Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. General Provisions

State Agencies Not To Shift Cost To Local Governments

1-2-116. State agencies not to shift cost to local governments. (1) A state agency may not take any action prohibited by subsection (2) without authorization in state law.

(2) A state agency may not demand, bill, request, or otherwise require a local government to take any of the following actions or make the provision of a service to a local government that is required by state law to be provided to that government contingent on the local government taking any of the following actions:

(a) pay for all or part of the administrative costs of a program, activity, or undertaking required by state law to be carried out primarily by a state agency;

(b) pay for costs of computer hardware or software used in the operation of a state program, activity, or undertaking or pay for the application of either hardware or software in a state program;

(c) pay for forms required to be completed either by a local government or by third persons through a local government office and used by or filed with a state agency; or

(d) pay for the filing in a state office of forms required by state law to be completed by a local government.

(3) (a) A local government may refuse to pay for services billed or charged to it by a state agency in violation of this section. Upon refusal by the local government, the state agency may send to the local government a written notice of the program or activity for which the local government is billed, a detailed statement of the amount of the bill or charge, and a citation to the legal authority requiring the local government to pay the bill or charge.

(b) Within 30 days of receipt of the notice required by this subsection (3), the local government shall pay the bill or charge or request a hearing before the state agency. Upon request, the state agency shall provide a hearing. If a local government fails to pay the bill or charge and fails to request a hearing, the state agency may initiate a contested case proceeding. Proceedings authorized by this subsection must be held in accordance with the provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act governing contested cases. A decision of the state agency following opportunity for a hearing may be appealed to the district court as provided in 2-4-702.

(4) The remedy provided in subsection (3) is exclusive of any other remedy provided in law for a state agency claiming a right to recover an administrative cost from a local government and is exclusive of any other remedy provided in law for a local government refusing to pay a bill or charge of a state agency.

(5) This section does not apply to services provided by a state agency pursuant to a written or oral contract.

(6) The following definitions apply to this section:

(a) "Administrative cost" means the cost of administering a program, activity, or undertaking, including costs for salaries, wages, rent, heat, electricity, computer hardware, computer software, telephone, travel, equipment, supplies, or postage.

(b) "Local government" means a county, city, town, township, school district, or other district or local public entity with the authority to spend or receive public funds.

(c) "State agency" means a department, board, commission, office, bureau, or other public authority of state government.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 496, L. 1995.