department of public service utility regulation. The department head is the public service utility commission provided for in 2-15-2602."

 

     Section 6.  Section 2-15-2602, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-15-2602.  Public service utility commission -- composition. (1) There is a public service utility commission as provided in Title 69, chapter 1, part 1.

     (2)  The composition, method of selection, and terms of office of members of the commission are as prescribed in Title 69, chapter 1, part 1."

 

     Section 7.  Section 2-16-405, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-16-405.  Salaries of certain elected state officials. (1) The salaries paid to the following elected officials are determined as provided in subsection (2):

     (a)  governor;

     (b)  lieutenant governor;

     (c)  attorney general;

     (d)  state auditor;

     (e)  superintendent of public instruction;

     (f)  public service commission presiding officer;

     (g)  public service commissioners, other than presiding officer;

     (h)(f)  secretary of state;

     (i)(g)  clerk of the supreme court.

     (2)  Before June 30 of each even-numbered year, the department of administration shall conduct a salary survey of executive branch officials with similar titles to the Montana officials listed in subsection (1) for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho. The department shall include the salary for the Montana official in determining the average salary for the officials with similar titles. If the average salary is greater than the salary for the official in Montana, then beginning July 1 of the year following the year in which the survey is conducted, the average salary is the new salary for the official."

 

     Section 8.  Section 2-16-602, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-16-602.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Political subdivision" means a local government unit including but not limited to a county, city, or town established under authority of Article XI, section 1, of The Constitution of the State of Montana or a school district.

     (2)  "Public office" means a position of duty, trust, or authority created by the constitution or by the legislature or by a political subdivision through authority conferred by the constitution or the legislature that meets the following criteria:

     (a)  the position must possess a delegation of a portion of the sovereign power of government to be exercised for the benefit of the public;

     (b)  the powers conferred and the duties to be discharged must be defined, directly or impliedly, by the constitution, the legislature, or by a political subdivision through legislative authority;

     (c)  the duties must be performed independently and without control of a superior power other than the law, unless the legislature has created the position and placed it under the general control of a superior office or body; and

     (d)  the position must have some permanency and continuity and not be only temporary or occasional.

     (3)  "State-district" means a public service commission district, a legislative representative or senatorial district, or a judicial district."

 

     Section 9.  Section 2-18-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-18-101.  Definitions. As used in parts 1 through 3 and part 10 of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Agency" means a department, board, commission, office, bureau, institution, or unit of state government recognized in the state budget.

     (2)  "Base salary" means the amount of compensation paid to an employee, excluding:

     (a)  state contributions to group benefits provided in 2-18-703;

     (b)  overtime;

     (c)  fringe benefits as defined in 39-2-903; and

     (d)  the longevity allowance provided in 2-18-304.

     (3)  "Benchmark" means a representative position in a specific occupation that is used to illustrate the application of the job evaluation factor used to determine the pay band for an occupation.

     (4)  "Board" means the board of personnel appeals established in 2-15-1705.

     (5)  "Broadband classification plan" means a job evaluation method that measures the difficulty of the work and the knowledge or skills required to perform the work.

     (6)  "Broadband pay plan" means a pay plan using a pay hierarchy of broad pay bands based on the broadband classification plan.

     (7)  "Compensation" means the annual or hourly wage or salary and includes the state contribution to group benefits under the provisions of 2-18-703.

     (8)  "Competencies" means sets of measurable and observable knowledge, skills, and behaviors that contribute to success in a position.

     (9)  "Competitive pay zone" means that portion of the pay range for a band level of an occupation that is most consistent with the pay being offered by competing employers for fully competent employees within that occupation.

     (10) "Department" means the department of administration created in 2-15-1001.

     (11) (a) Except in 2-18-306, "employee" means any state employee other than an employee excepted under 2-18-103 or 2-18-104.

     (b)  The term does not include a student intern.

     (12) "Job evaluation factor" means a measure of the complexities of the predominant duties of a position.

     (13) "Job sharing" means the sharing by two or more persons of a position.

     (14) "Market salary" means the median base salary that other employers pay to employees in comparable occupations as determined by the department's salary survey of the relevant labor market.

     (15) "Occupation" means a generalized family of positions having substantially similar duties and requiring similar qualifications, education, and experience.

     (16) "Pay band" means a wide salary range covering a number of different occupations.

     (17) "Permanent employee" means an employee who is designated by an agency as permanent and who has attained or is eligible to attain permanent status.

     (18) "Permanent status" means the state an employee attains after satisfactorily completing an appropriate probationary period.

     (19) "Personal staff" means those positions occupied by employees appointed by the elected officials enumerated in Article VI, section 1, of the Montana constitution or by the public service commission as a whole.

     (20) "Position" means a collection of duties and responsibilities currently assigned or delegated by competent authority, requiring the full-time, part-time, or intermittent employment of one person.

     (21) "Program" means a combination of planned efforts to provide a service.

     (22) "Seasonal employee" means a permanent employee who is designated by an agency as seasonal, who performs duties interrupted by the seasons, and who may be recalled without the loss of rights or benefits accrued during the preceding season.

     (23) "Short-term worker" means a person who:

     (a)  is hired by an agency for an hourly wage established by the agency;

     (b)  may not work for the agency for more than 90 days in a continuous 12-month period;

     (c)  is not eligible for permanent status;

     (d)  may not be hired into another position by the agency without a competitive selection process; and

     (e)  is not eligible to earn the leave and holiday benefits provided in part 6 of this chapter or the group insurance benefits provided in part 7 of this chapter.

     (24) "Student intern" means a person who:

     (a)  has been accepted in or is currently enrolled in an accredited school, college, or university and is hired directly by an agency in a student intern position;

     (b)  is not eligible for permanent status;

     (c)  is not eligible to become a permanent employee without a competitive selection process;

     (d)  must be covered by the hiring agency's workers' compensation insurance;

     (e)  is not eligible to earn the leave and holiday benefits provided for in part 6 of this chapter or the group insurance benefits provided in part 7 of this chapter; and

     (f)  may be discharged without cause.

     (25) "Telework" means a flexible work arrangement where a designated employee may work from home within the state of Montana or an alternative worksite within the state of Montana 1 or more days a week instead of physically traveling to a central workplace.

     (26) "Temporary employee" means an employee who:

     (a)  is designated as temporary by an agency for a definite period of time not to exceed 12 months;

     (b)  performs temporary duties or permanent duties on a temporary basis;

     (c)  is not eligible for permanent status;

     (d)  is terminated at the end of the employment period; and

     (e)  is not eligible to become a permanent employee without a competitive selection process."

 

     Section 10.  Section 2-18-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "2-18-104.  Exemption for personal staff -- limit. (1) Subject to the limitations in subsections (2) and (3) subsection (2), members of a personal staff are exempt from parts 1 through 3 and 10.

     (2)  The personal staff who are exempted by subsection (1) may not exceed 10 unless otherwise approved by the department according to criteria developed by the department. Under no circumstances may the The total number of exemptions of for each elected official may not exceed 15 under any circumstances.

     (3)  The number of members of the personal staff of the public service commission who are exempted by subsection (1) may not exceed 10."

 

     Section 11.  Section 5-5-230, MCA, is amended to read:

     "5-5-230.  Energy and telecommunications interim committee. The energy and telecommunications interim committee has administrative rule review, draft legislation review, program evaluation, and monitoring functions for the department of public service utility regulation and the public service utility commission."

 

     Section 12.  Section 5-7-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "5-7-102.  Definitions. The following definitions apply in this chapter:

     (1)  "Appointed state official" means an individual who is appointed:

     (a)  to public office in state government by the governor or the chief justice of the Montana supreme court and who is subject to confirmation by the Montana senate;

     (b)  by the board of regents of higher education to serve either as the commissioner of higher education or as the chief executive officer of a campus of the Montana university system; or

     (c)  by the board of trustees of a community college to serve as president. 

     (2)  "Business" means:

     (a)  a holding or interest whose fair market value is greater than $1,000 in a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, self-employed person, holding company, joint-stock company, receivership, trust, or other entity or property held in anticipation of profit, but does not include nonprofit organizations; and

     (b)  present or past employment from which benefits, including retirement allowances, are received.

     (3)  "Commissioner" means the commissioner of political practices.

     (4)  "Docket" means the register of lobbyists and principals maintained by the commissioner pursuant to 5-7-201.

     (5)  "Elected federal official" means a person elected to a federal office, including but not limited to a member of the United States senate or house of representatives. The term includes an individual appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elected federal official and an individual who has been elected to a federal office but who has not yet been sworn in.

     (6)  "Elected local official" means an elected officer of a county, a consolidated government, an incorporated city or town, a school district, or a special district. The term includes an individual appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elected local official and an individual who has been elected to a local office but who has not yet been sworn in.

     (7)  (a) "Elected state official" means an individual holding a state office filled by a statewide vote of all the electors of Montana or a state district office, including but not limited to public service commissioners and district court judges. The term includes an individual appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elected state official and an individual who has been elected to a statewide office but who has not yet been sworn in.

     (b)  The term does not include a legislator.

     (8)  "Elected tribal official" means an elected member of a tribal council or other elected office filled by a vote of tribal members. The term includes an individual appointed to fill the unexpired term of an elected tribal official and an individual who has been elected to a tribal office but who has not yet been sworn in.

     (9)  "Individual" means a human being.

     (10) "Legislator" means an individual holding public office as a representative or a senator in the Montana legislature. The term includes an individual who has been elected to the legislature but who has not yet been sworn in.

     (11) (a) "Lobbying" means:

     (i)  the practice of promoting or opposing the introduction or enactment of legislation before the legislature or legislators; and

     (ii) the practice of promoting or opposing official action of any public official or the legislature.

     (b)  The term does not include actions described in subsections (11)(a)(i) and (11)(a)(ii) when performed by a public official, an elected local official, an elected federal official, or an elected tribal official while acting in an official governmental capacity.

     (12) (a) "Lobbyist" means a person who engages in the practice of lobbying.

     (b)  Lobbyist does not include:

     (i)  an individual acting solely on the individual's own behalf;

     (ii) an individual working for the same principal as a licensed lobbyist if the individual does not have personal contact involving lobbying with a public official or the legislature on behalf of the lobbyist's principal; or

     (iii) an individual who receives payments from one or more persons that total less than the amount specified under 5-7-112 in a calendar year.

     (c)  Nothing in this chapter deprives an individual who is not a lobbyist of the constitutional right to communicate with public officials or the legislature.

     (13) (a) "Payment" means distribution, transfer, loan, advance, deposit, gift, or other rendering made or to be made of money, property, or anything of value:

     (i)  to a lobbyist to influence legislation or official action by an elected local official, a public official, or the legislature;

     (ii) directly or indirectly to a lobbyist by a principal, such as salary, fee, compensation, or reimbursement for lobbying expenses; or

     (iii) in support of or for assistance to a lobbyist or a lobbying activity, including but not limited to the direct payment of expenses incurred at the request or suggestion of the lobbyist.

     (b)  The term does not include payments or reimbursements for:

     (i)  personal and necessary living expenses; or

     (ii) travel expenses, unless a principal is otherwise required to report expenses pursuant to 5-7-208.

     (14) "Person" means an individual, corporation, association, firm, partnership, state or local government or subdivision of state or local government, or other organization or group of persons.

     (15) "Principal" means a person who employs a lobbyist or a person required to report pursuant to 5-7-208.

     (16) (a) "Public official" means an elected state official or an appointed state official acting in an official capacity for state government or a legislator.

     (b)  The term does not include those acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity or performing ministerial acts.

     (17) "Unprofessional conduct" means:

     (a)  violating any of the provisions of this chapter;

     (b)  instigating action by a public official or the legislature for the purpose of obtaining employment;

     (c)  attempting to influence the action of a public official or the legislature on a measure pending or to be proposed by:

     (i)  promising financial support; or

     (ii) making public any unsubstantiated charges of improper conduct on the part of a lobbyist, a principal, or a legislator; or

     (d)  attempting to knowingly deceive a public official or the legislature with regard to the pertinent facts of an official matter or attempting to knowingly misrepresent pertinent facts of an official matter to a public official or the legislature."

 

     Section 13.  Section 7-2-4736, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-2-4736.  Preservation of existing garbage or solid waste service in event of annexation. A municipality that annexes or incorporates additional area within the service area of a motor carrier authorized by the public service utility commission to provide that service may not provide exclusive garbage and solid waste disposal service or impose charges or assessments for services not provided to any person or business located in the annexed or incorporated area except upon a proper showing to the public service utility commission that the existing carrier is unable to or refuses to provide adequate service to the annexed or incorporated area."

 

     Section 14.  Section 7-3-4302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-3-4302.  Construction. (1) Except as otherwise provided in part 44 and this part, all acts, parts of acts, and laws relative to municipal corporations are in force and are not repealed by part 44 and this part unless they conflict or are inconsistent with the provisions of part 44 and this part.

     (2)  Part 44 and this part do not repeal or modify Title 69, chapter 3, or 69-4-101, and part 44 and this part do not curtail or impair the power or authority of the public service utility commission."

 

     Section 15.  Section 7-7-4428, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-7-4428.  Covenants in resolution authorizing issuance of bonds. Any A resolution or resolutions authorizing the issuance of bonds under this part may contain covenants as to establishing:

     (1)  the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of from the sale of the bonds may be applied and the disposition of the proceeds;

     (2)  the use and disposition of the revenue of from the undertaking for which the bonds are to be issued, including the creation and maintenance of reserves and including the pledge or appropriation of all or a portion of the property and resort tax revenue referred to in 7-7-4424;

     (3)  the transfer, from the general fund of the municipality to the account or accounts of the undertaking, of an amount equal to the cost of furnishing the municipality or any of its departments, boards, or agencies with the services, facilities, or commodities of the undertaking;

     (4)  the issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenue of the undertaking;

     (5)  the operation and maintenance of the undertaking;

     (6)  the insurance to be carried on the undertaking and the use and disposition of insurance money;

     (7)  books of account and the inspection and audit of the books; and

     (8)  the terms and conditions upon under which the holders or trustees of the bonds or any proportion of the bonds are entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the district court having jurisdiction. The receiver may:

     (a)  enter and take possession of the undertaking;

     (b)  operate and maintain the undertaking;

     (c)  prescribe rates, fees, or charges, subject to the approval of the public service utility commission; and

     (d)  collect, receive, and apply all revenue thereafter after entering and taking possession of the undertaking arising from the undertaking in the same manner as the municipality itself might do would collect, receive, and apply revenue."

 

     Section 16.  Section 7-10-215, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-10-215.  Covenants in resolution authorizing issuance of bonds. Any A resolution or resolutions authorizing the issuance of bonds under this part may contain covenants as to establishing:

     (1)  the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of from the sale of the bonds may be applied and the disposition of the proceeds;

     (2)  the use and disposition of the revenue of from the project for which the bonds are to be issued, including the creation and maintenance of reserves and including the pledge or appropriation of all or a portion of the property tax revenue referred to in 7-10-115;

     (3)  the transfer from the general fund of the regional resource authority to the account or accounts of the project of an amount equal to the cost of furnishing the regional resource authority or any of its departments or boards with the services, facilities, or commodities of the project;

     (4)  the issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenue of the project;

     (5)  the operation and maintenance of the project;

     (6)  the insurance to be carried on the project and the use and disposition of insurance money;

     (7)  books of account and the inspection and audit of the books; and

     (8)  the terms and conditions upon under which the holders or trustees of the bonds or any proportion of the bonds are entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the district court having jurisdiction. The receiver may:

     (a)  enter and take possession of the project;

     (b)  operate and maintain the project;

     (c)  prescribe rates, fees, or charges, subject to the approval of the public service utility commission; and

     (d)  collect, receive, and apply all revenue arising from the project."

 

     Section 17.  Section 7-13-4107, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-13-4107.  Protection of private waste disposal service in municipality. A municipality, as of January 1, 1979, that receives garbage and solid waste disposal services from a private motor carrier authorized by the public service utility commission to provide that service may not, by ordinance or otherwise, elect to provide exclusive garbage and solid waste service until the municipality first fully compensates the private motor carrier for the resulting damage to its business."

 

     Section 18.  Section 7-14-4401, MCA, is amended to read:

     "7-14-4401.  Provision of bus service. Whenever If a city or town is not being served by a bus company or operator operating on a regular schedule and under the jurisdiction of the public service utility commission or if such the service is likely to be discontinued in the immediate future, the city or town council of the incorporated city or town may:

     (1)  may contract an indebtedness of any such city or town upon the credit thereof by borrowing borrow money or issuing issue bonds for the purchase, development, operation, or leasing of motorbuses buses and buslines for the transportation of passengers within the corporate limits of such the cities and towns and to operate the same buses or buslines to any point or points beyond these limits not to exceed 8 miles measured along the route of the busline; and

     (2)  shall have the power to enter into a contract or contracts or to enter into a lease or a lease and operating agreement with an independent carrier or independent carriers for the transportation of passengers by bus within the corporate limits of such the city or town and to and from any point or points beyond said the limits not to exceed 8 miles measured along the route of said the busline or buslines."

 

     Section 19.  Section 10-1-1010, MCA, is amended to read:

     "10-1-1010.  Appointment of acting officials. (1) When an elected official is ordered to military service, an acting official must be appointed as provided in this section if:

     (a)  the elected official is precluded pursuant to federal law from performing the official duties of the office; or

     (b)  the elected official requests the appointment of an acting official.

     (2)  If an acting official is appointed, the acting official shall take any oath of office required to assume the office, shall exercise all the rights, powers, and duties vested in the office, and must be provided with all the employment rights and benefits associated with the position until the elected official is restored to office pursuant to 10-1-1008(5) or the elected official's term expires, whichever occurs first.

     (3)  (a) The governor shall appoint the acting official for any office elected by the state at large and for the office of district judge, public service commissioner, or any other elected regional or district office of the state.

     (b)  An acting official for a legislative district must be appointed using the procedures in 5-2-402.

     (c)  The board of county commissioners shall appoint the acting official for any elected office of a county.

     (d)  The city or town council shall appoint the acting official for any elected office of a city or town.

     (4)  For any elected office not covered under subsection (3), the governing body shall determine the method by which an acting official may be appointed pursuant to this section.

     (5)  An appointment of an acting official pursuant to this section must be made for a period not to exceed the unexpired term for the office and subject to the right of the elected official to be restored to the office upon returning from the military service, as provided in 10-1-1008(5)."

 

     Section 20.  Section 10-3-1306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "10-3-1306.  Transportation of radioactive waste through state -- notification -- responsibilities of division. (1) A person or entity may not ship high-level radioactive waste or transuranic waste through the state by rail or motor carrier unless the person or entity first notifies the disaster and emergency services division and the department of transportation, pays the appropriate fees, and obtains a permit.

