2017 Montana Legislature
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HOUSE BILL NO. 566
INTRODUCED BY A. REDFIELD
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATE LAND WHERE IT IS NOT FEASIBLE TO POST NOTICE; CREATING A CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR ENTERING CERTAIN PRIVATE LAND WITHOUT PERMISSION; AND AMENDING SECTION 45-6-201, MCA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 45-6-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"45-6-201. Definition of enter or remain unlawfully. (1) A person enters or remains unlawfully in or upon any vehicle, occupied structure, or premises when the person is not licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to do so. Privilege Except as provided in subsection (5), privilege to enter or remain upon land is extended either by the explicit permission of the landowner or other authorized person or by the failure of the landowner or other authorized person to post notice denying entry onto private land. The privilege may be revoked at any time by personal communication of notice by the landowner or other authorized person to the entering person.
(2) To provide for effective posting of private land through which the public has no right-of-way, the notice provided for in subsection (1) must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) notice must be placed on a post, structure, or natural object by marking it with written notice or with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fenceposts are used, the entire post must be painted; and
(b) the notice described in subsection (2)(a) must be placed at each outer gate and normal point of access to the property, including both sides of a water body crossing the property wherever the water body intersects an outer boundary line.
(3) To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall:
(a) place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or
(b) place notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land.
(4) If property has been posted in substantial compliance with subsection (2) or (3), it is considered closed to public access unless explicit permission to enter is given by the landowner or the landowner's authorized agent.
(5) In cases where it is not practicable to provide effective posting of private land as required by subsections (1) through (3), including private land that is unfenced and situated in a checkerboard ownership pattern with public lands, privilege to enter or remain upon land is extended only by the explicit permission of the landowner. Entry to private property as described in this subsection (5) from adjacent public lands without permission of the landowner or the landowner's agent is an absolute liability offense. A violator of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $50 or more than $500 or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 6 months, or both.
(5)(6) The department of fish, wildlife, and parks shall attempt to educate and inform all persons holding hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses or permits by including on any publication concerning the licenses or permits, in condensed form, the provisions of this section concerning entry on private land. The department shall use public media, as well as its own publications, in attempting to educate and inform other recreational users of the provisions of this section. In the interests of providing the public with clear information regarding the public nature of certain unfenced rural rights-of-way, the department may develop and distribute posting signs that satisfy the requirements of subsection (3).
(6)(7) For purposes of this section, "land" means land as defined in 70-15-102.
(7)(8) Civil liability may not be imposed upon the owner or occupier of premises by reason of any privilege created by this section."
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Latest Version of HB 566 (HB0566.01)
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