Today at the Montana Legislature, state Representatives voted to pass a bill that would request that the federal government pay Montana five percent of all public land sales.
Senate Bill 298’s sponsor, Republican Senator Jennifer Fielder says that because the Forest Service split from the Department of the Interior, Montanans haven’t been getting their cut of the land sales because the federal government only monitors Department of Interior sales.
“Whenever those Forest Service lands are sold, they are public lands that are being sold by the federal government in Montana, but because they’re under a different agency they have taken the position that they don’t have to pay. I don’t know if they’ve ever been asked to pay.”
If collected, the bill stipulates that this federal money go to state schools. The amount is still unknown.
Many legislators are still skeptical that the federal government would actually pay and think this would be a waste of time.
It passed the second reading of the House 55-45, and awaits a third reading tomorrow.