House Bill No. 71

Introduced By mood

By Request of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act increasing the emergency loan cap from the renewable resource grant and loan program from $1 million to $10 million; amending section

85-1-605, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 85-1-605, MCA, is amended to read:

"85-1-605.   Grants, loans, and bonds for state and local government assistance. (1) The department may recommend to the legislature that grants and loans be made from revenue deposited in the renewable resource grant and loan program state special revenue account, that loans be made from renewable resource bond proceeds deposited in the renewable resource loan proceeds account established in 85-1-617(5), and that coal severance tax bonds be authorized pursuant to Title 17, chapter 5, part 7, to provide financial assistance to a department, agency, board, commission, or other division of state government or to a city, county, or other political subdivision or local government body of the state. The legislature may approve by appropriation or other appropriate means those grants and loans that it finds consistent with the policies and purposes of the program.

(2)  Nothing in this part creates or expands the state's or a local government's authority to incur debt, and the legislature may authorize loans only to state and local government entities otherwise structured to incur debt.

(3)  Loans may not be authorized except to a state or local government entity that agrees to secure the authorized loan with its bond.

(4)  In addition to implementing those projects approved by the legislature, the department may request up to 10% of the grant funds available and up to $1 $10 million for loans from the renewable resource grant and loan program state special revenue account and the renewable resource loan proceeds account in any biennium to be used for emergencies. These emergency grant projects or loan projects, or both, may not be made because of the gross negligence of the state or local government applicant, must be approved by the department, and must be defined as those projects otherwise eligible for either grant funding or loan funding, or both, that, if delayed until legislative approval can be obtained, will cause substantial damages or legal liability to the project sponsor. In allocating the funds, the department shall inform the legislative finance committee of the legislature.

(5)  The grants and loans provided for by this section may be made for projects that enhance renewable resources in the state through conservation, development, management, or preservation; for assessing feasibility or planning; for implementing renewable resource projects; and for similar purposes approved by the legislature."

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.