The Local Government Interim Committee met July 23, 2019 to kick off the 2019-2020 Interim. The committee elected Senator Margie MacDonald (D-Billings) presiding officer and Geraldine Custer (R-Forsyth) vice presiding officer before discussing the committee’s assigned study and other member generated topics.

The committee devoted a quarter of its time to Senate Joint Resolution 3, a study of alternative septic systems. The study calls for an evaluation of current state and local regulations governing the designing and permitting of septic systems and an exploration of alternative septic systems that may offer additional choices for citizens living in areas where a traditional septic system may not be practical or affordable. The committee also chose to widen the scope of the study to include an overview of the subdivision review process.

Since the committee was assigned only one study, members had the opportunity to volunteer additional topics of study. The committee allocated over a third of its committee time to investigate the entitlement share system and review the taxing authority of special districts. Both topics will allow the committee to gain better understanding of the financial relationship between the state and local governments and the methods local governments utilize to overcome budget challenges.

With their remaining time, the committee will explore methods to remedy affordable housing challenges and learn about the state pension system, focusing on how local responsibilities have changed over time. The committee chose to track the implementation of SB 302, a bill related to local government accounting and budgeting processes, and will monitor the Department of Administration while it works to adopt administrative rules to implement the bill. Lastly, the committee expressed interest in following the work of the Revenue Interim Committee and the Legislative Finance Committee as they complete studies related to state and local taxes, revenues, and expenditures.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for September 12, 2019 in Helena. For more information visit the committee’s website or contact Toni Henneman, committee staff, at or 406-444-3593.


The Legislative News.