_________ Bill No. _______

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring that members of the fish, wildlife, and parks commission be elected rather than appointed by the governor; providing for staggered terms; and amending section 2-15-3402, MCA."

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

Section 1.  Section 2-15-3402, MCA, is amended to read:

"2-15-3402.   Fish, wildlife, and parks commission -- composition -- qualifications -- quasi-judicial. (1) There is a fish, wildlife, and parks commission.

(2)  The commission consists of five members who are elected at the general election. At least one member must be experienced in the breeding and management of domestic livestock. The governor shall appoint one One member must be elected from each of the following districts:

(a)  District No. 1, consisting of Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, Lake, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, Granite, and Lewis and Clark Counties;

(b)  District No. 2, consisting of Deer Lodge, Silver Bow, Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, Broadwater, Gallatin, Park, and Sweet Grass Counties;

(c)  District No. 3, consisting of Glacier, Toole, Liberty, Hill, Pondera, Teton, Chouteau, Cascade, Judith Basin, Fergus, Blaine, Meagher, and Wheatland Counties;

(d)  District No. 4, consisting of Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Petroleum, Garfield, McCone, Richland, Dawson, and Wibaux Counties;

(e)  District No. 5, consisting of Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, Carbon, Yellowstone, Big Horn, Treasure, Rosebud, Custer, Powder River, Carter, Fallon, and Prairie Counties.

(3) Following the initial election of members to the commission, all members shall serve 4-year terms. The terms of the members elected initially must be staggered with three members serving a 4-year term and two members serving a 2-year term. The determination of which members shall serve 2-year terms must be made among the members by drawing lots. Appointments Commissioners must be made elected without regard to political affiliation and must be made solely for the wise management of the fish, wildlife, and state parks and other outdoor recreational resources of this state. A person may not be appointed to the commission unless he is informed or interested and experienced in the subject of wildlife, fish, parks, and outdoor recreation and the requirements for the conservation and protection of wildlife, fish, parks, and outdoor recreational resources.

(4)  A vacancy occurring on the commission must be filled by the governor in the same manner and from the district in which the vacancy occurs for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(5)  The fish, wildlife, and parks commission is designated as a quasi-judicial board for purposes of 2-15-124, except that a member of the commission need not be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state. Notwithstanding the provisions of 2-15-124(1), the governor is not required to appoint an attorney to serve as a member of the commission."

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Transition. Commission members appointed prior to [the effective date of this act] shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.