2017 Montana Legislature
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SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22
INTRODUCED BY E. MCCLAFFERTY
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA REQUESTING AN INTERIM STUDY OF WAYS TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO PUBLIC LANDS THROUGH LEGAL MEANS WHILE PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS; AND REQUIRING THAT THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE STUDY BE REPORTED TO THE 66TH LEGISLATURE.
WHEREAS, local roads and easements across Montana provide access to public lands that are valued for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities; and
WHEREAS, accessing public lands on legally obtained easements and established public roads is integral to balancing the outdoor interests of all Montanans with the private property interests of individual landowners; and
WHEREAS, confusion and ambiguity exists in state law regarding the obtainment of legal easements and the establishment of public roads; and
WHEREAS, confusion and ambiguity create conflicts that play out in county commission chambers and courtrooms and sometimes result in threatening behavior; and
WHEREAS, attempts in recent legislative sessions to prevent the blocking of access on public roads have failed; and
WHEREAS, it is the role of the Legislature to provide clarity in the law for recreationists, public officials, and private landowners.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the Legislative Council be requested to designate an appropriate interim committee, pursuant to section 5-5-217, MCA, to:
(1) examine laws surrounding public roads, prescriptive easements, and other legal instruments that may be used to provide access to public lands while respecting private property rights;
(2) review current efforts to provide incentives to increase access to public lands, including the work of the Private Land/Public Wildlife Advisory Council and the Unlocking Public Lands Program; and
(3) explore laws or programs in other states that seek to provide access to public lands.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the interim committee seek input from local governments, recreationists, private landowners, and others.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all aspects of the study, including presentation and review requirements, be concluded prior to September 15, 2018.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the final results of the study, including any findings, conclusions, comments, or recommendations of the appropriate committee, be reported to the 66th Legislature.
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Latest Version of SJ 22 (SJ0022.01)
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