     (2)  Upon receiving the notification required under subsection (1), the disaster and emergency services division shall notify the highway patrol, the public service utility commission, or other agencies as appropriate.

     (3)  The disaster and emergency services division shall reimburse the highway patrol for expenses incurred in monitoring or escorting motor carriers, as provided in 10-3-1308, from money collected in the radioactive waste transportation monitoring, emergency response, and training account created in 10-3-1304."

 

     Section 21.  Section 10-3-1309, MCA, is amended to read:

     "10-3-1309.  Responsibilities of public service utility commission -- inspection of rails and trains -- agreements with neighboring states and provinces -- rulemaking. (1) After receiving notification from the disaster and emergency services division that high-level radioactive waste or transuranic waste will be shipped by railroad through the state, the public service utility commission shall establish a plan for inspecting the rails and the trains, as authorized in Title 69, chapter 14, that will be involved in the transportation of the waste. The plan must include but is not limited to:

     (a)  coordination with the federal railroad administration on track and rolling stock inspections;

     (b)  inspection and approval by a federally certified inspector no later than 1 week prior to shipment; and

     (c)  a requirement that trains carrying radioactive waste or transuranic waste may not travel at greater than the speed required by federal regulations.

     (2)  The public service utility commission may enter into reciprocal agreements with adjacent states and bordering Canadian provinces that Montana's inspectors may inspect trains while they are stopped in those states or provinces before they cross the Montana border.

     (3)  The public service utility commission shall, in cooperation with the department of transportation, the disaster and emergency services division, and the highway patrol, establish rules to carry out the provisions of this part. The rules must address:

     (a)  the process by which local authorities will be notified when a motor carrier or a train carrying high-level radioactive waste or transuranic waste is approaching their jurisdictions;

     (b)  which local authorities will receive notification;

     (c)  the process by which local governments and local emergency response entities may apply for and receive training and reimbursement money from the radioactive waste transportation monitoring, emergency response, and training account, as provided in 10-3-1304;

     (d)  the criteria for qualifying to receive money from the account;

     (e)  acceptable means for monitoring a train that is carrying high-level radioactive waste or transuranic waste; and

     (f)  other processes or procedures that the public service utility commission, the department of transportation, the disaster and emergency services division, and the highway patrol determine are necessary to efficiently carry out the provisions of this part and to ensure the safe transportation of high-level radioactive waste or transuranic waste through Montana."

 

     Section 22.  Section 13-12-207, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-12-207.  Order of placement. (1) The order on the ballot for state and federal offices must be as follows:

     (a)  If the election is in a year in which a president of the United States is to be elected, in spaces separated from the balance of the party tickets by a line must be the names and spaces for voting for candidates for president and vice president. The names of candidates for president and vice president for each political party must be grouped together.

     (b)  United States senator;

     (c)  United States representative;

     (d)  governor and lieutenant governor;

     (e)  secretary of state;

     (f)  attorney general;

     (g)  state auditor;

     (h)  state superintendent of public instruction;

     (i)  public service commissioners;

     (j)(i)  clerk of the supreme court;

     (k)(j)  chief justice of the supreme court;

     (l)(k)  justices of the supreme court;

     (m)(l)  district court judges;

     (n)(m)  state senators;

     (o)(n)  members of the Montana house of representatives.

     (2)  The following order of placement must be observed for county offices:

     (a)  clerk of the district court;

     (b)  county commissioner;

     (c)  county clerk and recorder;

     (d)  sheriff;

     (e)  coroner;

     (f)  county attorney;

     (g)  county superintendent of schools;

     (h)  county auditor;

     (i)  public administrator;

     (j)  county assessor;

     (k)  county treasurer;

     (l)  surveyor;

     (m)  justice of the peace.

     (3)  The secretary of state shall designate the order for placement on the ballot of any offices not on the above lists in subsections (1) and (2), except that the election administrator shall designate the order of placement for municipal, charter, or consolidated local government offices and district offices when the district is part of only one county.

     (4)  Constitutional amendments must be placed before statewide referendum and initiative measures. Ballot issues for a county, municipality, school district, or other political subdivision must follow statewide measures in the order designated by the election administrator.

     (5)  If any offices are not to be elected they may not be listed, but the order of the offices to be filled must be maintained.

     (6)  If there is a short-term and a long-term election for the same office, the long-term office must precede the short-term."

 

     Section 23.  Section 13-37-216, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-37-216.  Limitations on contributions -- adjustment. (1) (a) Subject to adjustment as provided for in subsection (3) and subject to 13-35-227 and 13-37-219, aggregate contributions for each election in a campaign by a political committee or by an individual, other than the candidate, to a candidate are limited as follows:

     (i)  for candidates filed jointly for the office of governor and lieutenant governor, not to exceed $500;

     (ii) for a candidate to be elected for state office in a statewide election, other than the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, not to exceed $250;

     (iii) for a candidate for any other public office, not to exceed $130.

     (b)  A contribution to a candidate includes contributions made to any political committee organized on the candidate's behalf. A political committee that is not independent of the candidate is considered to be organized on the candidate's behalf.

     (2)  All political committees except those of political party organizations are subject to the provisions of subsection (1). Political party organizations may form political committees that are subject to the following aggregate limitations, adjusted as provided for in subsection (3) and subject to 13-37-219, from all political party committees:

     (a)  for candidates filed jointly for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, not to exceed $18,000;

     (b)  for a candidate to be elected for state office in a statewide election, other than the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, not to exceed $6,500;

     (c)  for a candidate for public service commissioner, not to exceed $2,600;

     (d)(c)  for a candidate for the state senate, not to exceed $1,050;

     (e)(d)  for a candidate for any other public office, not to exceed $650.

     (3)  (a) The commissioner shall adjust the limitations in subsections (1) and (2) by multiplying each limit by an inflation factor, which is determined by dividing the consumer price index for June of the year prior to the year in which a general election is held by the consumer price index for June 2002.

     (b)  The resulting figure must be rounded up or down to the nearest:

     (i)  $10 increment for the limits established in subsection (1); and

     (ii) $50 increment for the limits established in subsection (2).

     (c)  The commissioner shall publish the revised limitations as a rule.

     (4)  A candidate may not accept any contributions, including in-kind contributions, in excess of the limits in this section.

     (5)  For purposes of this section, "election" means the general election or a primary election that involves two or more candidates for the same nomination. If there is not a contested primary, there is only one election to which the contribution limits apply. If there is a contested primary, then there are two elections to which the contribution limits apply."

 

     Section 24.  Section 13-37-226, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-37-226.  Time for filing reports. (1) Candidates for a state office filled by a statewide vote of all the electors of Montana, statewide ballot issue committees, and political committees that receive a contribution or make an expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate for statewide office or a statewide ballot issue shall file reports electronically as follows:

     (a)  quarterly, due on the 5th day following a calendar quarter, beginning with the calendar quarter in which:

     (i)  funds are received or expended during the year or years prior to the election year that the candidate expects to be on the ballot; or

     (ii) an issue becomes a ballot issue, as defined in 13-1-101(6)(b);

     (b)  on the 1st day of each month from March through November during a year in which an election is held;

     (c)  on the 15th day preceding the date on which an election is held;

     (d)  within 2 business days after receiving a contribution of $200 or more if received between the 20th day before the election and the day of the election;

     (e)  not more than 20 days after the date of the election; and

     (f)  on the 10th day of March and September of each year following an election until the candidate or political committee files a closing report as specified in 13-37-228(3).

     (2)  Candidates for a state district office, including but not limited to candidates for the legislature, the public service commission, or a district court judge, and political committees that receive contributions or make expenditures to support or oppose a particular state district candidate or issue, unless the political committee is already reporting under the provisions of subsection (1), shall file reports as follows:

     (a)  on the 35th and 12th days preceding the date on which an election is held;

     (b)  within 2 business days after receiving a contribution of $100 or more if received between the 17th day before the election and the day of the election;

     (c)  not more than 20 days after the date of the election; and

     (d)  on the 10th day of March and September of each year following an election until the candidate or political committee files a closing report as specified in 13-37-228(3).

     (3)  Candidates for any other public office and political committees that receive contributions or make expenditures to support or oppose a particular local issue shall file the reports specified in subsection (2) only if the total amount of contributions received or the total amount of funds expended for all elections in a campaign, excluding the filing fee paid by the candidate, exceeds $500, except as provided in 13-37-206.

     (4)  Independent and political party committees not required to report under subsection (1) or (2) shall file:

     (a)  a report on the 90th, 35th, and 12th days preceding the date of an election in which they participate by making an expenditure;

     (b)  a report within 2 business days of receiving a contribution of $500 or more if received between the 17th day before the election and the day of the election;

     (c)  a report within 2 business days of making an expenditure of $500 or more for an electioneering communication if the expenditure is made between the 17th day before the election and the day of the election;

     (d)  a report not more than 20 days after the date of the election in which they participate by making an expenditure; and

     (e)  a report on a date to be prescribed by the commissioner for a closing report at the close of each calendar year.

     (5)  An incidental committee not required to report under subsection (1) or (2) shall file a report:

     (a)  on the 90th, 35th, and 12th days preceding the date of an election in which it participates by making an expenditure;

     (b)  within 2 business days of receiving a contribution as provided in 13-37-232(1) of $500 or more if received between the 17th day before an election and the day of the election;

     (c)  within 2 business days of making an expenditure of $500 or more for an electioneering communication if the expenditure is made between the 17th day before the election and the day of the election;

     (d)  not more than 20 days after the date of the election in which it participated; and

     (e)  on a date to be prescribed by the commissioner for a closing report at the close of each calendar year.

     (6)  The commissioner shall post on the commissioner's website:

     (a)  all reports filed under this section within 7 business days of filing; and

     (b)  for each election the calendar dates that correspond with the filing requirements of subsections (1), (2), (4), and (5).

     (7)  The commissioner may require reports filed under this section to be submitted electronically.

     (8)  Except as provided in subsections (1)(d), (2)(b), (4)(b), (4)(c), (5)(b), and (5)(c), all reports required by this section must be complete as of the 5th day before the date of filing as specified in 13-37-228(2) and this section.

     (9)  A political committee may file a closing report prior to the date prescribed by rule or set in 13-37-228(3) and after the complete termination of its contribution and expenditure activity during an election cycle."

 

     Section 25.  Section 13-37-240, MCA, is amended to read:

     "13-37-240.  Surplus campaign funds. (1) A candidate shall dispose of any surplus funds from the candidate's campaign within 120 days after the time of filing the closing campaign report pursuant to 13-37-228. In disposing of the surplus funds, a candidate may not contribute the funds to another campaign, including the candidate's own future campaign, or use the funds for personal benefit. A successful candidate for a statewide elected or legislative office or for public service commissioner may establish a constituent services account as provided in 13-37-402. The candidate shall provide a supplement to the closing campaign report to the commissioner showing the disposition of any surplus campaign funds.

     (2)  For purposes of this section, "personal benefit" means a use that will provide a direct or indirect benefit of any kind to the candidate or any member of the candidate's immediate family."

 

     Section 26.  Section 15-2-303, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-2-303.  Judicial review. (1) Any A party to an appeal before the state tax appeal board who is aggrieved by a final decision is entitled to judicial review under this part.

     (2) (a) Proceedings for review must be instituted by filing Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), to request judicial review, a taxpayer shall file a petition in district court in the county in which where the taxable property or some portion of it is located, except the.

     (b) A taxpayer has the option to may file in the district court of the first judicial district.

     (c) A petition for judicial review must be filed within 60 days after service of the final decision of the state tax appeal board or, if a rehearing is requested, within 60 days after service of the final decision. Copies of the petition must be promptly served on all parties of record.

     (d) The department of revenue shall promptly notify the state tax appeal board, in writing, of any a judicial review, but failure to do so has no effect on provide notification does not affect the judicial review.

     (e) The department of revenue shall, on request if requested, submit to the state tax appeal board a copy of all pleadings and documents.

     (3) (a) If the judicial review involves a taxpayer who is seeking a refund of taxes paid under protest, the appealing party shall provide a copy of the petition to the treasurer of the county in which where the taxable property or some portion of it is located, but failure to do so has no effect on.

     (b) Failure to provide a copy in accordance with subsection (3)(a) does not affect the judicial review.

     (4)  Proceedings for review of a decision by the state tax appeal board by a company under the jurisdiction of the public service utility commission must be instituted in the district court of the first judicial district.

     (5)  Notwithstanding the provisions of 2-4-704(1), the court may, for good cause shown, permit additional evidence to be introduced."

 

     Section 27.  Section 15-6-138, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-138.  Class eight property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class eight property includes:

     (a)  all agricultural implements and equipment that are not exempt under 15-6-207 or 15-6-220;

     (b)  all mining machinery, fixtures, equipment, tools that are not exempt under 15-6-219, and supplies except those included in class five under 15-6-135;

     (c)  for oil and gas production, all:

     (i)  machinery;

     (ii) fixtures;

     (iii) equipment, including flow lines and gathering lines, pumping units, oil field storage tanks, water storage tanks, water disposal injection pumps, gas compressor and dehydrator units, communication towers, gas metering shacks, treaters, gas separators, water flood units, and gas boosters, together with equipment that is skidable, portable, or movable;

     (iv) tools that are not exempt under 15-6-219; and

     (v)  supplies except those included in class five;

     (d)  all manufacturing machinery, fixtures, equipment, tools, except a certain value of hand-held tools and personal property related to space vehicles, ethanol manufacturing, and industrial dairies and milk processors as provided in 15-6-220, and supplies except those included in class five;

     (e)  all goods and equipment that are intended for rent or lease, except goods and equipment that are specifically included and taxed in another class or that are rented under a purchase incentive rental program as defined in 15-6-202(4);

     (f)  special mobile equipment as defined in 61-1-101;

     (g)  furniture, fixtures, and equipment, except that specifically included in another class, used in commercial establishments as defined in this section;

     (h)  x-ray and medical and dental equipment;

     (i)  citizens' band radios and mobile telephones;

     (j)  radio and television broadcasting and transmitting equipment;

     (k)  cable television systems;

     (l)  coal and ore haulers;

     (m)  theater projectors and sound equipment; and

     (n)  all other property that is not included in any other class in this part, except that property that is subject to a fee in lieu of a property tax.

     (2)  As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

     (a)  "Coal and ore haulers" means nonhighway vehicles that exceed 18,000 pounds an axle and that are primarily designed and used to transport coal, ore, or other earthen material in a mining or quarrying environment.

     (b)  "Commercial establishment" includes any hotel, motel, office, petroleum marketing station, or service, wholesale, retail, or food-handling business.

     (c)  "Flow lines and gathering lines" means pipelines used to transport all or part of the oil or gas production from an oil or gas well to an interconnection with a common carrier pipeline as defined in 69-13-101, a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2), or a rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipeline regulated by the public service utility commission or the federal energy regulatory commission.

     (3)  Except as provided in 15-24-1402, class eight property is taxed at:

     (a)  for the first $6 million of taxable market value in excess of the exemption amount in subsection (4), 1.5%; and

     (b)  for all taxable market value in excess of $6 million, 3%.

     (4)  The first $100,000 of market value of class eight property of a person or business entity is exempt from taxation.

     (5)  The gas gathering facilities of a stand-alone gas gathering company providing gas gathering services to third parties on a contractual basis, owning more than 500 miles of gas gathering lines in Montana, and centrally assessed in tax years prior to 2009 must be treated as a natural gas transmission pipeline subject to central assessment under 15-23-101. For purposes of this subsection, the gas gathering line ownership of all affiliated companies, as defined in section 1504(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 1504(a), must be aggregated for purposes of determining the 500-mile threshold."

 

     Section 28.  Section 15-6-141, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-6-141.  Class nine property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class nine property includes:

     (a)  centrally assessed allocations of an electric power company or centrally assessed allocations of an electric power company that owns or operates transmission or distribution facilities or both;

     (b)  if congress passes legislation that allows the state to tax property owned by an agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy, allocations of properties constructed, owned, or operated by a public agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy produced at privately owned generating facilities, not including rural electric cooperatives;

     (c)  rural electric cooperatives' property, except wind generation facilities, biomass generation facilities, and energy storage facilities classified under 15-6-157 and property used for headquarters, office, shop, or other similar facilities, used for the sole purpose of serving customers representing less than 95% of the electric consumers located within the incorporated limits of a city or town of more than 3,500 persons in which a centrally assessed electric power company also owns property or serving an incorporated municipality with a population that is greater than 3,500 persons formerly served by a public utility that after January 1, 1998, received service from the facilities of an electric cooperative;

     (d)  allocations for centrally assessed natural gas distribution utilities, rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipelines regulated by either the public service utility commission or the federal energy regulatory commission, a common carrier pipeline as defined in 69-13-101, a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2), or the gas gathering facilities specified in 15-6-138(5); and

     (e)  centrally assessed companies' allocations except:

     (i)  electrical generation facilities classified under 15-6-156;

     (ii) all property classified under 15-6-157;

     (iii) all property classified under 15-6-158 and 15-6-159;

     (iv) property owned by cooperative rural electric and cooperative rural telephone associations and classified under 15-6-135;

     (v)  property owned by organizations providing telephone communications to rural areas and classified under 15-6-135;

     (vi) railroad transportation property included in 15-6-145;

     (vii) airline transportation property included in 15-6-145; and

     (viii) telecommunications property included in 15-6-156.

     (2)  Class nine property is taxed at 12% of market value."

 

     Section 29.  Section 15-23-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-23-101.  Properties centrally assessed. The department shall centrally assess each year:

     (1)  the railroad transportation property of railroads and railroad car companies operating in more than one county in the state or more than one state;

     (2)  property owned by a corporation or other person operating a single and continuous property operated in more than one county or more than one state including but not limited to:

     (a)  telegraph, telephone, microwave, and electric power or transmission lines;

     (b)  rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipelines regulated by the public service utility commission or the federal energy regulatory commission;

     (c)  common carrier pipelines as defined in 69-13-101 or a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2);

     (d)  natural gas distribution utilities;

     (e)  the gas gathering facilities specified in 15-6-138(5);

     (f)  canals, ditches, flumes, or like properties; and

     (g)  if congress passes legislation that allows the state to tax property owned by an agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy, property constructed, owned, or operated by a public agency created by congress to transmit or distribute electrical energy produced at privately owned generating facilities, not including rural electric cooperatives;

     (3)  all property of scheduled airlines;

     (4)  the net proceeds of mines, except bentonite mines;

     (5)  the gross proceeds of coal mines; and

     (6)  property described in subsections (1) and (2) that is subject to the provisions of Title 15, chapter 24, part 12."

