_________ Bill No. _______
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act creating the Montana family farm and ranch land conservation program; creating a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission; providing for the use of interest money from a temporary increase in the lodging facility use tax to stimulate economic prosperity in Montana through family farm and ranch land conservation; establishing a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation trust fund; creating a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation account and statutorily appropriating funds in the account; amending sections 15-65-111, 15-65-121, and 17-7-502, MCA; and providing an effective date and termination dates."
WHEREAS, Montana's future depends on conservation of family-managed agricultural land and the open spaces, biological richness, and aesthetic values that family-managed agricultural land maintains; and
WHEREAS, the Montana Legislature intends to create a program designed to facilitate and perpetuate the unique importance of Montana's family-based agricultural tradition in a manner that will bring together the broad spectrum of Montanans who share a commitment to the long-term protection and productive use of the land for future generations.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
A statement of intent is required for this bill because the Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission is authorized to adopt rules establishing policies for agriculturally supportive conservation easement acquisitions. It is the intent of this bill to provide a means for the commission to acquire, from willing sellers, a permanent interest in land for the purpose of preserving rural landscapes, while providing for the continued working of family farms and ranches and maintaining biological and public values. The rules must provide for a determination whether, consistent with agricultural viability and biological integrity, limited residential development sites may be retained by the seller of an agriculturally supportive conservation easement. The interests must be acquired, on behalf of the state, by the purchase of agriculturally supportive conservation easements. Rules must establish procedures for proposed acquisitions. The rules may provide for grants to nonprofit organizations whose purposes are substantially in accordance with the purposes of this bill and that are entitled to acquire agriculturally supportive conservation easements that support the purposes of the program. The rules must give priority to acquisitions that preserve family farm and ranch land that is involved in traditional agricultural activities, where those activities are threatened. The rules must provide for continuation of the property in an economically productive capacity, protection of landscapes, protection of property with significant biological and public values, consideration of impacts on adjacent public or private land, and impacts on local governments and social attributes.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission. (1) There is a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission. The commission consists of nine members. Seven members must be appointed by the governor, one member must be appointed by the president of the senate, and one member must be appointed by the speaker of the house. The commission is attached to the governor's office for administrative purposes.
(2) Of the members appointed by the governor:
(a) two members shall operate family farms or ranches and must be active in regional or local agricultural organizations;
(b) two members shall represent statewide conservation organizations that have been in operation for at least 10 years and that have in excess of 2,000 dues-paying members;
(c) one member shall represent a regional or statewide land trust that has been in operation for at least 5 years;
(d) one member must be an elected county official; and
(e) one member must be representative of a statewide agricultural organization that has been in operation for at least 10 years and that has in excess of 2,000 dues-paying members.
(3) Except for the initial appointments, members appointed by the governor shall serve 3-year terms. Legislative appointees shall serve 2-year terms. If a vacancy occurs, the appointing authority shall make an appointment for the unexpired portion of the term.
(4) Any decision by the commission must be made by an affirmative vote of at least seven members.
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Purpose. The Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission shall make funds available to acquire agriculturally supportive conservation easements in land for the purpose of conserving rural landscapes, while conserving and perpetuating working family farms and ranches and protecting lands with high biological and public values. The commission shall achieve this purpose by:
(1) purchasing, from willing private sellers, agriculturally supportive conservation easements; and
(2) making grants available to qualified nonprofit organizations whose purposes are substantially in accordance with the purposes of [sections 2 through 5] to enable them to acquire agriculturally supportive conservation easements from willing private sellers. An acquisition under this subsection must be approved by the commission.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Commission powers and duties. (1) The Montana family farm and ranch land conservation commission may contract with private, nonprofit organizations to assist in carrying out the purpose of [section 2] and this section. An organization shall conduct activities under the contract in accordance with the directions of the commission.
