Montana Public Radio

Flathead Water Rights Compact

Eric Whitney

On the calendar it may have been Presidents Day, but for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday was no holiday.

Flathead Water Compact On Monday's Legislative Agenda

Feb 13, 2015
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Monday, the Montana legislature will hear the bill to pass the Salish-Kootenai water compact, essentially mapping out water rights for the Flathead reservation and surrounding area. The bill’s sponsor is Republican Senator Chas Vincent of Libby, who was the compact’s opposition last session. He says, even amid death threats, he believes this year’s compact is better and absolutely necessary to ensure Montana keeps it’s water.

Steve Jess

This past weekend, about 40 of Montana’s state legislators did something unusual. After a very busy week, they stuck around when they could have gone home.

They spent close to three hours on a Saturday morning in the old Supreme Court chamber of the capitol, at the invitation of Republican Senator Chas Vincent of Libby.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk", tax cut bills are getting a lot of attention at the Montana Legislature this session. One legislator, Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior, introduced a bill that would put income tax cuts up to a vote via referendum. The bill drew bipartisan opposition during its hearing in the House. Schwaderer defended the bill saying, "taxation of income is theft."

Tax cuts could face vetoes from Gov. Bullock, who is intent on keeping at least a $300 million surplus.

Ag Groups Come Out In Support Of Flathead Water Compact

Jan 28, 2015
Judge James Manley today ruled the portion of the water compact unconstitutional that protects members of a yet-to-be-created water compact board from being sued.
Flickr user Brad Smith (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Some of Montana’s most influential agriculture organizations are lining up to support the Flathead water compact.

Yesterday the Montana Stockgrowers Association said it endorses the compact, which is a negotiated settlement between state and federal government and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Right now, ownership of water on the reservation is disputed, and the compact is an attempt to codify who owns and controls the water without having to go to court.

Chuck Johnson, Sally Mauk and Mike Dennison
Eliza Wiley

This week on "Capitol Talk:" disagreement over how much money to spend and what to spend it on is at the core of many political disputes at the Montana Legislature.

Both parties agree on the need to improve mental health services, but that's where the agreement ends.

The conflict over state employee pay continues from the last legislative session.

Lake County Democrats and the county’s Republican Women’s group are getting together to learn about the Flathead water compact at the end of the month.

The event happens Thursday January 29th, 7:00 p.m. at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo.

An attorney from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will present on the negotiated water settlement currently before the Montana legislature. An attorney for State of Montana will be on had to answer questions.

Friends, Foes Of Flathead Compact Speak Out

Jan 12, 2015
Eric Whitney

 Tonight in Helena Montana’s Reserved Water Rights Commission meets, and is expected to approve a huge water rights settlement between the state, the Confederated Salish and Kootnai Tribes and the federal government.

Draft Of New Flathead Compact Now Available

Jan 8, 2015

 

Negotiating teams for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the State of Montana, and the United States today released a revised draft of a proposed water right compact.

You can view the draft water compact here.

Rep. Jenny Eck (D) HD79.
Montana Legislature

The six Democrats on the House Rules Committee proposed a dozen amendments to the House rules, mostly designed to give bills backed by Democrats better odds of passage. 

Jenny Eck of Helena says it wasn’t just about protecting the rights of the minority, but about giving all members an equal say.

“What we were fighting was the ability of a small group to block the larger body from voting on issues that are of importance to the entire body."

Pages