 

     Section 30.  Section 15-23-301, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-23-301.  Officers of certain public utility companies to furnish statement to department. The president, secretary, or managing agent of a corporation or any other officer that the department may designate and each person or association of persons owning or operating a telegraph, telephone, microwave, or electric power or transmission line, a natural gas distribution utility, a rate-regulated natural gas transmission or oil transmission pipeline regulated by the public service utility commission or the federal energy regulatory commission, a common carrier pipeline as defined in 69-13-101, a pipeline carrier as defined in 49 U.S.C. 15102(2), or any canal, ditch, flume, or other property, other than real estate not included in a right-of-way, that constitutes a single and continuous property throughout more than one county or state, shall each year furnish the department with a statement, signed and sworn to by one of the officers or by the person or one of the persons forming the association, showing in detail for the year ending on December 31 immediately preceding:

     (1)  the whole number of miles of property in the state and, if the property is partly out of the state, the whole number of miles outside of the state and the whole number of miles within the state owned or operated by the corporation, person, or association;

     (2)  the total value of the entire property and plant, both within and outside of the state, and the total value of that portion of the property and plant within the state;

     (3)  a complete description of the property within the state, giving the points of entrance into and the points of exit from the state and the points of entrance into and the points of exit from each county, with a statement of the total number of miles in each county in the state;

     (4)  other information regarding the property as may be required by the department."

 

     Section 31.  Section 15-31-114, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-31-114.  Deductions allowed in computing income. (1) In computing the net income, the following deductions are allowed from the gross income received by the corporation within the year from all sources:

     (a)  all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in the maintenance and operation of its business and properties, including reasonable allowance for salaries for personal services actually rendered, subject to the limitation contained in this section, and rentals or other payments required to be made as a condition to the continued use or possession of property to which the corporation has not taken or is not taking title or in which it has no equity. A deduction is not allowed for salaries paid upon which the recipient has not paid Montana state income tax. However, when domestic corporations are taxed on income derived from outside the state, salaries of officers paid in connection with securing the income are deductible.

     (b)  (i) all losses actually sustained and charged off within the year and not compensated by insurance or otherwise, including a reasonable allowance for the wear and tear and obsolescence of property used in the trade or business. The allowance is determined according to the provisions of section 167 of the Internal Revenue Code in effect with respect to the taxable year. All elections for depreciation must be the same as the elections made for federal income tax purposes. A deduction is not allowed for any amount paid out for any buildings, permanent improvements, or betterments made to increase the value of any property or estate, and a deduction may not be made for any amount of expense of restoring property or making good the exhaustion of property for which an allowance is or has been made. A depreciation or amortization deduction is not allowed on a title plant as defined in 33-25-105(15).

     (ii) There is allowed as a deduction for the taxable period a net operating loss deduction determined according to the provisions of 15-31-119.

     (c)  in the case of mines, other natural deposits, oil and gas wells, and timber, a reasonable allowance for depletion and for depreciation of improvements. The reasonable allowance must be determined according to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect for the taxable year. All elections made under the Internal Revenue Code with respect to capitalizing or expensing exploration and development costs and intangible drilling expenses for corporate income tax purposes must be the same as the elections made for federal income tax purposes.

     (d)  the amount of interest paid within the year on its indebtedness incurred in the operation of the business from which its income is derived. Interest may not be allowed as a deduction if paid on an indebtedness created for the purchase, maintenance, or improvement of property or for the conduct of business unless the income from the property or business would be taxable under this part.

     (e)  (i) taxes paid within the year, except the following:

     (A)  taxes imposed by this part;

     (B)  taxes assessed against local benefits of a kind tending to increase the value of the property assessed;

     (C)  taxes on or according to or measured by net income or profits imposed by authority of the government of the United States;

     (D)  taxes imposed by any other state or country upon or measured by net income or profits.

     (ii) Taxes deductible under this part must be construed to include taxes imposed by any county, school district, or municipality of this state.

     (f)  that portion of an energy-related investment allowed as a deduction under 15-32-103;

     (g)  (i) except as provided in subsection (1)(g)(ii) or (1)(g)(iii), charitable contributions and gifts that qualify for deduction under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 170, as amended.

     (ii) The public service utility commission may not allow in the rate base of a regulated corporation the inclusion of contributions made under this subsection.

     (iii) A deduction is not allowed for a charitable contribution using a charitable gift annuity unless the annuity is a qualified charitable gift annuity as defined in 33-20-701.

     (h)  per capita livestock fees imposed pursuant to 15-24-921, 15-24-922, 81-6-104, 81-6-204, 81-6-209, 81-7-118, or 81-7-201.

     (2)  In lieu of the deduction allowed under subsection (1)(g), the taxpayer may deduct the fair market value, not to exceed 30% of the taxpayer's net income, of a computer or other sophisticated technological equipment or apparatus intended for use with the computer donated to an elementary, secondary, or accredited postsecondary school located in Montana if:

     (a)  the contribution is made no later than 5 years after the manufacture of the donated property is substantially completed;

     (b)  the property is not transferred by the donee in exchange for money, other property, or services; and

     (c)  the taxpayer receives a written statement from the donee in which the donee agrees to accept the property and representing that the use and disposition of the property will be in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2)(b).

     (3)  In the case of a regulated investment company or a fund of a regulated investment company, as defined in section 851(a) or 851(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 851(a) or 851(g), as that section may be amended or renumbered, there is allowed a deduction for dividends paid, as defined in section 561 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 561, as that section may be amended or renumbered, except that the deduction for dividends is not allowed with respect to dividends attributable to any income that is not subject to tax under this chapter when earned by the regulated investment company. For the purposes of computing the deduction for dividends paid, the provisions of sections 852(b)(7) and 855 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 852(b)(7) and 855, as those sections may be amended or renumbered, apply. A regulated investment company is not allowed a deduction for dividends received as defined in sections 243 through 245 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 243 through 245, as those sections may be amended or renumbered."

 

     Section 32.  Section 15-32-107, MCA, is amended to read:

     "15-32-107.  Loans by utilities and financial institutions -- tax credit for interest differential for loans made prior to July 1, 1995. (1) Except as provided in subsection (4), a public utility or a financial institution that lent money or made qualifying installations under this section as it read prior to July 1, 1995, may compute the difference between interest it actually receives on the transactions and the interest that would have been received at the prevailing average interest rate for home improvement loans, as prescribed in rules made by the public service utility commission. The utility may apply the difference so computed as a credit against its tax liability for the electrical energy producer's license tax under 15-51-101 or for the corporate income tax under chapter 31, part 1. The public service utility commission shall regulate rates in such a manner that a utility making loans under this section may not make a profit as the result of this section. The financial institution may apply the difference so computed as a credit against its tax liability for the corporate income tax under chapter 31, part 1.

     (2)  A utility may not claim a tax credit under this section exceeding $750,000 in any tax year. A financial institution may not claim a tax credit under this section exceeding $2,000 in any tax year.

     (3)  The public service utility commission may make rules to implement this section as it applies to public utilities only.

     (4)  A public utility whose purchases of or investments in conservation are placed in the rate base as provided in Title 69, chapter 3, part 7, may not receive a tax credit under subsection (1)."

 

     Section 33.  Section 18-4-302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "18-4-302.  Methods of source selection -- authorization for alternative procurement methods. (1) Unless otherwise authorized by law, all state contracts for supplies and services must be awarded by a source selection method provided for in this title. Supplies or services offered for sale, lease, or rental by public utilities are exempt from this requirement if the prices of the supplies or services are regulated by the public service utility commission or other governmental authority.

     (2)  When the department or another agency opens bids or proposals, if a supplier's current publicly advertised or established catalog price is received at or before the time that the bids or proposals are opened and is less than the bid of the lowest responsible and responsive bidder or offeror or improves upon the conditions for the best proposal received using the same factors and weights included in the proposal, the department or agency may reject all bids and purchase the supply from that supplier without meeting the requirements of 18-4-303 through 18-4-306.

     (3)  An office supply procured by the department may be purchased by an agency, without meeting the requirements of 18-4-303 through 18-4-306, from a supplier whose publicly advertised price, established catalog price, or discount price offered to the agency is less than the price offered by the department if the office supply conforms in all material respects to the terms, conditions, and quality offered by the department. A state office supply term contract must include a provision by which the contracting parties acknowledge and agree to the provisions of this subsection.

     (4)  (a) Under rules adopted by the department, an agency may request from the department authorization for an alternative procurement method.

     (b)  A request for authorization must specify:

     (i)  the problem to be solved;

     (ii) the proposed alternative procurement method;

     (iii) the reasons why the alternative procurement method may be more appropriate than a method authorized by law; and

     (iv) how competition and fairness will be achieved by the alternative procurement method.

     (c)  Within 30 days after receiving the request, the department shall:

     (i)  evaluate the request;

     (ii) approve or deny the request; and

     (iii) issue a written statement providing the reasons for its decision.

     (d)  Whenever the department approves a request submitted under this section, the department:

     (i)  may authorize the alternative procurement method on a trial basis; and

     (ii) if the alternative procurement method is employed, shall make a written determination as to the success of the method.

     (e)  If the department determines that the alternative procurement method is successful and should be an alternative that is generally available, it shall promulgate rules that establish the use of the alternative procurement method as an additional source selection method. The rules promulgated by the department under this subsection must reflect the purposes described in 18-4-122."

 

     Section 34.  Section 20-8-121, MCA, is amended to read:

     "20-8-121.  Transportation of students at school. (1) The school for the deaf and blind shall provide the transportation expenses allowed in subsection (4) for a residential student at the school for the deaf and blind who is a resident of the state of Montana if the student is conveyed to and from the student's residence by:

     (a)  a scheduled air carrier as defined in 67-1-101;

     (b)  charter with a commercial air operator as defined in 67-1-101;

     (c)  a parent or guardian of the student, under an individual transportation contract with the school for the deaf and blind; or

     (d)  other transportation arrangements, provided that the transportation is by a carrier of passengers certified by the public service utility commission and approved by the superintendent of the school for the deaf and blind, pursuant to rules adopted by the board of public education.

     (2)  The superintendent of the school for the deaf and blind shall determine which method of transportation in subsection (1) is to be provided to a student, pursuant to rules adopted by the board of public education on transportation of residential and boarding students at the school.

     (3)  A parent or guardian who transports a student to or from the school under an individual transportation contract is entitled to reimbursement for transportation, pursuant to rules adopted by the board of public education on reimbursement.

     (4)  The transportation of a residential student provided in subsection (1) is limited to the number of round trips to the student's residence as specified in the school calendar approved by the board of public education. The superintendent of the school for the deaf and blind may grant a variance from this provision, but in no event may a reimbursement for travel expenses may not be provided for travel in excess of the total number of trips approved in any school fiscal year."

 

     Section 35.  Section 27-19-203, MCA, is amended to read:

     "27-19-203.  Preliminary injunction pending action by public service utility commission. When the public service utility commission is conducting an adjudicatory proceeding or formal investigation relating to continuation or interruption of service upon the motion of the consumer counsel or the interested person or the interested person's legal representative, a district court may, upon the application of the consumer counsel or the interested person or the interested person's legal representative, enter a restraining order against any person respondent in the adjudicatory proceeding or investigation. The restraining order may prohibit the respondent and the respondent's agents, employees, licensees, and assignees from acting in the manner complained of in the proceeding before the commission until the commission has rendered its decision in the matter. The restraining order may include an order to show cause why the order should not become an injunction for the duration of the proceeding before the commission."

 

     Section 36.  Section 30-14-105, MCA, is amended to read:

     "30-14-105.  Exemptions. This part does not apply to:

     (1)  actions or transactions permitted under laws administered by the Montana public service utility commission or the state auditor; or

     (2)  acts of a retail merchant, publisher, owner, agent, or employee of a newspaper, periodical, or radio or television station or advertising agency in the publication or dissemination of an advertisement when the merchant, publisher, owner, agent, or employee did not have knowledge of the false, misleading, or deceptive character of the advertisement."

 

     Section 37.  Section 30-14-1104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "30-14-1104.  Scope. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), 30-14-1103 applies to any an agreement in connection with a consumer contract entered into in this state between a consumer who is a resident of this state at the time of the transaction and a seller, lessor, or lender.

     (2)  Section 30-14-1103 does not apply to:

     (a)  consumer contracts, in which if the value of the money, property, or services bought, leased, or borrowed exceeds $50,000 at the time of the contract;

     (b)  consumer contracts, in which if securities or commodities accounts are bought, leased, or borrowed;

     (c)  an insurance policy or contract that is subject to the provisions of Title 33;

     (d)  a seller, lessor, or lender, if it is a government agency or instrumentality;

     (e)  the provision of public utility service under tariffs approved by the public service utility commission; or

     (f)  a transfer of real estate.

     (3)  The use of specific language expressly required or authorized by a court decision, state or federal statute or administrative rule, or governmental agency or in a legal description of real property is not a violation of this part; nor is a legal description of real property a violation of this part."

 

     Section 38.  Section 30-14-1405, MCA, is amended to read:

     "30-14-1405.  Exemptions from registration and bonding. The registration and bonding requirements of 30-14-1404 do not apply to:

     (1)  any securities, commodities, or investment brokers, dealers, or investment advisers or any associates of securities, commodities, or investment brokers, dealers, or investment advisers who are subject to licensure or registration by the securities and exchange commission, the national association of securities dealers, or another self-regulatory organization, as defined by 15 U.S.C. 78(c), or by an agency of this state or any other state and who are soliciting within the scope of their license or registration;

     (2)  a person engaged in solicitation for a religious, charitable, political, educational, or other noncommercial purpose or a person soliciting for a domestic or foreign nonprofit corporation that is registered with the Montana secretary of state;

     (3)  a business-to-business sale;

     (4)  a person that who solicits sales by periodically publishing and delivering a catalog of the person's merchandise to prospective purchasers, if the catalog:

     (a)  contains a written description or illustration of each item offered for sale;

     (b)  includes the business or home address of the person soliciting the sale;

     (c)  includes at least 20 pages of written material and illustrations;

     (d)  is distributed in more than one state; and

     (e)  has a circulation by mailing of not less than 150,000;

     (5)  a person who solicits contracts for maintenance or repair of goods previously purchased from that person or from the person on whose behalf the solicitation is made;

     (6)  a person soliciting a transaction regulated by the commodity futures trading commission if the person is registered or temporarily licensed with the commodity futures trading commission under the Commodity Exchange Act, Title 7, chapter 1, of the United States Code, and the person's registration or license is not expired, suspended, or revoked;

     (7)  a supervised financial organization or parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of a supervised financial organization;

     (8)  an insurer authorized to transact insurance under Title 33, chapter 2, part 1, a person licensed as an insurance producer under Title 33, chapter 17, part 2, or staff members, licensed or unlicensed, of the producer;

     (9)  a person soliciting the sale of services provided by a satellite or cable television system or a radio or television station authorized by the federal government or this state to provide services in this state;

     (10) a telephone company or its subsidiary or agent or other business regulated by the Montana public service utility commission, the federal communications commission, a rural telephone cooperative or its subsidiary or agent, or a federally licensed cellular telephone or radio telecommunication service provider;

     (11) a person soliciting business from consumers that who have an existing business relationship with or have previously purchased from the business enterprise for which the person is soliciting;

     (12) a person operating a retail business establishment under the same name as that used in the solicitation and:

     (a)  the products or services are displayed and offered for sale at the business establishment; and

     (b)  a majority of the person's business involves the consumer obtaining the products or services at the business establishment;

     (13) a person soliciting for the sale of a magazine or newspaper of general circulation;

     (14) an issuer or a subsidiary of an issuer that is authorized to offer securities for sale in this state;

     (15) a book, video, record, or multimedia club, contractual plan, or arrangement:

     (a)  under which the seller provides the consumer with a form that the consumer may use to instruct the seller not to ship the offered merchandise;

     (b)  that is regulated by the federal trade commission regulation, 16 CFR 425, concerning the use of negative option plans by sellers in commerce; or

     (c)  that provides for the sale of books, videos, records, multimedia products, or other goods that are not covered by subsection (15)(a) or (15)(b), including continuity plans, subscription arrangements, standing order arrangements, single sales, supplements, or series arrangements under which the seller periodically ships merchandise to a consumer who has consented in advance to receive the merchandise on a periodic basis;

     (16) a real estate salesperson or broker licensed by this state;

     (17) a person that has who provided telemarketing sales services under the same name and derives 50% of gross telemarketing sales revenue from contracts with persons exempted under this section from registration requirements; or

     (18) a person soliciting the sale of food or food products if the solicitation is not intended to and does not result in a sale in excess of $100 to a single address."

 

     Section 39.  Section 30-14-1702, MCA, is amended to read:

     "30-14-1702.  Definitions. As used in 30-14-1701 through 30-14-1705, 30-14-1712, and 30-14-1713, unless the context requires otherwise, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  (a) "Business" means a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, or other group, however organized and whether or not organized to operate at a profit, including a financial institution organized, chartered, or holding a license or authorization certificate under the law of this state, any other state, the United States, or any other country or the parent or the subsidiary of a financial institution. The term includes an entity that destroys records. The term also includes industries regulated by the public service utility commission or under Title 30, chapter 10.

     (b)  The term does not include industries regulated under Title 33.

     (2)  "Customer" means an individual who provides personal information to a business for the purpose of purchasing or leasing a product or obtaining a service from the business.

     (3)  "Electronic mail message" means a message sent to a unique destination, commonly expressed as a string of characters, consisting of a unique user name or electronic mailbox and a reference to an internet domain, whether or not displayed, to which an electronic message can be sent or delivered.

     (4)  "Individual" means a natural person.

     (5)  "Internet" has the meaning provided in 2-17-551.

     (6)  "Internet services provider" has the meaning provided in 2-17-602.

     (7)  "Personal information" means an individual's name, signature, address, or telephone number, in combination with one or more additional pieces of information about the individual, consisting of the individual's passport number, driver's license or state identification number, insurance policy number, bank account number, credit card number, debit card number, passwords or personal identification numbers required to obtain access to the individual's finances, or any other financial information as provided by rule. A social security number, in and of itself, constitutes personal information.

     (8)  (a) "Records" means any material, regardless of the physical form, on which personal information is recorded.

     (b)  The term does not include publicly available directories containing personal information that an individual has voluntarily consented to have publicly disseminated or listed, such as name, address, or telephone number.

     (9)  "Website" means an electronic location that has a single uniform resource locator or other single location with respect to the internet."

