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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Capitol briefs: Gov. vetoes hunting & trapping bill; Capitol building to change hands

Montana Capitol dome
Ellis Juhlin
Montana Capitol dome

Gov. Gianforte vetoes bill requiring groups to post a bond when requesting blocks on hunting and trapping regulations
Ellis Juhlin | Montana Public Radio

A bill forcing groups to post a bond when requesting a judge temporarily block hunting or trapping regulations has been vetoed by Gov. Greg Gianforte.

The bill, brought in response to legal fights last fall over wolf trapping, would have required judges to set bond amounts based on a preliminary injunction’s perceived harm to hunters, trappers or their businesses.

In a letter to lawmakers, Gianforte said the bill “failed to address the root cause” of the problem of lawsuits challenging hunting and trapping laws, and that it would be almost impossible to quantify the financial losses from a blocked policy.

Supporters of the legislation said it was necessary to uphold Montanans’ constitutional right to hunt and fish, and prevent groups from bringing punitive litigation. Opponents of the bill said forced bonds were a threat to their equal access rights under the law.

Legislative branch set to take control of much of the Capitol complex
Shaylee Ragar | Montana Public Radio

Much of the state Capitol complex will transfer hands from the executive branch to state lawmakers in July. Gov. Greg Gianforte allowed that policy to become law, but didn’t sign it.

The state Legislature will take control of the basement, first, third and fourth floors of the Capitol building in Helena. The governor’s office will retain the second floor where its offices are. The bill includes $25 million for upkeep and renovations.

The governor’s office opposed the bill while it moved through the legislative process, saying the bill will create administrative confusion and create liability risks for the state. In a statement, the governor’s spokesperson Kaitlin Price said there’s a list of successes from the most recent legislative session, but this bill isn’t on it.

Both Democrats and Republicans, who supported the bill almost unanimously, said the bill will solidify the state Legislature’s seat at the table as a third co-equal branch of government.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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