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HOUSE BILL NO. 342
INTRODUCED BY B. RANEY
BY REQUEST OF THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON CI-75
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT AUTHORIZING PUBLIC OFFICERS AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO USE PUBLIC TIME, FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, PERSONNEL, OR FUNDS TO INFORM THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE VOTER INFORMATION PAMPHLET ABOUT A NEW TAX OR TAX INCREASE THAT IS SUBJECT TO THE ELECTION PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 17, OF THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION; AMENDING SECTIONS 2-2-121 AND 13-35-226, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 2-2-121, MCA, is amended to read:
"2-2-121. Rules of conduct for public officers and public employees. (1) Proof of commission of any act enumerated in subsection (2) is proof that the actor has breached a public duty.
(2) A public officer or a public employee may not:
(a) use public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds for the officer's or employee's private business purposes;
(b) engage in a substantial financial transaction for the officer's or employee's private business purposes with a person whom the officer or employee inspects or supervises in the course of official duties;
(c) assist any person for a fee or other compensation in obtaining a contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from the officer's or employee's agency;
(d) assist any person for a contingent fee in obtaining a contract, claim, license, or other economic benefit from any agency;
(e) perform an official act directly and substantially affecting to its economic benefit a business or other undertaking in which the officer or employee either has a substantial financial interest or is engaged as counsel, consultant, representative, or agent; or
(f) solicit or accept employment, or engage in negotiations or meetings to consider employment, with a person whom the officer or employee regulates in the course of official duties without first giving written notification to the officer's or employee's supervisor and department director.
A Subject to subsection (8), a public officer or public employee may not use public time, facilities, equipment,
supplies, personnel, or funds for any campaign activity persuading or affecting a political decision unless the use is:
(a) authorized by law; or
(b) properly incidental to another activity required or authorized by law, such as the function of an elected public official, the official's staff, or the legislative staff in the normal course of duties.
(4) A state employee may not participate in a proceeding when an organization of which the employee is an officer or director is:
(a) involved in a proceeding before the employing state agency that is within the scope of the employee's job duties; or
(b) attempting to influence a local, state, or federal proceeding in which the employee represents the state.
(5) A state officer or state employee may not engage in any activity, including lobbying, as defined in 5-7-102, on behalf of an organization of which the officer or employee is a member while performing the officer's or employee's job duties. The provisions of this subsection do not prohibit an officer or employee from performing charitable fundraising activities if approved by the employee's supervisor or authorized by law.
(6) A department head or a member of a quasi-judicial or rulemaking board may perform an official act notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (2)(e) if participation is necessary to the administration of a statute and if the person complies with the disclosure procedures under 2-2-131.
(7) Subsection (2)(d) does not apply to a member of a board, commission, council, or committee unless the member is also a full-time public employee.
(8) This part does not prohibit a public officer or public employee from using public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds to inform the public THROUGH THE VOTER INFORMATION PAMPHLET, PROVIDED FOR IN TITLE 13, CHAPTER 27, PART 4, about a new tax or tax increase that is subject to the election provisions of Article VIII, section 17, of the Montana constitution.
(8)(9) A person who purposely or knowingly violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon
conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $1,000, by imprisonment in the
county jail for not more than 6 months, or by both. A civil proceeding under 2-2-136 or 2-2-144 does not
preclude an action under this subsection."
Section 2. Section 13-35-226, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-35-226. Unlawful acts of employers and employees. (1) It is unlawful for any employer, in paying employees the salary or wages due them, to include with their pay the name of any candidate or any political mottoes, devices, or arguments containing threats or promises, express or implied, calculated or intended to influence the political opinions or actions of the employees. It is unlawful for an employer to exhibit in a place where the employer's workers or employees may be working any handbill or placard containing any threat, promise, notice, or information that, in case any particular ticket or political party, organization, or candidate is elected, work in the employer's place or establishment will cease, in whole or in part, or will be continued or increased; the employer's place or establishment will be closed; the salaries or wages of the workers or employees will be reduced or increased; or other threats or promises, express or implied, intended or calculated to influence the political opinions or actions of the employer's workers or employees. This section applies to corporations, individuals, and public officers and employees.
(2) A person may not attempt to coerce, command, or require a public employee to support or oppose any political committee, the nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of a ballot issue.
A Subject to 2-2-121(8), a public employee may not solicit support for or opposition to any political
committee, the nomination or election of any person to public office, or the passage of a ballot issue while
on the job or at the place of employment. However, subject to 2-2-121, this section is not intended to
restrict the right of a public employee to express personal political views.
(4) Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000, be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months, or both, for each separate offense."
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Contingent voidness. If Constitutional Initiative No. 75, enacting Article VIII, section 17, of the Montana constitution, is declared invalid, then [this act] is void.
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
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Latest Version of HB 342 (HB0342.02)
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