 

     Section 40.  Section 30-16-303, MCA, is amended to read:

     "30-16-303.  Participation of state agencies. (1) The legislature directs full participation in the implementation of this chapter by:

     (a)  the departments of agriculture, environmental quality, revenue, justice, labor and industry, and public health and human services;

     (b)  the public service utility commission; and

     (c)  other agencies as directed by the governor.

     (2)  The board of review may include licenses not specified in 30-16-301 in a plan for streamlined registration and licensing if:

     (a)  the agency administering the license requests that the license be included in the plan;

     (b)  the board of review approves including the license by a majority vote of a quorum of the board of review; and

     (c)  licensees affected by the license's inclusion in the plan are given 60 days' notice of the plan's implementation and the notice sets forth in detail the changes in the licensing procedures.

     (3)  If a license is included in a streamlined registration and licensing plan pursuant to subsection (2):

     (a)  the agency administering the license may provide for a variance in the timing of the payment of the license fee and a variance in the application form, filing date, and penalty provisions in order to conform with the plan's criteria;

     (b)  the board of review shall provide for the equitable proration to the agency administering the license of any fees paid by a licensee prior to the plan's implementation; and

     (c)  the license must be processed and issued by the department of revenue as provided in this chapter.

     (4)  (a) In order to defray the costs associated with administering a streamlined registration and licensing plan, the department may require a transfer of funds from the participating agencies in an amount equal to no more than one-half of the total cost of processing and issuing a license.

     (b)  The amount remaining of the total cost of processing and issuing a license may be charged to the license applicant.

     (c)  The amount of funds transferred by an agency must be based on the number of licenses processed and issued on behalf of that agency versus the total number of licenses processed and issued under the streamlined registration and licensing plan."

 

     Section 41.  Section 31-1-501, MCA, is amended to read:

     "31-1-501.  Late payment charges -- accounts receivable for merchandise sold at retail. (1) Notwithstanding 31-1-106 or 31-1-107, a person who sells goods, as defined in 31-1-202, at retail to a retail buyer who promises to pay for such the goods upon presentation of the bill therefor, when presented with a bill for the goods may charge and collect a late payment charge not greater than 1 1/2% per month on all money due on all accounts from 30 days after the date on which when the obligation of the buyer to pay is incurred.

     (2)  The late payment charge provided in this section may be charged only if at the time the obligation was incurred the seller did not intend to extend any credit beyond 30 days and any late payment of the obligation was unintended.

     (3)  The provisions of this section do not apply to money due for intangible services, for services regulated by the public service utility commission, for real property, for health care services, or for retail installment sales contracts or retail charge account agreements regulated under Title 31, chapter 1, part 2."

 

     Section 42.  Section 35-18-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "35-18-104.  Exemption from jurisdiction of public service utility commission. Cooperatives and foreign corporations transacting business in this state pursuant to this chapter are exempt in all respects from the jurisdiction and control of the public service utility commission of this state."

 

     Section 43.  Section 39-9-211, MCA, is amended to read:

     "39-9-211.  Exemptions. This chapter does not apply to:

     (1)  to an authorized representative of the United States government, the state of Montana, or any incorporated municipality, county, alternative form of local government, irrigation district, reclamation district, or other municipal or political corporation or subdivision of this state;

     (2)  to an officer of a court acting within the scope of office;

     (3)  to a public utility operating under the regulations of the public service utility commission or to a rural cooperative utility operating under Title 35, chapter 18, in construction, maintenance, or development work incidental to its own business;

     (4)  to the repair or operation incidental to the discovery or production of oil or gas or incidental to the drilling, testing, abandoning, or other operation of an oil or gas well or a surface or underground mine or mineral deposit;

     (5)  to the sale or installation of finished products, materials, or articles of merchandise that are not actually fabricated into and do not become a permanent fixed part of a structure;

     (6)  to the construction, alteration, improvement, or repair carried on within the limits and boundaries of a site or reservation under the exclusive legal jurisdiction of the federal government;

     (7)  to a person who only furnished materials, supplies, or equipment without fabricating them into or consuming them in the performance of the work of the construction contractor;

     (8)  to work or operation on one undertaking or project considered of a casual, minor, or inconsequential nature, by one or more contracts, the aggregate contract price of which, for labor and materials and all other items, is less than $2,500 a job. The exemption prescribed in this subsection does not apply when the work or construction is only a part of a larger or major operation, whether undertaken by the same or a different construction contractor, or in which if a division of the operation is made into contracts of amounts of less than $2,500 a job for the purpose of evasion of this chapter or otherwise.

     (9)  to a farmer or rancher while engaged in a farming, dairying, agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, or stock or poultry operation;

     (10) to an irrigation district or reclamation district;

     (11) to an operation related to clearing or other work upon land in rural districts for fire prevention purposes;

     (12) to an owner who contracts for work to be performed by a registered construction contractor, but this. This exemption does not apply to an owner who is otherwise covered by this chapter who constructs a residence on the owner's property with the intention and for the purpose of promptly selling the improved property;.

     (13) to an owner working on the owner's property, whether occupied by the owner or not, but this. This exemption does not apply to an owner who is otherwise covered by this chapter who constructs an improvement on the owner's property with the intention and for the purpose of promptly selling the improved property, unless the owner has continuously occupied the property as the owner's primary residence for at least the last 12 months;.

     (14) to owners of commercial properties who use their own employees to do maintenance, repair, and alteration work in or upon their own properties;

     (15) to an architect, civil or professional engineer, or professional land surveyor, licensed in Montana and acting solely in a professional capacity;

     (16) to an electrician or plumber, licensed in Montana, operating within the scope of the license;

     (17) to a contract security company, licensed under Title 37, chapter 60, operating within the scope of the license;

     (18) to a person who engages engaged in the activities regulated as an employee of a registered construction contractor with wages as the sole compensation or as an employee with wages as the sole compensation;

     (19) to a person or entity licensed under Title 50, chapter 39, to sell, install, or service fire suppression or fire protection equipment;

     (20) to a water well contractor licensed under Title 37, chapter 43, performing the work of a water well contractor;

     (21) to an enrolled tribal member or an association, business, corporation, or other entity, at least 51% of which is owned by an enrolled tribal member or members and whose business is conducted solely within the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation;

     (22) to a contractor engaged in the logging industry who builds forest access roads for the purpose of harvesting and transporting logs from forest to mill;

     (23) to a person working on the person's own residence, if the residence is owned by a person other than the resident; or

     (24) to an independent contractor who has no does not have employees. However, an independent contractor may voluntarily elect to register under this chapter."

 

     Section 44.  Section 53-1-704, MCA, is amended to read:

     "53-1-704.  Montana 2-1-1 community coalition -- advisory capacity. (1) There is a Montana 2-1-1 community coalition that will serve in an advisory capacity, as defined in 2-15-102, to the department. The coalition shall assist the department in the development of a strategic plan for implementation, operation, supervision, and evaluation of 2-1-1 calling statewide.

     (2)  The coalition is composed of up to 20 members appointed by the governor, including:

     (a)  one representative from county government;

     (b)  one representative from local or county law enforcement;

     (c)  one representative from the Montana public service utility commission;

     (d)  representatives from each approved call center;

     (e)  one representative from a united way agency;

     (f)  one representative from the department;

     (g)  one representative from the department of military affairs, disaster and emergency services division;

     (h)  one representative from an organization or agency working with Indian health services;

     (i)  one representative from an organization or agency working with domestic violence and sexual assault;

     (j)  one representative from an organization or agency on aging;

     (k)  one representative from an organization or agency working in the mental health field;

     (l)  one representative from an organization or agency working with persons with disabilities;

     (m)  one representative from an organization that coordinates disaster relief delivery; and

     (n)  other representatives suggested by the department.

     (3)  A vacancy on the commission must be filled in the same manner as the original appointment and in a timely manner.

     (4)  Members shall serve staggered 3-year terms."

 

     Section 45.  Section 61-3-716, MCA, is amended to read:

     "61-3-716.  Proportional registration of fleet motor vehicles. (1) If a jurisdiction permits or requires the licensing of fleets of motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailer, or pole trailers in interstate or combined interstate and intrastate commerce and payment of registration fees, license fees, taxes, or other fixed fees on those motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers on an apportionment basis commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on and the use made of the jurisdiction's highways as compared with the miles traveled on and the use made of other jurisdiction's highways or any other equitable basis of apportionment and if the jurisdiction exempts motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers registered in any other jurisdiction under this apportionment basis from the requirements of full payment of its own registration, license fees, taxes, or other fixed fees, then the department may, by agreement, adopt exemptions with respect to motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers of these fleets, whether owned by residents or nonresidents of this state and regardless of where they are based. An agreement, under the terms, conditions, or restrictions that the department considers proper, may provide that owners of motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers operated in interstate or combined interstate and intrastate commerce in this state be permitted to pay registration, license fees, taxes, or other fixed fees on an apportionment basis commensurate with and determined by the miles traveled on and the use made of the highways of this state as compared with the use made of the highways of other jurisdictions or any other equitable basis of apportionment. This agreement may not authorize or be construed to authorize a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer so registered to be operated in intrastate commerce in this state unless the owner of the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer has been granted intrastate authority or rights by the public service utility commission if a grant is otherwise required by law.

     (2)  The department of transportation may adopt rules that it considers necessary to carry out and administer this section, and the registration of fleet motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers under 61-3-711 through 61-3-733 is subject to the rights, terms, and conditions granted by or contained in any applicable agreement, arrangement, or declaration made by the department. The department of transportation shall adopt rules providing for a change of registration period for a fleet in a case in which the owner of the fleet requests that the registration period be changed to coincide with the registration period of one or more other fleets in the same ownership."

 

     Section 46.  Section 61-3-722, MCA, is amended to read:

     "61-3-722.  Registration and identification of proportionally registered motor vehicles -- fees -- effect of registration. (1) The department shall register each proportionally registered motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer and issue a license plate or plates, a distinctive registration decal, or other suitable identification device for each motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer described in the application upon payment of the appropriate fees and property taxes, as provided by law, for the application and for the license plates, registration decals, or devices issued. A fee of $2 must be paid for each license plate, each registration decal, and each device issued for each proportionally registered motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer. A fee of $5 must be paid for each motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer receiving temporary registration as authorized by section 704 of the international registration plan of the American association of motor vehicle administrators, adopted in April 1988. A registration card must be issued for each proportionally registered motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer. The registration card must, in addition to other information required by chapter 3, show the number of the license, registration decal, or other device issued for the proportionally registered motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer and must be carried in the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer at all times.

     (2)  Fleet motor vehicles, trailers, semitrailers, or pole trailers registered and identified as fleet motor vehicles are considered fully licensed and registered in this state for any type of movement or operation, except that, in those instances in which a grant of authority is required for intrastate movement or operation, the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer may not be operated in intrastate commerce in this state unless the owner has been granted intrastate authority by the public service utility commission and unless the motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer is being operated in conformity with that authority."

 

     Section 47.  Section 61-10-154, MCA, is amended to read:

     "61-10-154.  Department of transportation to adopt motor carrier safety standards -- enforcement -- designation of peace officers -- duties -- violations. (1) As used in this section, the terms "for-hire motor carrier", "private motor carrier", "gross vehicle weight rating", and "gross combination weight rating" have the same meaning as provided in 49 CFR 390.5.

     (2)  The department of transportation shall adopt, by rule, standards for safety of operations of:

     (a)  any for-hire motor carrier or any private motor carrier;

     (b)  any motor vehicle or vehicle combination used in interstate commerce that has a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight, whichever is greater, of 10,001 pounds or more;

     (c)  any motor vehicle or vehicle combination used in intrastate commerce that has a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight, whichever is greater, of 26,001 pounds or more and that is not a farm vehicle operating solely in Montana;

     (d)  any motor vehicle that is designed or used to transport at least 16 passengers, including the driver, and that is not used to transport passengers for compensation;

     (e)  any motor vehicle that is designed or used to transport at least nine passengers, including the driver, for compensation; or

     (f)  any motor vehicle that is used to transport hazardous materials of a type or quantity that requires the vehicle to be marked or placarded in accordance with federal hazardous materials regulations in 49 CFR, part 172.

     (3)  Standards of safety adopted under this section must substantially comply, within allowed tolerance guidelines, to the federal motor carrier safety regulations and the federal hazardous material regulations as applied to motor carriers and vehicles transporting passengers or property in commerce.

     (4)  The department of transportation shall work with the highway patrol in the enforcement of safety standards adopted pursuant to this section. The highway patrol and the department of transportation shall cooperate to ensure minimum duplication and maximum coordination of enforcement efforts.

     (5)  In order to enforce compliance with safety standards adopted pursuant to this section, the department of transportation shall designate employees as peace officers. The designated employees must be employed in the administration of the motor carrier services functions of the department of transportation. Each employee designated as a peace officer may:

     (a)  issue citations and make arrests in connection with violations of safety standards adopted under this section;

     (b)  issue summonses;

     (c)  accept bail;

     (d)  serve warrants for arrest;

     (e)  make reasonable inspections of cargo carried by commercial motor vehicles;

     (f)  enforce the provisions of Title 49 of the United States Code and regulations that have been adopted under Title 49 and make reasonable safety inspections of commercial motor vehicles used by motor carriers; and

     (g)  require production of documents relating to the cargo, driver, routing, or ownership of commercial motor vehicles.

     (6)  In addition to other enforcement duties assigned under 61-10-141 and this section, an employee of the department of transportation who is appointed as a peace officer pursuant to 61-12-201 or this section has:

     (a)  the same authority to enforce provisions of the motor carriers law as that granted to the public service utility commission under 69-12-203;

     (b)  the duty to secure or make copies, or both, of all bills of lading or other evidence of delivery for shipment of agricultural seeds, as defined in 80-5-120, that have been sold or are intended for sale in Montana and to forward the copies to the department of agriculture within 24 hours of the date that the bill of lading was obtained; and

     (c)  the authority, if probable cause exists, to stop and inspect a supply tank connected to the engine of any diesel-powered motor vehicle operating on the public highways of this state in order to determine compliance with Title 15, chapter 70, part 4.

     (7)  A violation of the standards adopted pursuant to this section is punishable as provided in 61-9-512, and the court, upon conviction, as defined in 61-5-213, shall forward a record of conviction to the department within 5 days in accordance with 61-11-101.

     (8)  The department of transportation shall report to the revenue and transportation interim committee biennially on its enforcement of the provisions of Title 15, chapter 70, part 4, pursuant to the authority provided in subsection (6)(c) and on any impacts that enforcement has had on the state special revenue fund."

 

     Section 48.  Section 69-1-101, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-101.  Definition of commission. As used in this title, the term "commission" means the public service utility commission provided for in 2-15-2602."

 

     Section 49.  Section 69-1-102, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-102.  Creation of public service utility commission. A public service utility commission is hereby created, whose established. It is the duty it is of the commission to supervise and regulate the operations of public utilities, common carriers, railroads, and other regulated industries listed in this title. Such The supervision and regulation shall be in conformity must be in accordance with this title."

 

     Section 50.  Section 69-1-103, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-103.  Composition of commission. (1) The commission shall consist consists of five members, who shall must be qualified electors of the district from which they are elected, with each such member elected from a separate district of the state, meet the qualifications in subsection (3), and be appointed from districts in accordance with 69-1-104.

     (2) The members of the commission must be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. Not more than three of the members may be members of the same political party.

     (3) (a) When appointing commissioners, the governor shall give consideration to persons who are licensed to practice law in Montana or persons who have engaged in the profession of engineering, public accounting, or property and utility valuation and finance, as well as being representative of the general public and having a general knowledge of the laws governing and administering the department of public utility regulation and the purpose of the public utility commission.

     (b) A person is not eligible to be appointed if the person has been employed with an entity or an affiliated company of an entity that is subject to regulation by the commission within 1 year from the date when the person's term on the commission begins.

     (c) A person is not eligible for appointment unless the person has resided in the district to which the person is being appointed 2 years immediately before appointment."

 

     Section 51.  Section 69-1-104, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-104.  Public service utility commission districts. In this state there are five public service utility commission districts, with one commissioner elected appointed from each district, distributed as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

 

     Section 52.  Section 69-1-105, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-105.  Term of office -- term limits. (1) A term is for a period of 4 years. A commissioner The commissioners when elected appointed shall qualify at the time and in the manner provided by law for other state officers and shall take office on the first Monday of January after the election their appointment.

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

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

     (4)  When computing the time served for the purposes of subsection (3), the provisions of subsection (3) do not apply to time served in terms that ended during or prior to January 1995."

 

     Section 53.  Section 69-1-106, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-106.  Vacancies. (1) Any vacancy occurring in the commission must be filled by appointment by the governor as provided in this section. The appointee shall hold office until the next general election and until a successor is elected and qualified. At the biennial election following the occurrence of any vacancy in the commission, there must be elected one member to fill out the unexpired term for which the vacancy exists.

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

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

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

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

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

     (2) If the senate is not in session, the appointment is subject to confirmation during the next session. An appointment to fill a vacancy is for the unexpired term for which the vacancy exists."

 

     Section 54.  Section 69-1-107, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-107.  Presiding officer of commission. A presiding officer must be selected by the commission from its membership at the first meeting of each odd-numbered year after a general election."

 

     Section 55.  Section 69-1-112, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-112.  Prohibition on acceptance of favors from railroads. (1) Public service utility commissioners or their staff may not, directly or indirectly, solicit or request from or recommend to any railroad corporation or any officer, attorney, or agent the appointment of any person to any place or position, and any railroad corporation or its attorney or agent may not offer any place, appointment, or position or other consideration to commissioners or their staff. Commissioners and their staff may not accept, receive, or request any pass from any railroad in this state for themselves or for any other person, except as otherwise provided in 69-1-111, or any present, gift, or gratuity of any kind from any railroad corporation.

     (2)  A request or acceptance, except as specified in 69-1-111, of any place or position, pass, present, gift, or other gratuity referred to in subsection (1) results in forfeiture of the office of the commissioner or the staff requesting or accepting the same. A person violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor."

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 56.  Salaries of public utility commissioners. Before June 30 of each even-numbered year, the department of public utility regulation shall conduct a salary survey of public utility commissioners or officials with similar titles for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho. The department shall consider the current salary for the Montana commissioners in determining the average salary for the commissioners or officials with similar titles. If the average salary is greater than the salary for the commissioners in Montana, then beginning July 1 of the year following the year in which the survey is conducted, the average salary is the new salary for the commissioners.

 

     Section 57.  Section 69-1-201, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-201.  Definitions. As used in Title 69, chapter 2, part 2, and this part and part 2 of chapter 2, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Committee" means the legislative consumer committee provided for in Title 5, chapter 15, part 1.

