House Bill No. 379

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act relating to continuing education for appraisers and assessors; requiring the department of revenue to offer a greater variety of subjects; requiring the department to offer continuing education to appraisers, assessors, and other department employees who choose to partake in the training; and amending sections 7-4-3007 and 15-7-106, MCA."

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

Section 1.  Section 7-4-3007, MCA, is amended to read:

"7-4-3007.   Qualifications for office of county assessor -- forfeiture of office. (1) In addition to the qualifications set forth in 7-4-2201, each assessor, before entering the duties of office, shall:

(a)  take and file with the county clerk the constitutional oath of office; and

(b)  certify to the county clerk that:

(i)  the assessor has satisfactorily completed the assessor certification training as provided in 15-7-106(4); or

(ii) the assessor intends to take the assessor certification training at the next offering.

(2)  An assessor forfeits office for failure to take and satisfactorily complete the assessor certification training within 36 months after taking office by election or appointment or for failure to satisfactorily complete continuing education when conducted by the department of revenue, unless the board of county commissioners finds that:

(a)  the assessor is excused for reasons beyond the assessor's control, including illness, a death in the family, or other good cause; or

(b)  there is no other qualified person available for appointment as assessor.

(3)  Subsections (1)(b) and (2) do not apply to county officers who are county assessors because their county office has been consolidated with the office of county assessor and who are not contractually required to perform property assessment duties for the department."

Section 2.  Section 15-7-106, MCA, is amended to read:

"15-7-106.   Courses of instruction, examination, and certification -- additional courses. (1) The department shall offer courses in the principles, methods, and techniques of appraising for property tax purposes property in three fields:

(a)  residential property;

(b)  agricultural land; and

(c)  commercial and industrial property.

(2)  The department shall conduct an examination for those who have completed a course of instruction in any of the three fields listed in subsection (1).

(3)  A person may not take the examination for appraising commercial and industrial property unless the person holds a certificate in appraising residential property.

(4)  The department may schedule shall offer and conduct other courses within the state for department-certified appraisers, and assessors, and other department personnel for training in the following subjects:

(a)  personal property assessment;

(b)  property tax administration; and

(c)  personnel management, fiscal management, public relations, professional ethics, and related management principles;

(d) advanced appraisal theory, methodology, and technique;

(e) office management; and

(f) technical operations.

(5) The curriculum for the instruction and training courses for department-certified appraisers must be approved by the board of real estate appraisers provided for in 2-15-1868.

(5)(6)  The department shall issue a certificate to each appraiser, assessor, or other person successfully completing a course of instruction and passing an examination in any of the fields provided for in subsection (1) or any subject provided for in subsection (4).

(7) After an employee has met position training requirements, the department shall provide the employee with the opportunity to take 30 hours of continuing education as provided in subsection (4) over 3-year cycles.

(8) The department shall provide to a person employed by the department as an appraiser the opportunity to take an additional 15 hours of educational training related to the standards of professional appraisal practice.

(9) The department shall bear all costs associated with the instruction and training opportunities in this section, including, when relevant, the travel, lodging, and per diem costs of each employee."