House Bill No. 615

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act establishing an interim commission to oversee, publicize, and report on a study of the socioeconomic impacts of gambling in Montana; providing an appropriation; amending section

23-7-402, MCA; and providing an effective date and a termination date."

WHEREAS, The Constitution of the State of Montana provides for the legalization of gambling through a vote of the people or the action of the Legislature; and

WHEREAS, there is a public policy statement in state law concerning gambling activities that includes the creation and maintenance of a regulatory climate; and

WHEREAS, state and local governments receive tax revenues generated by gambling; and

WHEREAS, there are citizens who are adversely affected by legalized gambling, including compulsive gamblers and their families; and

WHEREAS, there is no recent reliable data in Montana that substantiates the economic or social impacts of gambling; and

WHEREAS, the results of gambling studies conducted in other states and on a national basis are not specifically relevant to conditions in Montana.

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

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Gaming study commission -- composition -- vacancies. (1) There is an interim gambling study commission.

(2) The commission is composed of the following four members:

(a) one member, to be appointed by the governor, who holds a doctorate in a social science that is pertinent to socioeconomic analysis;

(b) two members from the Montana university system, one from the bureau of business and economic research or the sociology department of the university of Montana, the other from the school of business or the sociology department of Montana state university. The president of the university of Montana and the president of Montana state university shall each nominate three candidates for commission membership. The governor shall select and appoint one member from each list of nominees.

(c) one member, to be appointed by the governor, who is a mental health professional and who holds a doctorate degree or a master's degree with relevant subsequent certification and who has experience in the treatment of mental disorders that manifest in addictive behavior that includes gambling but who has no significant financial interest in the treatment of gambling addiction.

(3) The members of the commission shall elect a presiding officer from among the members.

(4) Any vacancy occurring on the commission must be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Meetings. The presiding officer shall schedule meetings of the commission as considered necessary and shall give notice of the time and place of each meeting to the members of the commission.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Reimbursement of expenses -- compensation. Each member of the commission is entitled to reimbursement for expenses as provided in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503.

NEW SECTION. Section 4. Powers and duties -- staff support -- recommendations -- report. (1) The commission shall request, fund, and subsequently evaluate and publicize a detailed study of the socioeconomic effects of gambling in Montana. The study may include but is not limited to:

(a) a demographic profile of the people who participate in gambling in Montana, including both residents and nonresidents;

(b) the number of private sector jobs and the amount of personal and business income directly or indirectly attributable to gambling;

(c) the impact of gambling on employment and income in other sectors of the economy outside of the gambling industry;

(d) the amount of tax revenue collected by the state and by local governments that is directly or indirectly attributable to gambling;

(e) the amount of expenditures by the state and by local governments, including law enforcement agencies, that is directly or indirectly attributable to gambling;

(f) demographic data on pathological and problem gamblers that is derived in a way to allow longitudinal comparisons with earlier studies in Montana;

(g) the impact of gambling on state and federal government transfer payments;

(h) data on the effects of gambling on the family, such as statistics related to divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse and neglect, and other familial dysfunction as well as general health and economic statistics that are pertinent to family stability and well-being; and

(i) the relationship of gambling to the numbers of Montana citizens who file for bankruptcy, who bring cases to small claims court, and who are subject to real property foreclosures.

(2) The commission shall establish goals and a budget for an unbiased and scientifically credible study as well as minimum qualifications and selection criteria for persons who submit proposals to conduct the study.

(3) The commission is responsible for determining the most cost-effective allocation of the funds appropriated in [section 5].

(4) The legislative services division shall provide staff support to the commission for administrative purposes and for the purpose of drafting and issuing of a detailed request for proposals in order to recruit qualified persons to conduct the study or studies.

(5) State and local agencies shall cooperate with the commission in the conduct of the study.

(6) On or before September 1, 1998, the commission shall submit to the legislature and the governor a comprehensive written report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. If legislation is recommended, the report must include a draft of the legislation.

(7) On or before October 1, 1998, the commission may use any available means, including informational public meetings, to disseminate the results of the study to the citizens of Montana.

NEW SECTION. Section 5.  Appropriation. (1) There is appropriated to the legislative services division for the purposes of funding and administering the study described in [section 4] and supporting the commission described in [section 1] $100,000 from the state lottery fund established in 23-7-401.

(2) The appropriation in subsection (1) is a biennial appropriation.

Section 6.  Section 23-7-402, MCA, is amended to read:

"23-7-402. Disposition of revenue. (1) A minimum of 45% of the money paid for tickets or chances must be paid out as prize money. The prize money is statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, to the lottery.

(2)  Commissions paid to lottery ticket or chance sales agents are not a state lottery operating expense.

(3)  That part of all gross revenue not used for the payment of prizes, commissions, and operating expenses, together with the interest earned on the gross revenue while the gross revenue is in the enterprise fund, is net revenue. Net Except as provided in subsection (5), net revenue must be transferred quarterly from the enterprise fund established by 23-7-401 to the state general fund.

(4)  The spending authority of the lottery may be increased in accordance with this section upon review and approval of a revised operation plan by the office of budget and program planning.

(5) For the purposes of funding a study of the socioeconomic impacts of gambling, $100,000 of net revenue may be appropriated from the enterprise fund established by 23-7-401."

NEW SECTION. Section 7.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.

NEW SECTION. Section 8.  Termination. [Section 6] terminates June 30, 1999.