     (2)  "Consumer counsel" means the consumer counsel provided for in Title 5, chapter 15, part 2.

     (3)  "Regulated companies" means all those organizations, corporations, associations, or other public or private entities which now that are or may hereafter in the future become subject to regulation in any manner by the department of public service utility regulation or the public service utility commission or any a successor agency."

 

     Section 58.  Section 69-1-223, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-223.  Funding of office of consumer counsel. (1) There is an account in the state special revenue fund to into which all fees collected under this section must be deposited and from which all appropriations to the office of the consumer counsel must be paid. An appropriation to the office of the consumer counsel may consist of a base appropriation for regular operating expenses and a contingency appropriation for expenses due to an unanticipated caseload.

     (2)  In addition to all other licenses, fees, and taxes imposed by law, all regulated companies shall:

     (a)  within 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter, file with the department of public service utility regulation and the department of revenue a statement, in a form that the commission and department may determine, showing the gross operating revenue from all activities regulated by the commission within the state for that calendar quarter of operation or portion of a quarter, separately stating gross revenue from sales to other regulated companies for resale; and

     (b)  at that time pay to the department of revenue a fee based on a percentage of the gross operating revenue reported, as determined by the department of revenue under 69-1-224.

     (3)  The amount of money which may be raised by the fee on the regulated companies during a fiscal year may not be increased, except as provided in 69-1-224(1)(c), from the amount appropriated, including both base and contingency appropriations, by the legislature for that fiscal year. Any additional money required for operation of the office of the consumer counsel must be obtained from other sources in a manner authorized by the legislature."

 

     Section 59.  Section 69-1-224, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-224.  Determination of fee. (1) On or before August 31 of each year, the department of revenue shall:

     (a)  determine the total gross operating revenue generated by all regulated activities within this state for all regulated companies for the previous fiscal year;

     (b)  compute the percentage, subject to revision as provided in subsection (2), of the amount determined in subsection (1)(a) that will produce an amount equal to the current appropriation to the office of the consumer counsel, except that a regulated company owned and operated by any a municipal corporation within this state may not be required to pay a sum in excess of 0.06 of 1% of its gross operating revenue;

     (c)  adjust the percentage multiplier computed in subsection (1)(b) to ensure that sufficient funds are generated to meet the appropriation and that excess funds are not generated or retained by:

     (i)  determining the appropriation to the office of the consumer counsel for the previous fiscal year and comparing it to the fees collected from the previous fiscal year;

     (ii) reducing or increasing the percentage determined in subsection (1)(b) for the current year in order to account for any difference determined in subsection (1)(c)(i); and

     (iii) if necessary, reducing the revenue to be collected for the current year by any funds remaining unspent at the close of the prior fiscal year; and

     (d)  give notice by mail to each regulated company of the percentage to be applied to the gross operating revenue reported under 69-1-223(2) to determine the amount of the fee to be paid.

     (2)  (a) The department of revenue shall adjust the percentage multiplier if the department considers a change necessary to meet or to not exceed the amount to be raised by the fee because of:

     (i)  fluctuations in the actual gross operating revenue subject to the fee; or

     (ii) submission and approval of a budget amendment authorizing the spending of money from a contingency appropriation included in the appropriation measure for the office of the consumer counsel and authorized to be raised by means of the fee.

     (b)  Adjustments of the percentage multiplier are subject to the exception provided in subsection (1)(b) for municipally owned and operated regulated companies.

     (c)  Regulated companies must be given receive at least 30 days' notice of any a change in the percentage multiplier.

     (d)  Any A change in the percentage multiplier is effective at the beginning of the next calendar quarter.

     (3)  In the event that If the fee charged in 1 year is in excess of the amount actually expended in that year, the excess must be deducted from the amount required to be raised by the fee for the next year before the determination required by subsection (1) is made. Money remaining unspent at the close of the fiscal year must be used to reduce the percentage calculated in subsection (1) in the subsequent fiscal year.

     (4)  All fees paid by a regulated company pursuant to this section are immediately recoverable by the regulated company in its rates and charges. Within 30 days after the issuance by the department of revenue of the notice required by subsection (1), the public service utility commission shall by separate order authorize each regulated company to fully recover in its rates and charges, on an annual basis, the fees levied by this part."

 

     Section 60.  Section 69-1-401, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-401.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Department" means the department of public service utility regulation provided for in Title 2, chapter 15, part 26.

     (2)  "Regulated companies" means all organizations, corporations, associations, or other public or private entities which now that are or may hereafter in the future become subject to regulation in any manner by the department of public service utility regulation, the public service utility commission, or any a successor agency. The term does not include motor carriers regulated pursuant to Title 69, chapter 12."

 

     Section 61.  Section 69-1-403, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-1-403.  Determination and collection of fee. (1) The fee provided for in 69-1-402 to be paid by regulated companies must be determined in the manner set forth in accordance with 69-1-224 for determining to determine the consumer counsel fee, except that gross revenues from sales to other regulated companies for resale, as calculated by the public service utility commission, must be excluded from the determination of the total gross operating revenue pursuant to 69-1-224.

     (2)  The department of revenue shall give notice by mail to each regulated company of the percentage determined pursuant to 69-1-224 and this section to be applied to gross operating revenues reported under 69-1-223, excluding gross revenues from sales to other regulated companies for resale, to a regulated company. Notice must be provided by mail.

     (3)  The fee provided for in 69-1-402 may be computed and collected in the manner as provided in 69-1-225 through 69-1-227.

     (4)  All fees Fees paid by a regulated company pursuant to this section are immediately recoverable by the regulated company in its rates and charges. Within 30 days after the issuance by the department of revenue of the notice required by 69-1-224(1), the public service utility commission shall by separate order authorize each a regulated company to fully recover in its rates and charges, on an annual basis, the fees levied by this part."

 

     Section 62.  Section 69-3-204, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-204.  Fees to be charged by commission. (1) The public service utility commission may, except as otherwise provided by law, require and receive fees before the filing of annual reports, schedules, and supplements not provided by law to be furnished free of charge.

     (2)  The commission shall require and receive an additional sum to be fee, set by the commission, to pay the cost of publishing notice as required by this chapter.

     (3)  This section does not require or authorize the public service utility commission to collect fees for the filing of annual reports, schedules, and supplements of these which relate related solely to interstate commerce."

 

     Section 63.  Section 69-3-307, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-307.  Treatment of advertisement costs and contributions. (1) Costs Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), costs or expenses incurred by public utilities for advertising, transfers of funds without full and adequate consideration, contributions, donations, and gifts may not be treated as expenses deductible from income or from capital assets or in any other manner by the public service utility commission in setting or regulating rates that may be charged by the public utilities pursuant to this chapter.

     (2) This section does not apply to advertising that encourages the conservation of energy, or encourages product safety, or informs the public of the availability of alternative forms of energy, or recommends usage at times of lower rates or lower demand. Furthermore, for communications public utilities, the

     (3) The provisions of this section do not apply to advertising by communications public utilities that relates to:

     (a) special equipment that is available to aid persons with disabilities; or to

     (b) special services that are designed to protect the public health, welfare, and safety, to promote;

     (c) the promotion of more efficient use of a communications system, or to promote; or

     (d) the promotion of the increased use of regulated communications services."

 

     Section 64.  Section 69-3-601, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-601.  (Temporary) Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Commission" means the Montana public service utility commission.

     (2)  "Electric cooperative" means a rural electric cooperative organized under the laws of Montana, or a foreign corporation admitted to do business in Montana.

     (3)  "Qualifying small power production facility" means a facility that:

     (a)  produces electricity by the use, as a primary energy source, of biomass, waste, water, wind, or other renewable resource, or any combination of those sources; or

     (b)  produces electricity and useful forms of thermal energy, such as including heat or steam, used for industrial, commercial, heating, or cooling purposes through the sequential use of energy known as cogeneration; and

     (c)  has a power production capacity that together with any other facilities located at the same site is not greater than 80 megawatts; and

     (d)  is owned by a person not primarily engaged in the generation or sale of electricity other than electric power from a small power production facility.

     (4)  "Utility" means any a public utility supplying electricity and regulated by the commission. (Repealed on occurrence of contingency--secs. 1, 3, Ch. 284, L. 2003--see part compiler's comment.)"

 

     Section 65.  Section 69-3-701, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-701.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Commission" means the Montana public service utility commission created established in 2-15-2602.

     (2)  "Conservation" means any a reduction in electric power or natural gas consumption as a result of an investment in measures that increase the efficiency of electricity or gas use in building shells, space heating or cooling equipment, water heating equipment, or refrigeration equipment or other cost-effective measures which, over its that over their economic life meet the criteria of 69-3-702."

 

     Section 66.  Section 69-3-803, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-803.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Commercial mobile radio service" means commercial mobile radio service as defined in 47 CFR 20.9.

     (2)  "Commission" means the public service utility commission.

     (3)  "Eligible telecommunications carrier" means a telecommunications provider designated by the commission under 69-3-840.

     (4)  "Fund" means the universal service fund established in 69-3-842.

     (5)  "Incumbent local exchange carrier" means, with respect to an area, the local exchange carrier that:

     (a)  on February 8, 1996, provided telephone exchange service in the area; and

     (b)  on February 8, 1996, was considered to be a member of the exchange carrier association pursuant to 47 CFR 69.601(b) or is a person or entity that, after that date, became a successor or assign of a member of the exchange carrier association.

     (6)  "Local telecommunications" means:

     (a)  telecommunications originating in a wireline local calling area, including extended area service areas, and terminating in the same wireline local calling area or extended area service area; or

     (b)  commercial mobile radio service that originates from or terminates to a commercial mobile radio service provider within the same major trading area as defined in 47 CFR 24.202(a).

     (7)  "Nonlocal telecommunications" means:

     (a)  wireline telecommunications traffic carried by either an interlocal access transport area carrier or an intralocal access transport area toll provider that originates in one wireline local calling area and terminates in another wireline local calling area; or

     (b)  commercial mobile radio service that originates in a major trading area and terminates in a different major trading area as defined in 47 CFR 24.202(a).

     (8)  "Originating carrier" means a telecommunications carrier from whose network a customer originates telecommunications traffic.

     (9)  "Private telecommunications service" means a system, including the construction, maintenance, or operation of the system, for the provision of telecommunications service or any portion of the service, by a person or entity for the sole and exclusive use of that person or entity and not for resale, directly or indirectly. For purposes of this definition, the term "person or entity" includes a corporation and all of its affiliates and subsidiaries if the corporation, affiliates, and subsidiaries have a common ownership or control of 80% of the outstanding voting shares.

     (10) (a) "Regulated telecommunications service" means two-way switched, voice-grade access and transport of communications originating and terminating in this state and nonvoice-grade access and transport if intended to be converted to or from voice-grade access and transport.

     (b)  Except as provided in 69-3-815, the term does not include the provision of terminal equipment used to originate or terminate the regulated service, private telecommunications service, one-way transmission of television signals, cellular communication, or provision of radio paging or mobile radio services.

     (11) "Retail revenue" means the gross Montana revenue from telecommunications services that originate or terminate in Montana and are billed for a service address in Montana, excluding revenue from the resale of telecommunications services to another telecommunications services provider that uses the telecommunications services to provide telecommunications services to the ultimate retail consumer who originates or terminates the transmission.

     (12) "Rural telephone company" means a local exchange carrier operating entity to the extent that the entity:

     (a)  provides common carrier service to any local exchange carrier study area that does not include either:

     (i)  all or any part of an incorporated place of 10,000 inhabitants or more based on the most recently available population statistics of the United States bureau of the census; or

     (ii) any territory, incorporated or unincorporated, included in an urbanized area, as defined by the United States bureau of the census as of August 10, 1993;

     (b)  provides telephone exchange service, including exchange access, to fewer than 50,000 access lines;

     (c)  provides telephone exchange service to any local exchange carrier study area with fewer than 100,000 access lines; or

     (d)  has less than 15% of its access lines in communities of more than 50,000 on February 8, 1996.

     (13) "Telecommunications" means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing without a change in the form or content of the information upon receipt.

     (14) (a) "Telecommunications carrier" or "carrier" means any provider of telecommunications services. A person providing other products and services in addition to telecommunications services is considered a telecommunications carrier only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services.

     (b) The term does not mean aggregators of telecommunications services as defined in 47 U.S.C. 226.

     (15) "Terminating carrier" means a telecommunications carrier upon whose network telecommunications traffic terminates.

     (16) (a) "Transit traffic" means telecommunications traffic that an originating carrier delivers to a transiting carrier or carriers for delivery to a terminating carrier.

     (b)  The term does not mean traffic carried by interlocal access transport area carriers or providers of intralocal access transport area toll services.

     (17) "Transiting carrier" means a telecommunications carrier or carriers that transport transit traffic from an originating carrier to a terminating carrier and that do not originate or terminate telecommunications traffic."

 

     Section 67.  Section 69-3-901, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-901.  Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Commission" means the Montana public service utility commission.

     (2)  "Rate" means a charge by a small telecommunications provider to a subscriber for the initiation or continued provision of regulated telecommunications service. The term includes but is not limited to charges for installations, local service, toll service, directory assistance, and late payment.

     (3)  "Rate increase" means an increase in the rates for regulated telecommunications services provided by a small telecommunications provider and the creation of new rates.

     (4)  "Regulated telecommunications service" is as defined in 69-3-803.

     (5)  "Small telecommunications provider" means a person, partnership, corporation, or other entity providing regulated telecommunications service to less than 12,000 subscribers in Montana. Rural telephone cooperatives organized under Title 35, chapter 18, are not small telecommunications providers.

     (6)  "Subscriber" means a person, partnership, corporation, or other entity acquiring regulated telecommunications service from a small telecommunications provider. There is one subscriber for each billed line of a small telecommunications provider."

 

     Section 68.  Section 69-3-1003, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-1003.  Reimbursement for discounts. (1) The public service utility commission shall authorize an additional monthly charge for each residential access line to fully reimburse providers of local telecommunications services for discounts given to eligible subscribers.

     (2)  The additional monthly charge for local exchange service applies to residential subscribers of providers of local telecommunications services that participate in the low-income telephone assistance program.

     (3)  Participation of each provider in the low-income telephone assistance program must be administered separately by the public service utility commission."

 

     Section 69.  Section 69-3-1004, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-1004.  Administration -- rules. (1) The public service utility commission shall monitor the effectiveness of the low-income telephone assistance program and issue annual reports as provided in 69-3-1005.

     (2)  The commission may adopt rules necessary to administer and implement the low-income telephone assistance program and to receive matching federal low-income telephone assistance."

 

     Section 70.  Section 69-3-1006, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-1006.  Federal requirements. The public service utility commission, the department of public health and human services, and participating providers of local telecommunications services shall comply with federal requirements for the receipt of matching federal low-income telephone assistance."

 

     Section 71.  Section 69-3-1007, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-1007.  Applicability -- voluntary participation or withdrawal. (1) Sections 69-3-1001 through 69-3-1006 apply to providers of regulated local telecommunications services with more than 50,000 subscribers.

     (2)  Regulated providers of local telecommunications services with fewer than 50,000 subscribers may petition the public service utility commission to participate in or to withdraw from the low-income telephone assistance program. The public service utility commission shall grant a petition to participate in or to withdraw from the low-income telephone assistance program unless federal requirements for obtaining matching federal low-income telephone assistance require otherwise."

 

     Section 72.  Section 69-3-1205, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-3-1205.  Public comment. (1) The commission shall conduct a public meeting for the purpose of receiving comment on a plan. The commission or the department of public service utility regulation may comment on the plan. A comment by the commission or the department may not be construed as preapproval by the commission of rate treatment for any proposed resource.

     (2)  The department of environmental quality:

     (a)  shall review a plan and comment on the need for new resources, the alternatives evaluated to meet the need, the environmental implications of the resource choices, and other related issues that it considers important. The department shall coordinate and deliver all comments from other executive branch agencies.

     (b)  may use a plan in the development of studies for a specific energy facility for which an application for a certificate of compliance is submitted under Title 75, chapter 20.

     (3)  The consumer counsel shall review and may comment on a plan."

 

     Section 73.  Section 69-4-305, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-4-305.  Effect on authority Authority of public service utility commission. Nothing contained in this part shall may be construed to vest any jurisdiction over any a public utility in the governing body. The public service utility commission shall retain retains all jurisdiction now or hereafter conferred upon on it by law."

 

     Section 74.  Section 69-4-314, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-4-314.  Determination of conversion costs. In (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), in determining the conversion costs included in the cost and feasibility report required by 69-4-313, the a public utility is entitled to amounts sufficient to repay it for the following, costs provided for in subsection (2) as computed and reflected by the uniform system of accounts approved by the Montana public service utility commission, the federal communications commission, or federal power commission or if.

     (b) If the public utility is not subject to regulation by any of the above governmental agencies the Montana public utility commission, the federal communications commission, or federal power commission, a public utility is entitled to amounts sufficient to repay it for costs provided for in subsection (2) as computed and reflected by the public utility's system of accounts then in use used by the public utility and in accordance with standard accounting procedures of the public utility.

     (2) Costs included in subsection (1) are:

     (1)(a)  the original costs, less depreciation taken of the existing overhead electric and communication facilities to be removed;

     (2)(b)  the estimated costs of removing the overhead electric and communication facilities, less the salvage value of the facilities removed;

     (3)(c)  if the estimated cost of constructing new underground facilities exceeds the estimated cost of constructing new aerial facilities, then the cost difference between the two;

     (4)(d)  the cost of obtaining new easements when technical considerations make it reasonably necessary to utilize use easements for the underground facilities different from those used for above ground facilities or where the preexisting easements are insufficient for the underground facilities."

 

     Section 75.  Section 69-4-356, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-4-356.  Payment of public utility. (1) Upon completion of the When a conversion contemplated by this part is complete, the public utility shall present the governing body with its a verified bill for conversion costs as computed pursuant to 69-4-314, but based upon on the actual cost of constructing the underground facility rather than the estimated cost of the facility. In the event the If the conversion costs are less than the estimated conversion costs, each assessed owner within the improvement district shall receive the benefit, prorated in such a form and at such time or times as a time determined by the governing body may determine. The bill of the public utility shall must be paid within 30 days by the governing body from the improvement district funds or such other source as is sources properly designated by the governing body.

     (2)  In determining the actual cost of constructing the underground facility, the public utility shall use its standard accounting procedures, such as including the uniform system of accounts as defined by the federal communications commission, federal power commission, or Montana public service utility commission and as is in use at the time of the conversion by the public utility involved."

