Montana State Legislature

2021-2022 Local Government Interim Committee

Next Scheduled Meeting:

January 27-28, 2022
State Capitol Room 137 & Zoom

Meeting Information

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Committee Staff:

Toni Henneman, Research Analyst
Julie Johnson, Attorney
Bri Nordhagen, Secretary

The Local Government Interim Committee acts as a liaison between the state and local governments, providing a forum for discussing state oversight of local functions and intergovernmental cooperation, promoting effective local government regulations, and identifying desirable practices to promote effective and fair relationships between individual local governments and between local governments and the state.


Committee Members

November 18-19, 2021: Agenda - Minutes Log - Day 1: Audio/ Video Day 2: Audio / Video

September 23-24, 2021: Agenda - Minutes Log - Day 1: Audio / Video Day 2: Audio / Video

July 13, 2021: Agenda - Minutes Log - Audio/ Video

 

HJ 30 - Study of county water and/or sewer districts

SJ 13 - Study of prevailing wage laws

SJ 23 - Study allowing public notice via certain electronic publications

Miscellaneous Topics

The Local Government Interim Committee does not have rule review responsibilities or oversight authority over an agency.

However, the committee is required to receive certain reports:

Sand and Gravel Deposit Program: Section 82-2-701, MCA

The Bureau of Mines and Geology shall establish a Sand and Gravel Deposit Program to investigate, if funding allows, sand and gravel deposits in areas where of conflict between development and sand and gravel operations. In prioritizing areas for investigation, the Bureau must consider the largest counties (based on census data) and the counties with the most opencut mining permits and subdivision applications. Within 1 year of starting an investigation, the Bureau is required to report the results to the county in which the investigation occurred, the Environmental Quality Council, and the LGIC.

 

NEW for 2021-2022 Interim:

Experimental On-site Wastewater Systems Review: Section 76-4-104, MCA

            (Enacted through SB 54 – a bill drafted and introduced by the 2019-2020 LGIC)

The Department of Environmental Quality shall conduct biennial reviews of experimental on-site wastewater systems that receive a waiver or deviation for installation to determine if a system may be adopted into rule as an accepted system. Each interim, the department shall report to the LGIC the number and type of systems reviewed and those approved and also provide reasoning why a system was reviewed but not approved.

Assistance to Local Governments on Federal Land Management Proposals: Section 90-1-182, MCA:

            (Enacted through SB 57 – report originally sent to "an appropriate legislative interim committee")

Local governments may request that the Department of Commerce conduct socioeconomic impact reviews and analysis of significant federal land management proposals that impact local governments. The department shall advocate on the behalf of local governments using said reports before the agency issuing a federal land management proposal. The department shall report to the Local Government Interim Committee regarding the number of requests, the types of requests, and the number of responses handled annually.

Emergency Financial Assistance to Local Governments: Section 90-6-703, MCA:

            (Enacted through SB 57 – report originally sent to only the governor and the legislative fiscal analyst)

The Department of Commerce may provide emergency grants to local governments for infrastructure projects necessary to remedy conditions that may endanger public health or safety and expose the applicant to significant financial risk. The emergency grants may be used during a time period when legislative approval is not available. The department shall report biennially to the Governor, the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, and the LGIC regarding emergency infrastructure grants.


Additional statutory duty:

Ballot Initiative Review:

House Bill. No. 651 (Ch. 554, L. 2021) amended 5-5-215 to require interim committees to review proposed ballot initiatives within the interim committee's subject area and vote to either support or not support the placement of the text of an initiative on the ballot.

The bill also amends 13-27-202(5) to provide for the interim committee hearing and voting process and for notification of the outcome of the vote to the secretary of state:

            "(c) The appropriate interim committee or legislative council shall meet and hold a public hearing after receiving the information and vote to either support or not support the placement of the proposed initiative text on the ballot. The outcome of the vote must be submitted to the secretary of state no later than 14 days after receipt of the final text of the proposed issue and ballot statements. Nothing in this section prevents the interim committee from meeting remotely or via conference call. Proxies must be allowed for legislators unable to participate if a quorum of the committee or council meets to fulfill the requirements of this section.

            (d) The executive director shall provide written correspondence to the secretary of state providing the name of the interim committee or the administrative committee that voted on the proposal, the date of the vote, and the outcome of the vote conducted in accordance with subsection (5)(c)."

This requirement may result in additional committee meetings because the committee vote must be provided no later than 14 days after receipt of the final text of the ballot initiative.

Legislation will be posted as it becomes available, usually not until the later half of 2022.