Sunday, February 12, 2017

In my heart there was a kind of fighting, that would not let me sleep



Legislative Update Feb. 11, 2017

Thank you fellow literary lovers, who appreciated and replied to the last legislative update with additionally applicable Shakespearean quotes. You put a huge smile on my face. :)


Conservation - "Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, that would not let me sleep."

Next update - Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war! Quite appropriate for the details of Sen. Jennifer Fielder's attempt on our Constitution and Rep. Kerry White's attempt to carve up Fish, Wildlife & Parks by removing the "Parks" from FWP, sending our Parks to Commerce! That weighty piracy is over 150 pages already.

Thanks to the public's efforts HB 96 did not pass after it was not restored to its original form, though the sponsor, Rep. Zach Brown tried to remove Rep. Flynn's amendment. The final vote was aye 48 to no 52. Please make time to thank the legislators who voted against this bill, they need to hear our thanks, not just our comments, especially the 12 Republicans who did not make this a partisan issue - it was a Montana issue.

Considering the politics surrounding this bill, I would like to make a correction of a statement I heard during the hearing. Rep. Redfield incorrectly directed Representatives to look at their email comments, that the opposing HB 96 comments were not from landowners, but sportsmen. Yes, emails in opposition were from sportsmen and women from across Montana, but those hunters/anglers that are also landowners correctly identified themselves as FWP license holders, voicing concern about our hunting heritage and Montana's resource ethics. These hunters/anglers did not necessarily identify themselves as private landowners, because this issue should not have been about the "haves versus the have nots". I know a number of landowners that sent in comments of opposition, including Joe Perry, who owns thousands and leases more acreage in north Montana, who also happened to be on the PLPW council. Rep. Redfield's statement is part of the polarizing problem, with artificial boxes and labels, not part of the solution.


Ooops, there were a few mistakes on the block email addresses I received. I have double checked them now. For those of you who saved the emails, please make sure to adjust your lists.

House of Representatives:
Add -   Jbachmeier4hd28@gmail.com

Senate
Add - Sen.Margie.MacDonald@mt.gov
Remove - russtempel@gmail.com

 

Now here's something we can support...

Support - HB 295, is being heard in the House Judiciary Committee. To some, the penalty for breaking the law is so small, it is meaningless, like fining a billionaire $10 a day for gating off public access. This bill would increase the current fine, for failure to remove the encroachment, of $10 a day up to $500 a day. Now that may make some think twice about illegally cutting off access.
There are some who intentionally and illegally put up obstructions on public roads, to our public lands, to privatize them. 
Part of my conservation work involves access and I have personally documented a number of cases, contacting authorities of illegal signs, gates, obstructions, to get access restored. This is a growing problem in Montana.

A recent example of a locked, illegal gate (for about 30 years) is that of the Hughes Creek Road in Ravalli County. Generally the cost to restore access is borne by  individuals, hunting/angling groups and organizations like Public Lands/Water Access Association (contributions). Sometimes it is borne by the Montana taxpayers, as in the Tenderfoot Road case, which under Attorney General Bullock, began legal actions to restore access.

Outdoor recreation and tourism is one of the largest economic drivers in Montana, yet Montana leads the other western states with almost 2 million acres of public lands not accessible, some of which is illegal.

Please support HB 295 (Representative email addresses below)




Support - HB 290, currently in the House, Business and Labor committee. We need better commercial Outfitter reporting laws, not less. At this time, the Board of Outfitters does not have their own investigators/enforcers for their operational plans and records. Basically, they have been unregulated since they dropped the Memorandum of Understanding with FWP Enforcement in 2010 and stopped paying FWP (used to be $60,000, I have the MOU, Outfitting didn't supply my information request, I had to get it from FWP). It was years that the Board of Outfitting would not supply the data to FWP for the Private lands leased to outfitters map and the last year's map produced, 2015, the data was so questionable that FWP put a disclaimer on the map: "FWP assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the outfitter data (townships, ranges, sections) provided by the MBO (Montana Board of Outfitters). The MBO is the sole steward of outfitter data. Questions related to outfitter data depicted on this map should be directed to the MBO ."

In my 6 year FWP Game Warden Citation research, county dismissals of Outfitter citations is a whopping 43.29%. We have a serious problem here that involves our public trust resources.

This HB 290 requires the cooperation with state agencies,  annual reports that include increased information, including harvest data so that resources are accounted for, whether it is on public or private land, the name and automated licensing system number for each client. Not too much to ask for.