 

     Section 76.  Section 69-5-121, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-5-121.  Definitions. As used in 69-5-122 and this section, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Electric utility" means a public utility regulated by the public service utility commission pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, that provides electrical service for heat, light, or power to a small customer.

     (2)  "Extension" means any works or improvements necessary to connect a residential structure of a small customer to an electric utility's distribution or transmission system.

     (3)  "Residential structure" means a single-family house, trailer, manufactured home, or mobile home, excluding any outbuildings, improvements, irrigation pumps, facilities, or other structures located on the property.

     (4)  "Small customer" has the meaning provided in 69-3-2003."

 

     Section 77.  Section 69-8-201, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-8-201.  Public utility -- customer electricity supply service options and requirements -- exemption. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsections (1)(b) and (1)(c), a retail customer that has an individual load with an average monthly demand of greater than or equal to 5,000 kilowatts and that is not purchasing electricity supply service from a public utility on October 1, 2007, may not purchase electricity supply service from a public utility.

     (b)  A retail customer referred to in subsection (1)(a) may request electricity supply service from the public utility, and the public utility shall provide electricity supply service if the retail customer demonstrates that the provision of electricity supply service to the retail customer will not adversely impact the public utility's other customers over the long term as determined by the commission.

     (c)  If a public utility provides electricity supply service to a retail customer as provided in subsection (1)(b), that service is regulated by the commission and the customer may not, at a later date, purchase electricity supply service from another provider of electricity supply service.

     (2)  (a) A retail customer that has an individual load with an average monthly demand of less than 5,000 kilowatts that is not purchasing electricity from a public utility on October 1, 2007, may continue to purchase electricity from an electricity supplier. The retail customer may subsequently purchase electricity from a public utility subject to commission rule or order, but the customer may not, at a later date, choose to purchase electricity from another source.

     (b)  A retail customer that has an individual load with an average monthly demand of less than 5,000 kilowatts and that is currently purchasing electricity from a public utility may not choose to purchase electricity from another source after October 1, 2007.

     (3)  Nothing in this section affects a retail customer's rights and obligations with respect to net metering, cogeneration, self-generation, or ancillary sales of electricity related to deviations from scheduled energy deliveries from nonutility suppliers, as may be provided for in law, commission rule or order, or a tariff approved by the public service utility commission or the federal energy regulatory commission.

     (4)  (a) Except as provided in 69-5-101, 69-5-102, 69-5-104(2), 69-5-105 through 69-5-112, 69-8-402, and subsection (4)(b) of this section, a public utility currently doing business in Montana as part of a single integrated multistate operation, no portion of which lies within the basin of the Columbia River, is exempt from the requirements of this chapter.

     (b)  To the extent that a public utility described in subsection (4)(a) becomes the successor in interest of another public utility that has restructured in accordance with this chapter before October 1, 2007, it is subject to the requirements of this chapter with respect to the service area of the acquired public utility."

 

     Section 78.  Section 69-8-215, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-8-215.  Ratepayer and shareholder protection. (1) Rates established pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, part 3, may not allow for the recovery of any portion of a civil judgment in a lawsuit arising out of litigation brought by the shareholders of a predecessor in interest against:

     (a)  the predecessor in interest;

     (b)  the officers or directors of the predecessor in interest;

     (c)  the legal advisers or consultants to the predecessor in interest; or

     (d)  any successor of the predecessor in interest, including a successor in interest.

     (2)  (a) Subject to subsection (3), an entity subject to regulation under Title 69, including the entity's subsidiaries and affiliates, may not be made a party to litigation brought by the shareholders of a predecessor in interest against:

     (i)  the predecessor in interest;

     (ii) the officers or directors of the predecessor in interest;

     (iii) the legal advisers or consultants to the predecessor in interest; or

     (iv) any successor of the predecessor in interest that is not a successor in interest.

     (b)  Except as provided in subsection (3), an entity subject to regulation under Title 69 may not be held liable for a civil judgment entered against:

     (i)  a predecessor in interest;

     (ii) the officers or directors of a predecessor in interest;

     (iii) the legal advisers or consultants to a predecessor in interest; or

     (iv) any successor of a predecessor in interest that is not a successor in interest.

     (3)  Subsection (2) does not apply:

     (a)  to a successor of a public utility regulated by the public service utility commission pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, on May 2, 1997, whose shareholders received stock as a result of the sale of a public utility; or

     (b)  if the liabilities resulting from, related to, or arising out of a reorganization, restructuring, or plan of merger were explicitly assumed by written contract to be the liabilities of the successor to the predecessor in interest.

     (4)  For the purposes of this section:

     (a)  "predecessor in interest" means a public utility regulated by the commission pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, on May 2, 1997, in which an interest was purchased through an arm's-length transaction in which the market value of the public utility property purchased was paid for in cash, debt assumption, or a combination of cash and debt assumption; and

     (b)  "successor in interest" means the purchaser of all or a portion of a public utility regulated by the commission pursuant to Title 69, chapter 3, on May 2, 1997, through an arm's-length transaction in which the market value of the public utility property purchased was paid for in cash, debt assumption, or a combination of cash and debt assumption."

 

     Section 79.  Section 69-11-421, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-11-421.  Liability of inland carriers for loss. (1) Any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company subject to the provisions of 69-11-421 through 69-11-427, receiving property for transportation from a point in Montana to any other point in Montana, shall issue a receipt or bill of lading for the property and is liable to the lawful holder of the bill of lading for any loss, damage, or injury to the property caused by it or by any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which the property may be delivered or over whose line or lines the property may pass within the state when transported on a through bill of lading. A contract, receipt, rule, or other limitation of any character may not exempt the common carrier, railroad, or transportation company from the liability imposed by this section.

     (2)  Except as provided in 69-11-422, a common carrier, railroad, or transportation company receiving property for transportation from a point in Montana to a point in Montana or any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company delivering property so received and transported is liable to the lawful holder of the receipt or bill of lading or to any party entitled to recover on the receipt or bill of lading, whether the receipt or bill of lading has been issued or not, for the full actual loss, damage, or injury to the property caused by it or by any common carrier, railroad, or transportation company to which the property may be delivered or over whose line or lines the property may pass within the state when transported on a through bill of lading, notwithstanding any limitation of liability or limitation of the amount of recovery or representation or agreement as to value in any receipt or bill of lading or in any contract or rule or in any tariff filed with the public service utility commission. Any limitation, without respect to the manner or form in which it is sought to be made, is unlawful and void, except:

     (a)  an inherent defect, vice, or weakness or a spontaneous action of the property itself;

     (b)  the act of a public enemy of the United States or of this state;

     (c)  the act of the law;

     (d)  an irresistible superhuman cause;

     (e)  the act or default of the shipper or owner; or

     (f)  for natural shrinkage.

     (3)  Nothing in 69-11-421 through 69-11-426 deprives any holder of a receipt or bill of lading of any remedy or right of action.

     (4)  The liability imposed by this section also applies in the case of property reconsigned or diverted in accordance with the applicable tariffs filed as provided in this part.

     (5)  A common carrier is liable, even in the cases excepted by subsection (2), if the carrier's ordinary negligence exposes the property to the cause of the loss."

 

     Section 80.  Section 69-11-422, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-11-422.  Permissible limitations on liability. (1) The provisions of 69-11-421 respecting regarding liability for full actual loss, damage, or injury, notwithstanding any limitation of liability, or recovery, or representation, or agreement, or release as to value, and declaring any such limitation to be unlawful and that is declared void, shall not do not apply to:

     (a)  baggage carried on passenger trains or buses; or

     (b)  property, except ordinary livestock, received for transportation, concerning which if the carrier shall have been or shall hereafter be is expressly authorized or is required by order of the public service utility commission to establish and maintain rates dependent upon on the value declared in writing by the shipper or agreed upon in writing, as the released value of the property.

     (2)  (a) In the case listed in If a limitation is allowed in accordance with subsection (1)(b), such a declaration or agreement shall have has no other effect other than to limit limiting liability and recovery to an amount not exceeding the value so declared or released, and shall not, so far as related, as it relates to values, be held to be a violation of the limitation does not violate 69-11-421 through 69-11-427. Any A tariff schedule which may be filed with the commission pursuant to the order referred to in subsection (1)(b) shall must contain specific reference thereto to the limitation and may establish rates varying with the value so declared and agreed upon on. The commission is hereby empowered to may make such an order in cases where in which rates dependent upon and varying with declared or agreed values would, in its opinion, be just and reasonable under the circumstances and conditions surrounding the transportation.

     (b)  The term "ordinary livestock" shall include all includes cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, and mules, except such as unless the cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, or mules are chiefly valuable for breeding, racing, show purposes, or other special uses."

 

     Section 81.  Section 69-12-302, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-12-302.  Class C contract requirements. (1) A Class C motor carrier may operate under no more than six contracts that are effective at any given time, and each. Each contract must be effective for a minimum of 180 days. Before transportation service may commence commences, pertinent contract information must be furnished provided to the commission for each contract on forms prescribed by the commission. The commission shall retain a duplicate of the information in its files, and a copy of the form, confirmed by the commission, must be kept in the cab of the motor carrier when operating under that contract.

     (2)  All Class C motor carriers shall annually submit to the commission the names and addresses of all persons, corporations, or other legal entities with whom the Class C carrier has executed a contract, charter, agreement, or undertaking for the distribution, delivery, or collection of wares, merchandise, or commodities or for transporting persons.

     (3)  The provisions of this section do not apply to solid waste contractors, transportation of recyclables, household goods carriers, or house movers, as defined by the department of public service utility regulation, or any carrier whose authority is limited to the pickup and delivery of property and is confined by certificate to transportation within a distance of 50 miles or less from a particular location. A carrier whose property authority is incidental to the transportation of persons is not included in the exemption under this subsection."

 

     Section 82.  Section 69-12-408, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-12-408.  Identification of ownership of certain large motor vehicles. (1) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person may not operate a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles having a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds on the highways of the state unless the name or trade name, city, and state or the name or trade name and the public service utility commission or department of transportation number is displayed on both sides of each vehicle operated under its own power, either alone or in combination. If a number is displayed, it must be the number of the person or corporation under whose jurisdiction the vehicle or vehicles are being operated.

     (b)  The display must be in letters in sharp contrast to the background and in a size, shape, and color readily legible in daylight from a distance of 50 feet while the vehicle is not in motion. The display must be maintained so that it remains legible. The display may be accomplished either by painting the information on the vehicle or through the use of a decal or a removable device prepared so that it meets the identification and legibility requirements of this section.

     (2)  This section does not apply to:

     (a)  farm vehicles; or

     (b) motor vehicles being:

     (i)  transported to dealers from point of manufacture;

     (ii) transported from one dealer to another;

     (iii) demonstrated to a prospective buyer; or

     (iv) delivered to a buyer from a dealer or a manufacturer."

 

     Section 83.  Section 69-12-421, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-12-421.  Annual fee for motor carriers. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), in addition to all of the licenses, fees, or taxes imposed upon on motor vehicles in this state and in consideration of the use of the public highways of this state, every a motor carrier shall, at the time of the issuance of a certificate and annually thereafter after issuance, on or between October 1 and the following January 31, pay to the public service utility commission of Montana a fee set by rule of the commission for every motor vehicle operated by the carrier over or upon on the public highways of this state.

     (2)  (a) A motor carrier engaged in seasonal operations only, where when its operations do not extend continuously over a period of not to exceed 6 months in any calendar year, shall only be required to pay compensation and fees in a sum equal to one-half of the compensation and fees herein provided required in this section.

     (b)  The compensation and fees herein imposed by this section shall do not apply to motor vehicles maintained and used by a motor carrier as standby or emergency equipment. The commission shall have the power and it is hereby made its duty to may determine what motor vehicles shall be classed as are standby or emergency equipment."

 

     Section 84.  Section 69-12-423, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-12-423.  Fees to be charged by commission. (1) The public service utility commission may, except as otherwise provided by law, require and receive fees before filing annual reports, tariffs, schedules, applications, and supplements not provided by law to be furnished free of charge.

     (2)  The commission shall require and receive an additional sum to be set by the commission to pay the cost of publishing such notice as may be required by this chapter.

     (3)  This section does not require or authorize the public service utility commission to collect fees for the filing of annual reports, tariffs, schedules, and supplements of these which relate related solely to interstate commerce."

 

     Section 85.  Section 69-12-601, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-12-601.  Carrier agreements. (1) Any A carrier, as defined in 69-12-101, which that is a party to an agreement between or among two or more carriers relating to rates, fares, classifications, divisions, allowances, or charges (,including charges between carriers and compensation paid or received for the use of facilities and equipment) or, rules pertaining thereto to an agreement, or procedures for the joint consideration, initiation, or establishment thereof of the agreement may, under such rules as the in accordance with commission prescribes rule, apply to the public service utility commission for approval of the agreement. The commission shall by order approve any an agreement if approval thereof is not prohibited by 69-12-602. The approval of the commission shall be Approval may be granted only upon such only based on terms and conditions as the prescribed by the commission may prescribe as necessary to enable it to grant its approval in accordance with this subsection.

     (2)  Each conference, bureau, committee, or other organization established or continued pursuant to any an agreement approved by the commission and the provisions of this section shall maintain such accounts, records, files, and memoranda and shall submit to the commission such reports as may be prescribed by the commission. All such accounts, Accounts, records, files, and memoranda shall be are subject to inspection by the commission or its duly authorized representative."

 

     Section 86.  Section 69-14-604, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-14-604.  Procedure to order construction of crossing. If a board of county commissioners orders the construction of a railroad crossing, the board shall enter an order upon in its minutes, specifying the place of the crossing. A copy of the order must be served upon the railroad company, and a copy must be immediately mailed to the public service utility commission."

 

     Section 87.  Section 69-14-607, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-14-607.  Overhead or underground crossings. (1) No A railroad crossing, other than a grade crossing, shall may not be ordered by any a board of county commissioners.

     (2)  (a) The public service utility commission may, however, upon petition or request in writing of any a board of county commissioners, order an overhead or underground crossing at any place where a railroad crossing has not been constructed and is required by the provisions of 69-14-601 through 69-14-611; provided, in its, if, in the commission's judgment, the safety, necessity, and convenience of the traveling public require such requires the crossing.

     (b)  When any such a petition or request is presented, the commission shall fix a date for hold a hearing the same and shall give and provide at least 10 days' written notice to the board of county commissioners and the owner or operator of the railroad to be affected by such the order. The notice must include of the time fixed for of the hearing. At such the hearing, the commission shall hear all accept testimony offered as to about the safety, necessity, and convenience of the traveling public requiring such, how a crossing will address those needs, and the expense of constructing and maintaining the same and shall crossing. The commission shall make such investigation and inspection of investigate and inspect the conditions at the place of crossing as may be deemed necessary or advisable and shall thereupon. Based on the hearing, investigation, and inspection, the commission shall determine whether such if an order should be made.

     (3)  In the event If an overhead or underground crossing is ordered, the commission may in its discretion require the same crossing to be constructed and maintained by and at the expense of the railroad company or may apportion the expense between the railroad company and the county in which said where the crossing is located. The part of the expense apportioned to said the county, if any, shall must be paid to the railroad company from the funds of said county funds properly applicable to the payment of such designated for the expense."

 

     Section 88.  Section 69-14-701, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-14-701.  Maintenance of fences -- exception -- penalty. (1) (a) Railroad Except as provided in subsection (1)(b), railroad corporations shall build and maintain a legal fence on both sides of their track and property and maintain cattle guards at all crossings over which cattle or other domestic animals cannot pass, except that a.

     (b) A fence is not required in places where water ditches, embankments, terrain, or other sufficient protection prevents domestic animals from straying onto the right-of-way.

     (c) An affected landowner or lessee may construct, maintain, or repair a fence subject to approval and reimbursement by the railroad corporation.

     (2)  If a railroad corporation does not build and maintain the a fence and guards and its engines or cars, because of the lack of a fence or maintenance of a fence, kill or maim cattle or other domestic animals upon its line of road, it the railroad corporation must pay to the owner of the cattle or other domestic animals, in all cases, a fair market price for the animal, unless it the incident occurred through the neglect or fault of the owner of the animal killed or maimed; however, nothing. Nothing in this section may be construed to prevent a person from recovering damages from a railroad corporation for its negligent killing or injury to cattle or other domestic animals at spurs, sidings, Ys, crossings, and turntables.

     (3) (a) An affected landowner or lessee may file a complaint with the public service utility commission when a fence is in disrepair or in need of maintenance. The public service utility commission shall certify that the fence is in need of repair and notify the railroad corporation responsible for the fence. The public service utility commission shall forward a copy of the complaint, a certification that the fence is in need of repair, and a verification that the railroad corporation was notified to the county attorney of the county within which where the site of the fence in disrepair is located.

     (b) Upon notice, the railroad corporation responsible for the fence shall repair the fence within 30 days, weather permitting. A railroad corporation failing to repair the fence within 30 days of notification shall pay a fine of $100 plus $50 a day each day after the 30th day of notification, for failure to repair the fence. The fine must be recovered in a civil action and deposited in the county general fund. It is the duty of the county attorney of the county within which where the site of the fence in disrepair is located to prosecute the action."

 

     Section 89.  Section 69-14-910, MCA, is amended to read:

     "69-14-910.  Connection of railroad to elevator or warehouse. (1) Every A railroad company or corporation organized under the laws of this state or doing business therein in this state shall, upon application in writing, provide reasonable sidetrack facilities and running connections between its main track and elevators and warehouses upon or contiguous to its right-of-way at stations. Every such A railroad corporation shall permit connections to be made and maintained in a reasonable manner with its sidetracks to and from any warehouse or elevator, without reference to its size, cost, or capacity, where grain is or may be stored. Such The railroad company shall not be is not required to construct or furnish any sidetracks, except upon its own land or right-of-way. The reasonable cost of the construction of such the sidetracks and connections, except the cost of the rails and fastenings, shall must be paid by the person or persons for whose benefit such benefiting from the sidetracks are provided or connections made.

     (2)  Where stations are 10 miles or more apart, the railroad company, when required to do so by the public service utility commission, shall construct and maintain a sidetrack for the use of shippers between such stations."

