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2024 Montana Primary elections
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Flathead Water Compact Gets Resurrected After Successful 'Blast' Motion

Montana Legislature

The  Flathead Water Compactworking its way through the Montana Legislature was briefly killed today, but quickly brought back to life.

Because the massive water-rights agreement contains $8 million for canal system upgrades, the bill was routed to the Senate finance Committee. There, Dayton Republican Janna Taylor tried to amend it to add financial accountability.

The Sponsor Republican Chas Vincent, saw ulterior motives.

"This is nothing but an attempt to amend the bill to kill the bill, and that’s you guys’ policy decision as well.  I just want you to know what you’re doing."

Vincent says the settlement with the Federal Government and the tribes has to be approved as-is, or negotiations would have to start over. At his request, the committee tabled the bill without amendments.

Taylor denies she was trying to scuttle the deal.

“If that was my intention I would have brought these amendments on the floor, which would have been much worse, and probably would have killed the bill," Taylor said. "That was absolutely not my intention."

When the committee adjourned, the compact was technically dead, but a few hours later Vincent asked the full Senate to pull the bill out of committee straight to the floor for a vote. These so-called “blast” motions rarely succeed, but this one did, and by a margin of nearly two-to-one. 

Senators will debate, and vote on the compact Wednesday morning.

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