(2) The commission shall adopt rules that establish a policy for making agriculturally supportive conservation easement acquisitions. With respect to each acquisition, the policy must consider:
(a) only family farms and ranches with important biological attributes, as determined by the commission;
(b) the threat of the use of the property being converted from traditional viable agriculture;
(c) cooperation and support among other neighboring landowners and property owners to ensure that property rights are not affected;
(d) positive impacts on long-term agricultural productivity and perpetuation both within and beyond the boundaries of the agriculturally supportive conservation easement;
(e) landscape integrity and watershed integrity in the context of water quality and natural resource protection;
(f) habitats for fish and wildlife, including habitats for important, rare, or sensitive species;
(g) potential social and economic impacts to affected local governments and the state; and
(h) other matters that the commission considers necessary or appropriate.
(3) The commission shall approve proposals for agriculturally supportive conservation easement acquisitions and recommend the approved proposals to the board of land commissioners.
(4) The commission may solicit funds from other sources to support the purpose established in [section 2].
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Montana family farm and ranch land conservation account. There is a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation account. The state treasurer shall, quarterly, deposit money in the account from the funds available under [section 5]. The account is statutorily appropriated as provided in 17-7-502.
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Montana family farm and ranch land conservation trust fund. There is within the nonexpendable trust fund type in the state treasury a Montana family farm and ranch land conservation trust fund. Money is payable into the fund pursuant to 15-65-121. The board of investments shall invest the fund. The interest earnings on the fund must be deposited in the account provided for in [section 4].
Section 6. Section 15-65-111, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-65-111. Tax rate. (1) There is imposed on the user of a facility a tax at a rate equal to
4% 4.5% of the
accommodation charge collected by the facility.
(2) Accommodation charges do not include charges for rooms used for purposes other than lodging."
Section 7. Section 15-65-121, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-65-121. Distribution of tax proceeds -- general fund loan authority. (1) The proceeds of the tax imposed by
15-65-111 must, in accordance with the provisions of 15-1-501, be deposited in an account in the state special revenue fund
to the credit of the department of revenue. The department may spend from that account in accordance with an expenditure
appropriation by the legislature based on an estimate of the costs of collecting and disbursing the proceeds of the tax.
Before allocating the balance of the tax proceeds in accordance with the provisions of 15-1-501 and as provided in
subsections (1)(a) through (1)(e) of this section, the department shall determine the expenditures by state agencies for
in-state lodging for each reporting period and deduct
4% 4.5% of that amount from the tax proceeds received each reporting
period. The amount deducted must be deposited in the general fund. The amount of the tax proceeds attributable to the
0.5% increase for fiscal years ending June 30, 1999, must be deposited in the Montana family farm and ranch land
conservation trust fund. The balance of the tax proceeds received each reporting period and not deducted pursuant to the
expenditure appropriation or deposited in the general fund or the Montana family farm and ranch land conservation trust
fund is statutorily appropriated, as provided in 17-7-502, and must be transferred to an account in the state special revenue
fund to the credit of the department of commerce for tourism promotion and promotion of the state as a location for the
production of motion pictures and television commercials, to the Montana historical society, to the university system, and
to the department of fish, wildlife, and parks, as follows:
(a) 1% to the Montana historical society to be used for the installation or maintenance of roadside historical signs and historic sites;
(b) 2.5% to the university system for the establishment and maintenance of a Montana travel research program;
(c) 6.5% to the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for the maintenance of facilities in state parks that have both resident and nonresident use;
(d) 67.5% to be used directly by the department of commerce; and
(e) (i) except as provided in subsection (1)(e)(ii), 22.5% to be distributed by the department to regional nonprofit tourism corporations in the ratio of the proceeds collected in each tourism region to the total proceeds collected statewide; and
(ii) if 22.5% of the proceeds collected annually within the limits of a city or consolidated city-county exceeds $35,000, 50% of the amount available for distribution to the regional nonprofit tourism corporation in the region where the city or consolidated city-county is located, to be distributed to the nonprofit convention and visitors bureau in that city or consolidated city-county.