 

     Section 90.  Section 75-1-201, MCA, is amended to read:

     "75-1-201.  (Temporary) General directions -- environmental impact statements. (1) The legislature authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible:

     (a)  the policies, regulations, and laws of the state must be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in parts 1 through 3;

     (b)  under this part, all agencies of the state, except the legislature and except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), shall:

     (i)  use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach that will ensure:

     (A)  the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decisionmaking for a state-sponsored project that may have an impact on the Montana human environment by projects in Montana; and

     (B)  that in any environmental review that is not subject to subsection (1)(b)(iv), when an agency considers alternatives, the alternative analysis will be in compliance with the provisions of subsections (1)(b)(iv)(C)(I) and (1)(b)(iv)(C)(II) and, if requested by the project sponsor or if determined by the agency to be necessary, subsection (1)(b)(iv)(C)(III);

     (ii) identify and develop methods and procedures that will ensure that presently unquantified environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate consideration in decisionmaking for state-sponsored projects, along with economic and technical considerations;

     (iii) identify and develop methods and procedures that will ensure that state government actions that may impact the human environment in Montana are evaluated for regulatory restrictions on private property, as provided in subsection (1)(b)(iv)(D);

     (iv) include in each recommendation or report on proposals for projects, programs, and other major actions of state government significantly affecting the quality of the human environment in Montana a detailed statement on:

     (A)  the environmental impact of the proposed action;

     (B)  any adverse effects on Montana's environment that cannot be avoided if the proposal is implemented;

     (C)  alternatives to the proposed action. An analysis of any alternative included in the environmental review must comply with the following criteria:

     (I)  any alternative proposed must be reasonable, in that the alternative must be achievable under current technology and the alternative must be economically feasible as determined solely by the economic viability for similar projects having similar conditions and physical locations and determined without regard to the economic strength of the specific project sponsor;

     (II) the agency proposing the alternative shall consult with the project sponsor regarding any proposed alternative, and the agency shall give due weight and consideration to the project sponsor's comments regarding the proposed alternative;

     (III) the agency shall complete a meaningful no-action alternative analysis. The no-action alternative analysis must include the projected beneficial and adverse environmental, social, and economic impact of the project's noncompletion.

     (D)  any regulatory impacts on private property rights, including whether alternatives that reduce, minimize, or eliminate the regulation of private property rights have been analyzed. The analysis in this subsection (1)(b)(iv)(D) need not be prepared if the proposed action does not involve the regulation of private property.

     (E)  the relationship between local short-term uses of the Montana human environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity;

     (F)  any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposed action if it is implemented;

     (G)  the customer fiscal impact analysis, if required by 69-2-216; and

     (H)  the details of the beneficial aspects of the proposed project, both short-term and long-term, and the economic advantages and disadvantages of the proposal;

     (v)  in accordance with the criteria set forth in subsection (1)(b)(iv)(C), study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommend courses of action in any proposal that involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources. If the alternatives analysis is conducted for a project that is not a state-sponsored project and alternatives are recommended, the project sponsor may volunteer to implement the alternative. Neither the alternatives analysis nor the resulting recommendations bind the project sponsor to take a recommended course of action, but the project sponsor may agree pursuant to subsection (4)(b) to a specific course of action.

     (vi) recognize the potential long-range character of environmental impacts in Montana and, when consistent with the policies of the state, lend appropriate support to initiatives, resolutions, and programs designed to maximize cooperation in anticipating and preventing a decline in the quality of Montana's environment;

     (vii) make available to counties, municipalities, institutions, and individuals advice and information useful in restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the quality of Montana's environment;

     (viii) initiate and use ecological information in the planning and development of resource-oriented projects; and

     (ix) assist the legislature and the environmental quality council established by 5-16-101;

     (c)  prior to making any detailed statement as provided in subsection (1)(b)(iv), the responsible state official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any state agency that has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved in Montana and with any Montana local government, as defined in 7-12-1103, that may be directly impacted by the project. The responsible state official shall also consult with and obtain comments from any state agency in Montana with respect to any regulation of private property involved. Copies of the statement and the comments and views of the appropriate state, federal, and local agencies that are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards must be made available to the governor, the environmental quality council, and the public and must accompany the proposal through the existing agency review processes.

     (d)  a transfer of an ownership interest in a lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use or permission to act by an agency, either singly or in combination with other state agencies, does not trigger review under subsection (1)(b)(iv) if there is not a material change in terms or conditions of the entitlement or unless otherwise provided by law.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), an environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may not include a review of actual or potential impacts beyond Montana's borders. It may not include actual or potential impacts that are regional, national, or global in nature.

     (b)  An environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may include a review of actual or potential impacts beyond Montana's borders if it is conducted by:

     (i)  the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for the management of wildlife and fish;

     (ii) an agency reviewing an application for a project that is not a state-sponsored project to the extent that the review is required by law, rule, or regulation; or

     (iii) a state agency and a federal agency to the extent the review is required by the federal agency.

     (3)  The department of public service utility regulation, in the exercise of its regulatory authority over rates and charges of railroads, motor carriers, and public utilities, is exempt from the provisions of parts 1 through 3.

     (4)  (a) The agency may not withhold, deny, or impose conditions on any permit or other authority to act based on parts 1 through 3 of this chapter.

     (b)  Nothing in this subsection (4) prevents a project sponsor and an agency from mutually developing measures that may, at the request of a project sponsor, be incorporated into a permit or other authority to act.

     (c)  Parts 1 through 3 of this chapter do not confer authority to an agency that is a project sponsor to modify a proposed project or action.

     (5)  (a) (i) A challenge to an agency action under this part may only be brought against a final agency action and may only be brought in district court or in federal court, whichever is appropriate.

     (ii) Any action or proceeding challenging a final agency action alleging failure to comply with or inadequate compliance with a requirement under this part must be brought within 60 days of the action that is the subject of the challenge.

     (iii) For an action taken by the board of land commissioners or the department of natural resources and conservation under Title 77, "final agency action" means the date that the board of land commissioners or the department of natural resources and conservation issues a final environmental review document under this part or the date that the board approves the action that is subject to this part, whichever is later.

     (b)  Any action or proceeding under subsection (5)(a)(ii) must take precedence over other cases or matters in the district court unless otherwise provided by law.

     (c)  Any judicial action or proceeding brought in district court under subsection (5)(a) involving an equine slaughter or processing facility must comply with 81-9-240 and 81-9-241.

     (6)  (a) (i) In an action alleging noncompliance or inadequate compliance with a requirement of parts 1 through 3, including a challenge to an agency's decision that an environmental review is not required or a claim that the environmental review is inadequate, the agency shall compile and submit to the court the certified record of its decision at issue, and except as provided in subsection (6)(b), the person challenging the decision has the burden of proving the claim by clear and convincing evidence contained in the record.

     (ii) Except as provided in subsection (6)(b), in a challenge to the agency's decision or the adequacy of an environmental review, a court may not consider any information, including but not limited to an issue, comment, argument, proposed alternative, analysis, or evidence, that was not first presented to the agency for the agency's consideration prior to the agency's decision or within the time allowed for comments to be submitted.

     (iii) Except as provided in subsection (6)(b), the court shall confine its review to the record certified by the agency. The court shall affirm the agency's decision or the environmental review unless the court specifically finds that the agency's decision was arbitrary and capricious or was otherwise not in accordance with law.

     (iv) A customer fiscal impact analysis pursuant to 69-2-216 or an allegation that the customer fiscal impact analysis is inadequate may not be used as the basis of an action challenging or seeking review of the agency's decision.

     (b)  (i) When a party challenging the decision or the adequacy of the environmental review or decision presents information not in the record certified by the agency, the challenging party shall certify under oath in an affidavit that the information is new, material, and significant evidence that was not publicly available before the agency's decision and that is relevant to the decision or the adequacy of the agency's environmental review.

     (ii) If upon reviewing the affidavit the court finds that the proffered information is new, material, and significant evidence that was not publicly available before the agency's decision and that is relevant to the decision or to the adequacy of the agency's environmental review, the court shall remand the new evidence to the agency for the agency's consideration and an opportunity to modify its decision or environmental review before the court considers the evidence as a part of the administrative record under review.

     (iii) If the court finds that the information in the affidavit does not meet the requirements of subsection (6)(b)(i), the court may not remand the matter to the agency or consider the proffered information in making its decision.

     (c)  The remedy in any action brought for failure to comply with or for inadequate compliance with a requirement of parts 1 through 3 of this chapter is limited to remand to the agency to correct deficiencies in the environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1).

     (d)  A permit, license, lease, or other authorization issued by an agency is valid and may not be enjoined, voided, nullified, revoked, modified, or suspended pending the completion of an environmental review that may be remanded by a court.

     (e)  An individual or entity seeking a lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement or authority to act may intervene in a lawsuit in court challenging a decision or statement by a department or agency of the state as a matter of right if the individual or entity has not been named as a defendant.

     (f)  Attorney fees or costs may not be awarded to the prevailing party in an action alleging noncompliance or inadequate compliance with a requirement of parts 1 through 3.

     (7)  For purposes of judicial review, to the extent that the requirements of this section are inconsistent with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, the requirements of this section apply to an environmental review or any severable portion of an environmental review within the state's jurisdiction that is being prepared by a state agency pursuant to this part in conjunction with a federal agency proceeding pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

     (8)  The director of the agency responsible for the determination or recommendation shall endorse in writing any determination of significance made under subsection (1)(b)(iv) or any recommendation that a determination of significance be made.

     (9)  A project sponsor may request a review of the significance determination or recommendation made under subsection (8) by the appropriate board, if any. The appropriate board may, at its discretion, submit an advisory recommendation to the agency regarding the issue. The period of time between the request for a review and completion of a review under this subsection may not be included for the purposes of determining compliance with the time limits established for environmental review in 75-1-208. (Terminates on occurrence of contingency--sec. 11, Ch. 396, L. 2011.)

     75-1-201.  (Effective on occurrence of contingency) General directions -- environmental impact statements. (1) The legislature authorizes and directs that, to the fullest extent possible:

     (a)  the policies, regulations, and laws of the state must be interpreted and administered in accordance with the policies set forth in parts 1 through 3;

     (b)  under this part, all agencies of the state, except the legislature and except as provided in subsections (2) and (3), shall:

     (i)  use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach that will ensure:

     (A)  the integrated use of the natural and social sciences and the environmental design arts in planning and in decisionmaking for a state-sponsored project that may have an impact on the Montana human environment by projects in Montana; and

     (B)  that in any environmental review that is not subject to subsection (1)(b)(iv), when an agency considers alternatives, the alternative analysis will be in compliance with the provisions of subsections (1)(b)(iv)(C)(I) and (1)(b)(iv)(C)(II) and, if requested by the project sponsor or if determined by the agency to be necessary, subsection (1)(b)(iv)(C)(III);

     (ii) identify and develop methods and procedures that will ensure that presently unquantified environmental amenities and values may be given appropriate consideration in decisionmaking for state-sponsored projects, along with economic and technical considerations;

     (iii) identify and develop methods and procedures that will ensure that state government actions that may impact the human environment in Montana are evaluated for regulatory restrictions on private property, as provided in subsection (1)(b)(iv)(D);

     (iv) include in each recommendation or report on proposals for projects, programs, and other major actions of state government significantly affecting the quality of the human environment in Montana a detailed statement on:

     (A)  the environmental impact of the proposed action;

     (B)  any adverse effects on Montana's environment that cannot be avoided if the proposal is implemented;

     (C)  alternatives to the proposed action. An analysis of any alternative included in the environmental review must comply with the following criteria:

     (I)  any alternative proposed must be reasonable, in that the alternative must be achievable under current technology and the alternative must be economically feasible as determined solely by the economic viability for similar projects having similar conditions and physical locations and determined without regard to the economic strength of the specific project sponsor;

     (II) the agency proposing the alternative shall consult with the project sponsor regarding any proposed alternative, and the agency shall give due weight and consideration to the project sponsor's comments regarding the proposed alternative;

     (III) the agency shall complete a meaningful no-action alternative analysis. The no-action alternative analysis must include the projected beneficial and adverse environmental, social, and economic impact of the project's noncompletion.

     (D)  any regulatory impacts on private property rights, including whether alternatives that reduce, minimize, or eliminate the regulation of private property rights have been analyzed. The analysis in this subsection (1)(b)(iv)(D) need not be prepared if the proposed action does not involve the regulation of private property.

     (E)  the relationship between local short-term uses of the Montana human environment and the maintenance and enhancement of long-term productivity;

     (F)  any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposed action if it is implemented;

     (G)  the customer fiscal impact analysis, if required by 69-2-216; and

     (H)  the details of the beneficial aspects of the proposed project, both short-term and long-term, and the economic advantages and disadvantages of the proposal;

     (v)  in accordance with the criteria set forth in subsection (1)(b)(iv)(C), study, develop, and describe appropriate alternatives to recommend courses of action in any proposal that involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources. If the alternatives analysis is conducted for a project that is not a state-sponsored project and alternatives are recommended, the project sponsor may volunteer to implement the alternative. Neither the alternatives analysis nor the resulting recommendations bind the project sponsor to take a recommended course of action, but the project sponsor may agree pursuant to subsection (4)(b) to a specific course of action.

     (vi) recognize the potential long-range character of environmental impacts in Montana and, when consistent with the policies of the state, lend appropriate support to initiatives, resolutions, and programs designed to maximize cooperation in anticipating and preventing a decline in the quality of Montana's environment;

     (vii) make available to counties, municipalities, institutions, and individuals advice and information useful in restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the quality of Montana's environment;

     (viii) initiate and use ecological information in the planning and development of resource-oriented projects; and

     (ix) assist the legislature and the environmental quality council established by 5-16-101;

     (c)  prior to making any detailed statement as provided in subsection (1)(b)(iv), the responsible state official shall consult with and obtain the comments of any state agency that has jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect to any environmental impact involved in Montana and with any Montana local government, as defined in 7-12-1103, that may be directly impacted by the project. The responsible state official shall also consult with and obtain comments from any state agency in Montana with respect to any regulation of private property involved. Copies of the statement and the comments and views of the appropriate state, federal, and local agencies that are authorized to develop and enforce environmental standards must be made available to the governor, the environmental quality council, and the public and must accompany the proposal through the existing agency review processes.

     (d)  a transfer of an ownership interest in a lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use or permission to act by an agency, either singly or in combination with other state agencies, does not trigger review under subsection (1)(b)(iv) if there is not a material change in terms or conditions of the entitlement or unless otherwise provided by law.

     (2)  (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), an environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may not include a review of actual or potential impacts beyond Montana's borders. It may not include actual or potential impacts that are regional, national, or global in nature.

     (b)  An environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may include a review of actual or potential impacts beyond Montana's borders if it is conducted by:

     (i)  the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for the management of wildlife and fish;

     (ii) an agency reviewing an application for a project that is not a state-sponsored project to the extent that the review is required by law, rule, or regulation; or

     (iii) a state agency and a federal agency to the extent the review is required by the federal agency.

     (3)  The department of public service utility regulation, in the exercise of its regulatory authority over rates and charges of railroads, motor carriers, and public utilities, is exempt from the provisions of parts 1 through 3.

     (4)  (a) The agency may not withhold, deny, or impose conditions on any permit or other authority to act based on parts 1 through 3 of this chapter.

     (b)  Nothing in this subsection (4) prevents a project sponsor and an agency from mutually developing measures that may, at the request of a project sponsor, be incorporated into a permit or other authority to act.

     (c)  Parts 1 through 3 of this chapter do not confer authority to an agency that is a project sponsor to modify a proposed project or action.

     (5)  (a) (i) A challenge to an agency action under this part may only be brought against a final agency action and may only be brought in district court or in federal court, whichever is appropriate.

     (ii) Any action or proceeding challenging a final agency action alleging failure to comply with or inadequate compliance with a requirement under this part must be brought within 60 days of the action that is the subject of the challenge.

     (iii) For an action taken by the board of land commissioners or the department of natural resources and conservation under Title 77, "final agency action" means the date that the board of land commissioners or the department of natural resources and conservation issues a final environmental review document under this part or the date that the board approves the action that is subject to this part, whichever is later.

     (b)  Any action or proceeding under subsection (5)(a)(ii) must take precedence over other cases or matters in the district court unless otherwise provided by law.

     (c)  Any judicial action or proceeding brought in district court under subsection (5)(a) involving an equine slaughter or processing facility must comply with 81-9-240 and 81-9-241.

     (6)  (a) (i) In an action alleging noncompliance or inadequate compliance with a requirement of parts 1 through 3, including a challenge to an agency's decision that an environmental review is not required or a claim that the environmental review is inadequate, the agency shall compile and submit to the court the certified record of its decision at issue, and except as provided in subsection (6)(b), the person challenging the decision has the burden of proving the claim by clear and convincing evidence contained in the record.

     (ii) Except as provided in subsection (6)(b), in a challenge to the agency's decision or the adequacy of an environmental review, a court may not consider any information, including but not limited to an issue, comment, argument, proposed alternative, analysis, or evidence, that was not first presented to the agency for the agency's consideration prior to the agency's decision or within the time allowed for comments to be submitted.

     (iii) Except as provided in subsection (6)(b), the court shall confine its review to the record certified by the agency. The court shall affirm the agency's decision or the environmental review unless the court specifically finds that the agency's decision was arbitrary and capricious or was otherwise not in accordance with law.

     (iv) A customer fiscal impact analysis pursuant to 69-2-216 or an allegation that the customer fiscal impact analysis is inadequate may not be used as the basis of an action challenging or seeking review of the agency's decision.

     (b)  (i) When a party challenging the decision or the adequacy of the environmental review or decision presents information not in the record certified by the agency, the challenging party shall certify under oath in an affidavit that the information is new, material, and significant evidence that was not publicly available before the agency's decision and that is relevant to the decision or the adequacy of the agency's environmental review.

     (ii) If upon reviewing the affidavit the court finds that the proffered information is new, material, and significant evidence that was not publicly available before the agency's decision and that is relevant to the decision or to the adequacy of the agency's environmental review, the court shall remand the new evidence to the agency for the agency's consideration and an opportunity to modify its decision or environmental review before the court considers the evidence as a part of the administrative record under review.

     (iii) If the court finds that the information in the affidavit does not meet the requirements of subsection (6)(b)(i), the court may not remand the matter to the agency or consider the proffered information in making its decision.

     (c)  (i) The remedies provided in this section for successful challenges to a decision of the agency or the adequacy of the statement are exclusive.

     (ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of 27-19-201 and 27-19-314, a court having considered the pleadings of parties and intervenors opposing a request for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, or other equitable relief may not enjoin the issuance or effectiveness of a license or permit or a part of a license or permit issued pursuant to Title 75 or Title 82 unless the court specifically finds that the party requesting the relief is more likely than not to prevail on the merits of its complaint given the uncontroverted facts in the record and applicable law and, in the absence of a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, a permanent injunction, or other equitable relief, that the:

     (A)  party requesting the relief will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of the relief;

     (B)  issuance of the relief is in the public interest. In determining whether the grant of the relief is in the public interest, a court:

     (I)  may not consider the legal nature or character of any party; and

     (II) shall consider the implications of the relief on the local and state economy and make written findings with respect to both.

