85-2-702. Negotiation with Indian tribes. (1) The reserved water rights compact commission, created by 2-15-212, may negotiate with the Indian tribes or their authorized representatives jointly or severally to conclude compacts authorized under 85-2-701. Compact proceedings must be commenced by the commission. The commission shall serve by certified mail directed to the governing body of each tribe a written request for the initiation of negotiations under this part and a request for the designation of an authorized representative of the tribe to conduct compact negotiations. Compact negotiations commence upon receipt of the written designation from the governing body of a tribe.
(2) When the compact commission and the Indian tribes or their authorized representatives have agreed to a compact, they shall sign a copy and file an original copy with the department of state of the United States of America and copies with the secretary of state of Montana and with the governing body for the tribe involved. The compact is effective and binding upon all parties upon ratification by the legislature of Montana and any affected tribal governing body, and approval by the appropriate federal authority.
(3) Upon its ratification by the Montana legislature and the tribe, the terms of a compact must be included in the preliminary decree as provided by 85-2-231, and unless an objection to the compact is sustained under 85-2-233, the terms of the compact must be included in the final decree without alteration. However, if approval of the state legislature and the tribe has not been accomplished by July 1, 2013, all Indian claims for reserved water rights that have not been resolved by a compact must be filed with the department within 24 months. These new filings must be used in the formulation of the preliminary decree and must be given treatment similar to that given to all other filings.