(2) If a city or consolidated city-county qualifies under this section for funds but fails to either recognize a nonprofit convention and visitors bureau or submit and gain approval for an annual marketing plan as required in 15-65-122, then those funds must be allocated to the regional nonprofit tourism corporation in the region in which the city or consolidated city-county is located.
(3) If a regional nonprofit tourism corporation fails to submit and gain approval for an annual marketing plan as required in 15-65-122, then those funds otherwise allocated to the regional nonprofit tourism corporation may be used by the department of commerce for tourism promotion and promotion of the state as a location for the production of motion pictures and television commercials."
Section 8. Section 17-7-502, MCA, is amended to read:
"17-7-502. Statutory appropriations -- definition -- requisites for validity. (1) A statutory appropriation is an appropriation made by permanent law that authorizes spending by a state agency without the need for a biennial legislative appropriation or budget amendment.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (4), to be effective, a statutory appropriation must comply with both of the following provisions:
(a) The law containing the statutory authority must be listed in subsection (3).
(b) The law or portion of the law making a statutory appropriation must specifically state that a statutory appropriation is made as provided in this section.
(3) The following laws are the only laws containing statutory appropriations: 2-9-202; 2-17-105; 2-18-812; 3-5-901; 5-13-403; 10-3-203; 10-3-310; 10-3-312; 10-3-314; 10-4-301; 15-1-111; 15-23-706; 15-30-195; 15-31-702; 15-37-117; 15-38-202; 15-65-121; 15-70-101; 16-1-404; 16-1-410; 16-1-411; 16-11-308; 17-3-106; 17-3-212; 17-5-404; 17-5-424; 17-5-804; 17-6-101; 17-6-201; 17-7-304; 18-11-112; 19-2-502; 19-6-709; 19-9-1007; 19-17-301; 19-18-512; 19-18-513; 19-18-606; 19-19-205; 19-19-305; 19-19-506; 20-8-107; 20-8-111; 20-9-361; 20-26-1503; 23-5-136; 23-5-306; 23-5-409; 23-5-610; 23-5-612; 23-5-631; 23-7-301; 23-7-402; 32-1-537; 37-43-204; 37-51-501; 39-71-503; 39-71-907; 39-71-2321; 39-71-2504; 44-12-206; 44-13-102; 50-4-623; 50-5-232; 50-40-206; 53-6-150; 53-6-703; 53-24-206; 60-2-220; 67-3-205; 75-1-1101; 75-5-1108; 75-6-214; 75-11-313; 76-12-123; [section 4]; 80-2-103; 80-2-222; 80-4-416; 81-5-111; 82-11-136; 82-11-161; 85-1-220; 85-20-402; 90-3-301; 90-4-215; 90-6-331; 90-7-220; 90-7-221; and 90-9-306.
(4) There is a statutory appropriation to pay the principal, interest, premiums, and costs of issuing, paying, and securing all bonds, notes, or other obligations, as due, that have been authorized and issued pursuant to the laws of Montana. Agencies that have entered into agreements authorized by the laws of Montana to pay the state treasurer, for deposit in accordance with 17-2-101 through 17-2-107, as determined by the state treasurer, an amount sufficient to pay the principal and interest as due on the bonds or notes have statutory appropriation authority for the payments. (In subsection (3): pursuant to sec. 7, Ch. 567, L. 1991, the inclusion of 19-6-709 terminates upon death of last recipient eligible for supplemental benefit; and pursuant to sec. 7(2), Ch. 29, L. 1995, the inclusion of 15-30-195 terminates July 1, 2001.)"
NEW SECTION. Section 9. Codification instructions. (1) [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 2, chapter 15, part 2, and the provisions of Title 2, chapter 15, part 2, apply to [section 1].
(2) [Sections 2 through 5] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 77, chapter 2, and the provisions of Title 77, chapter 2, apply to [sections 2 through 5].
NEW SECTION. Section 10. Termination. (1) [Sections 6 and 7] terminate July 1, 1999.
(2) [Sections 1 through 5 and 8] terminate July 1, 2001.
NEW SECTION. Section 11. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.