     (C)  relief is as narrowly tailored as the facts allow to address both the alleged noncompliance and the irreparable harm the party asking for the relief will suffer. In tailoring the relief, the court shall ensure, to the extent possible, that the project or as much of the project as possible can go forward while also providing the relief to which the applicant has been determined to be entitled.

     (d)  The court may issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, or other injunctive relief only if the party seeking the relief provides a written undertaking to the court in an amount reasonably calculated by the court as adequate to pay the costs and damages sustained by any party that may be found to have been wrongfully enjoined or restrained by a court through a subsequent judicial decision in the case. If the party seeking an injunction or a temporary restraining order objects to the amount of the written undertaking for any reason, including but not limited to its asserted inability to pay, that party shall file an affidavit with the court that states the party's income, assets, and liabilities in order to facilitate the court's consideration of the amount of the written undertaking that is required. The affidavit must be served on the party enjoined.

     (e)  An individual or entity seeking a lease, permit, license, certificate, or other entitlement or authority to act may intervene in a lawsuit in court challenging a decision or statement by a department or agency of the state as a matter of right if the individual or entity has not been named as a defendant.

     (f)  Attorney fees or costs may not be awarded to the prevailing party in an action alleging noncompliance or inadequate compliance with a requirement of parts 1 through 3.

     (7)  For purposes of judicial review, to the extent that the requirements of this section are inconsistent with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act, the requirements of this section apply to an environmental review or any severable portion of an environmental review within the state's jurisdiction that is being prepared by a state agency pursuant to this part in conjunction with a federal agency proceeding pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

     (8)  The director of the agency responsible for the determination or recommendation shall endorse in writing any determination of significance made under subsection (1)(b)(iv) or any recommendation that a determination of significance be made.

     (9)  A project sponsor may request a review of the significance determination or recommendation made under subsection (8) by the appropriate board, if any. The appropriate board may, at its discretion, submit an advisory recommendation to the agency regarding the issue. The period of time between the request for a review and completion of a review under this subsection may not be included for the purposes of determining compliance with the time limits established for environmental review in 75-1-208."

 

     Section 91.  Section 75-6-306, MCA, is amended to read:

     "75-6-306.  Furnishing of funds, personnel, or services by certain public agencies -- agreements for purchase, sale, distribution, transmission, transportation, and treatment of water or wastewater -- terms and conditions. A public agency entering into an agreement pursuant to this part may appropriate funds and may sell, lease, give, or otherwise supply to the authority personnel or services for the operation of the authority as may be within its legal power to furnish. A public agency, whether or not a party to an agreement pursuant to this part, and a publicly or privately owned water distribution company may enter into contracts with an authority, created pursuant to this part, for the purchase of water from the authority or the sale of water to the authority, for the treatment of water by either party, and for the distribution or transmission of water by either party. The authority may enter into the contracts. A public agency, whether or not a party to an agreement pursuant to this part, and a publicly or privately owned wastewater transportation or treatment system may enter into contracts with an authority, created pursuant to this part, for the transportation and treatment of wastewater by either party. The authority may enter into the contracts, subject to the prior approval of the public service utility commission, if the privately owned wastewater transportation or treatment system is subject to the jurisdiction of the public service utility commission. However, if the public service utility commission has not acted on a proposed contract within 90 days of its filing, approval is considered to have been granted. A contract may include an agreement for the purchase of water not actually received or the treatment of wastewater not actually treated. A contract may not be for a period in excess of 40 years, but renewal options may be included in the contract. The obligations of a public agency under a contract must be payable solely from the revenue produced from the public agency's water or wastewater system, and the public service utility commission, in the case of a water system whose rates are subject to its jurisdiction, shall permit the water system to recover through its rates revenue sufficient to meet its obligations under the agreement."

 

     Section 92.  Section 75-10-404, MCA, is amended to read:

     "75-10-404.  Powers of department. (1) The department may:

     (a)  administer and enforce the provisions of this part, rules implementing this part, and orders and permits issued pursuant to this part;

     (b)  conduct and publish studies on hazardous wastes and hazardous waste management;

     (c)  initiate, conduct, and support research, demonstration projects, and investigation, as its resources may allow, and coordinate state agency research programs pertaining to hazardous waste management;

     (d)  accept and administer grants from the federal government and from other sources, public and private; and

     (e)  abate public nuisances that affect the public health and welfare or the environment and that arise from or in connection with the past or present handling or disposal of any hazardous waste.

     (2)  The department shall integrate all provisions of this part with other laws administered by the department to avoid unnecessary duplication. Furthermore, the department shall coordinate its activities under this part with the program administered by the department of agriculture under the Montana Pesticides Act, the programs administered by the department of environmental quality related to mining and mine reclamation, the program administered by the department of public service utility regulation related to hazardous material transportation, and provisions of the Montana Major Facility Siting Act. The integration and coordination must be effected only to the extent that it can be done in a manner consistent with the goals and policies of this part and the other laws referred to in this section."

 

     Section 93.  Section 75-20-216, MCA, is amended to read:

     "75-20-216.  Study, evaluation, and report on proposed facility -- assistance by other agencies. (1) After receipt of an application, the department shall within 30 days notify the applicant in writing that:

     (a)  the application is in compliance and is accepted as complete; or

     (b)  the application is not in compliance and shall list the deficiencies. Upon correction of these deficiencies and resubmission by the applicant, the department shall within 15 days notify the applicant in writing that the application is in compliance and is accepted as complete.

     (2)  Upon receipt of an application complying with 75-20-211 through 75-20-213, 75-20-215, and this section, the department shall commence an evaluation of the proposed facility and its effects, considering all applicable criteria listed in 75-20-301, and shall issue a decision, opinion, order, certification, or permit as provided in subsection (3). The department shall use, to the extent that it considers applicable, valid and useful existing studies and reports submitted by the applicant or compiled by a state or federal agency.

     (3)  Except as provided in 75-1-205(4), 75-1-208(4)(b), and 75-20-231, the department shall issue, within 9 months following the date of acceptance of an application, any decision, opinion, order, certification, or permit required under the laws, other than those contained in this chapter, administered by the department. A decision, opinion, order, certification, or permit, with or without conditions, must be made under those laws. Nevertheless, the department retains authority to make the determination required under 75-20-301(1)(c) or (3). The decision, opinion, order, certification, or permit must be used in the final site selection process. Prior to the issuance of a preliminary decision by the board and pursuant to rules adopted by the department, the department shall provide an opportunity for public review and comment.

     (4)  Except as provided in 75-1-205(4), 75-1-208(4)(b), and 75-20-231, within 9 months following acceptance of an application for a facility, the department shall issue a report that must contain the department's studies, evaluations, recommendations, customer fiscal impact analysis, if required pursuant to 69-2-216, and other pertinent documents resulting from its study and evaluation. An environmental impact statement or analysis prepared pursuant to the Montana Environmental Policy Act may be included in the department findings if compelling evidence indicates that adverse environmental impacts are likely to result due to the construction and operation of a proposed facility. If the application is for a combination of two or more facilities, the department shall issue its report within the greater of the lengths of time provided for in this subsection for either of the facilities.

     (5)  For projects subject to joint review by the department and a federal land management agency, the department's certification decision may be timed to correspond to the record of decision issued by the participating federal agency.

     (6)  The departments of transportation; fish, wildlife, and parks; natural resources and conservation; revenue; and public service utility regulation and the consumer counsel shall report to the department information relating to the impact of the proposed site on each department's area of expertise. The report may include opinions as to the advisability of granting, denying, or modifying the certificate. The department shall allocate funds obtained from filing fees to the departments making reports and to the office of consumer counsel to reimburse them for the costs of compiling information and issuing the required report."

 

     Section 94.  Section 76-3-622, MCA, is amended to read:

     "76-3-622.  Water and sanitation information to accompany preliminary plat. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), the subdivider shall submit to the governing body or to the agent or agency designated by the governing body the information listed in this section for proposed subdivisions that will include new water supply or wastewater facilities. The information must include:

     (a)  a vicinity map or plan that shows:

     (i)  the location, within 100 feet outside of the exterior property line of the subdivision and on the proposed lots, of:

     (A)  flood plains;

     (B)  surface water features;

     (C)  springs;

     (D)  irrigation ditches;

     (E)  existing, previously approved, and, for parcels less than 20 acres, proposed water wells and wastewater treatment systems;

     (F)  for parcels less than 20 acres, mixing zones identified as provided in subsection (1)(g); and

     (G)  the representative drainfield site used for the soil profile description as required under subsection (1)(d); and

     (ii) the location, within 500 feet outside of the exterior property line of the subdivision, of public water and sewer facilities;

     (b)  a description of the proposed subdivision's water supply systems, storm water systems, solid waste disposal systems, and wastewater treatment systems, including:

     (i)  whether the water supply and wastewater treatment systems are individual, shared, multiple user, or public as those systems are defined in rules published by the department of environmental quality; and

     (ii) if the water supply and wastewater treatment systems are shared, multiple user, or public, a statement of whether the systems will be public utilities as defined in 69-3-101 and subject to the jurisdiction of the public service utility commission or exempt from public service utility commission jurisdiction and, if exempt, an explanation for the exemption;

     (c)  a drawing of the conceptual lot layout at a scale no smaller than 1 inch equal to 200 feet that shows all information required for a lot layout document in rules adopted by the department of environmental quality pursuant to 76-4-104;

     (d)  evidence of suitability for new onsite wastewater treatment systems that, at a minimum, includes:

     (i)  a soil profile description from a representative drainfield site identified on the vicinity map, as provided in subsection (1)(a)(i)(G), that complies with standards published by the department of environmental quality;

     (ii) demonstration that the soil profile contains a minimum of 4 feet of vertical separation distance between the bottom of the permeable surface of the proposed wastewater treatment system and a limiting layer; and

     (iii) in cases in which the soil profile or other information indicates that ground water is within 7 feet of the natural ground surface, evidence that the ground water will not exceed the minimum vertical separation distance provided in subsection (1)(d)(ii);

     (e)  for new water supply systems, unless cisterns are proposed, evidence of adequate water availability:

     (i)  obtained from well logs or testing of onsite or nearby wells;

     (ii) obtained from information contained in published hydrogeological reports; or

     (iii) as otherwise specified by rules adopted by the department of environmental quality pursuant to 76-4-104;

     (f)  evidence of sufficient water quality in accordance with rules adopted by the department of environmental quality pursuant to 76-4-104;

     (g)  a preliminary analysis of potential impacts to ground water quality from new wastewater treatment systems, using as guidance rules adopted by the board of environmental review pursuant to 75-5-301 and 75-5-303 related to standard mixing zones for ground water, source specific mixing zones, and nonsignificant changes in water quality. The preliminary analysis may be based on currently available information and must consider the effects of overlapping mixing zones from proposed and existing wastewater treatment systems within and directly adjacent to the subdivision. Instead of performing the preliminary analysis required under this subsection (1)(g), the subdivider may perform a complete nondegradation analysis in the same manner as is required for an application that is reviewed under Title 76, chapter 4.

     (2)  A subdivider whose land division is excluded from review under 76-4-125(2) is not required to submit the information required in this section.

     (3)  A governing body may not, through adoption of regulations, require water and sanitation information in addition to the information required under this section unless the governing body complies with the procedures provided in 76-3-511."

 

     Section 95.  Section 85-1-510, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-1-510.  Sale of power and allocation of revenue. (1) If the operator of a small-scale hydroelectric generation facility under this chapter and a public utility or an electric cooperative are unable to mutually agree to a contract for the sale of electricity or a price for the electricity purchased by the utility or electric cooperative, the public service utility commission shall require the utility or electric cooperative to purchase the power under rates and terms established as provided in 85-1-511 through 85-1-513.

     (2)  The revenue derived from hydroelectric power generation under this part must be deposited in the state water project hydroelectric power generation special revenue account created under established in 85-1-220. The funds in the account must be used to repair and rehabilitate state-owned water projects and works and to pay the cost of financing those activities."

 

     Section 96.  Section 85-1-511, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-1-511.  Determination by the public service utility commission. A determination of the rates and terms under which the power must be purchased shall must be made by the public service utility commission upon petition of the facility operator or a public utility or electric cooperative or during a rate proceeding involving the review of rates paid for electricity purchased from the facility. The commission shall render make a decision within 120 days from receipt of the petition or before the completion of the rate review proceeding. The rate and terms of the determination must be according to the standards specified in 85-1-512."

 

     Section 97.  Section 85-1-512, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-1-512.  Standards for the determination. (1) The standards for the a determination provided for in pursuant to 85-1-511 by the public service utility commission shall must include the following:

     (a)  Long-term encourage long-term contracts for the purchase of electricity by the utility or electric cooperative from a small-scale hydroelectric facility under this chapter shall be encouraged in order to enhance the economic feasibility of such facilities.;

     (b)  The include rates paid by a utility or electric cooperative to a small-scale hydroelectric facility may that do not exceed, over the term of the purchase contract, the incremental cost to the utility or electric cooperative of the electricity that, but for the purchase from the small-scale hydroelectric facility, the utility or electric cooperative would generate or purchase from another source.; and

     (c)  The establish rates to be paid by a utility or an electric cooperative for power purchased from a small-scale hydroelectric facility shall be established with consideration of the availability and reliability of the power produced.

     (2)  The commission may set these rates by use of any of the following methods:

     (a)  the levelized avoided cost over the term of the contract;

     (b)  the cost of production for the small-scale hydroelectric facility plus a just and reasonable return; or

     (c)  any other method that will promote the development of small-scale hydroelectric facilities."

 

     Section 98.  Section 85-1-513, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-1-513.  Purchase of power by electric cooperative not agreeing to be bound by public service utility commission determination. If any an electric cooperative wishing to purchase power from a small-scale hydroelectric facility under this chapter refuses to submit to the ratemaking authority of the public service utility commission established in 85-1-511, then the rate for such the cooperative may be determined by the federal energy regulatory commission upon proper petition. The facility shall sell power in accordance with such the federal energy regulatory commission determination, so long as the rates and terms so established will allow the facility a reasonable return."

 

     Section 99.  Section 85-7-1419, MCA, is amended to read:

     "85-7-1419.  Covenants in resolution authorizing issuance of bonds. A resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds under this part may contain covenants relating to:

     (1)  the purposes for which the proceeds of sale of the bonds may be applied and the use and disposition of the proceeds;

     (2)  the use and disposition of the revenue of the undertaking for which the bonds are to be issued, including the creation and maintenance of reserves;

     (3)  the issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenue of the undertaking;

     (4)  the operation and maintenance of the undertaking;

     (5)  the insurance to be carried on the undertaking and the use and disposition of insurance money;

     (6)  books of account and the inspection and audit of the books; and

     (7)  the terms and conditions upon under which the holders of the bonds or any portion of them the bonds or any trustee is entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the district court, which. If a receiver is appointed, the court shall have has jurisdiction in such the proceedings, and which the receiver may:

     (a)  enter and take possession of the undertaking;

     (b)  operate and maintain the undertaking;

     (c)  prescribe fees, subject to the approval of the public service utility commission if such approval is required; and

     (d)  collect, receive, and apply all revenues in the same manner as the issuer itself might do."

 

     Section 100.  Section 90-4-1202, MCA, is amended to read:

     "90-4-1202.  Definitions. Unless the context requires otherwise, in this part, the following definitions apply:

     (1)  "Ancillary services" has the meaning provided in 69-3-2003.

     (2)  "Bond" means bond, note, or other obligation.

     (3)  "Clean renewable energy bonds" means one or more bonds issued by a governmental body pursuant to section 54 of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 54, and this part.

     (4)  "Commission" means the public service utility commission provided for in 69-1-102.

     (5)  "Governing authority" means a council, board, or other body governing the affairs of the governmental body.

     (6)  "Governmental body" means a city, town, county, school district, consolidated city-county, Indian tribal government, or any other political subdivision of the state, however organized.

     (7)  "Intermittent generation resource" means a generator that operates on a limited and irregular basis due to the inconsistent nature of its fuel supply, which is primarily wind or solar power.

     (8)  "Internal Revenue Code" has the meaning provided in 15-30-2101.

     (9)  "Project" means:

     (a)  a facility qualifying as a "qualified project" within the meaning of section 54(d)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. 54(d)(2);

     (b)  a community renewable energy project as defined in 69-3-2003(4)(a); or

     (c)  an alternative renewable energy source as defined in 15-6-225."

 

     Section 101.  Section 90-4-1210, MCA, is amended to read:

     "90-4-1210.  Covenants in resolution of authorizing issuance of bonds. (1) A resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds under this part or a contract entered into under this part may contain covenants as to:

     (a)  the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of sale of the bonds or amounts payable under the contract may be applied and the disposition of the proceeds or amounts;

     (b)  the use and disposition of the revenue of the project, including the creation and maintenance of reserves;

     (c)  the transfer, from the general fund of the governmental body to the account or accounts of the project, of an amount equal to the cost of furnishing the municipality or any of its departments, boards, or agencies with the services, facilities, or commodities of the project;

     (d)  the issuance of other bonds or the incurrence of other contractual obligations payable from the revenue of the project;

     (e)  the operation and maintenance of the project;

     (f)  the insurance to be carried on the project and the use and disposition of insurance proceeds;

     (g)  books of account and the inspection and audit of the books; and

     (h)  the terms and conditions upon which the holders or trustees of the bonds or any portion of the bonds or the contracting party are entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the district court having jurisdiction.

     (2)  If a receiver is appointed, the receiver may:

     (a)  enter and take possession of the project;

     (b)  operate and maintain the project;

     (c)  prescribe rates, fees, or charges, subject to any required approval of the public service utility commission; and

     (d)  collect, receive, and apply all revenue arising from the project in the same manner as the governmental body itself might do."

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 102.  Transition. In order to implement the transition to an appointed commission, the terms of office of all current commissioners continue until expiration of their term.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 103.  Notification to tribal governments. The secretary of state shall send a copy of [this act] to each tribal government located on the seven Montana reservations and to the Little Shell Chippewa tribe.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 104.  Name change -- directions to code commissioner. Whenever a reference to the public service commission or department of public service regulation appears in legislation enacted by the 2017 legislature, the code commissioner is directed to change it to an appropriate reference to the public utility commission or the department of public utility regulation.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 105.  Codification instruction. [Section 56] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 69, chapter 1, part 1, and the provisions of Title 69, chapter 1, part 1, apply to [section 56].

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 106.  Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 107.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.

- END -

 


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