Please email the House Representatives in support of HB 290. (addresses below)


House of Representatives addresses

Rep.Kim.Abbott@mt.gov, Jbachmeier4hd28@gmail.com, nancyballance@aol.com, Danbartel2@gmail.com, becky4hd80@blackfoot.net, bennettforhouse@gmail.com, Rep.Seth.Berglee@mt.gov, Rep.Laurie.Bishop@mt.gov, randybrodehl57@gmail.com, Rep.Bob.Brown@mt.gov, brownformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Burnett@mt.gov, Rep.Rob.Cook@mt.gov, vcourtforlegislature@yahoo.com, Rep.Mike.Cuffe@mt.gov, Rep.Willis.Curdy@mt.gov, Amanda@amandaformontana.com, Rep.Geraldine.Custer@mt.gov, alandoane@midrivers.com, kimberly.dudik@gmail.com, Rep.MaryAnn.Dunwell@mt.gov, Rep.Jenny.Eck@mt.gov, Rep.Ron.Ehli@mt.gov, Rep.Janet.Ellis@mt.gov, jessmann@mt.gov, Rep.Dave.Fern@mt.gov, Rep.Ross.Fitzgerald@mt.gov, JohnFlemingStIgnatius@gmail.com, Rep.Kelly.Flynn@mt.gov, Rep.Moffie.Funk@mt.gov, wyliegaltformt@gmail.com, frankgarnerhd7@gmail.com, Rep.Carl.Glimm@mt.gov, edgreef@hotmail.com, rep.bruce.grubbs@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Gunderson@mt.gov, Rep.Jim.Hamilton@mt.gov, Rep.Bradley.Hamlett@mt.gov, Rep.Bill.Harris@mt.gov, Rep.Denise.Hayman@mt.gov, Rep.Adam.Hertz@mt.gov, greghertz11@gmail.com, elliehillhd94@gmail.com, Rep.Ken.Holmlund@mt.gov, Mikeformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Jacobson@mt.gov, donjonesmt2@gmail.com, Rep.Jessica.Karjala@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Kelker@mt.gov, Rep.George.Kipp@mt.gov, Rep.Jon.Knokey@mt.gov, austinforhouse@yahoo.com, Rep.Casey.Knudsen@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Lavin@mt.gov, Rep.Dennis.Lenz@mt.gov, Denleylogehd14@gmail.com, Rep.Ryan.Lynch@mt.gov, Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov, Rep.Theresa.Manzella@mt.gov, kelly@bigskytech.net, Rep.Nate.McConnell@mt.gov, Rep.Wendy.McKamey@mt.gov, Rep.Shane.Morigeau@mt.gov, Rep.Dale.Mortensen@mt.gov, marknolandhd10@gmail.com, Rep.james.ohara@mt.gov, Rep.Andrea.Olsen@mt.gov, Rep.Jimmy.Patelis@mt.gov, Rep.Rae.Peppers@mt.gov, Rep.Zac.Perry@mt.gov, Rep.Gordon.Pierson@mt.gov, jeanbigskybigwin@gmail.com, Rep.Alan.Redfield@mt.gov, Rep.Matt.Regier@mt.gov, Rep.Vince.Ricci@mt.gov, Atomicrosie@gmail.com, Rep.Marilyn.Ryan@mt.gov, Rep.Walt.Sales@mt.gov, Rep.Casey.Schreiner@mt.gov, Rep.Ray.Shaw@mt.gov, Rep.Lola.Sheldon-Galloway@mt.gov, Rep.Derek.Skees@mt.gov, repbsmith@gmail.com, scottstaffanson@gmail.com, Rep.Sharon.Peregoy@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Swanson@mt.gov, Rep.Jeremy.Trebas@mt.gov, Rep.Brad.Tschida@mt.gov, Rep.Barry.Usher@mt.gov, Rep.Sue.Vinton@mt.gov, Rep.Kirk.Wagoner@mt.gov, Webb4house@gmail.com, Rep.Susan.Webber@mt.gov, Twelch1213@gmail.com, winwithwhite@gmail.com, tomwoods4mt@gmail.com, Rep.Daniel.Zolnikov@mt.gov,


Senate email addresses

goodwind1.duane@gmail.com, rnewbar@gmail.com, Sen.Mark.Blasdel@mt.gov, Sen.Dee.Brown@mt.gov, ebuttrey@mtsenate.com, marycaferro@gmail.com, Sen.Jill.Cohenour@mt.gov, Sen.Pat.Connell@mt.gov, TFacey@mt.gov, Sen.Jennifer.Fielder@mt.gov, Sen.Steve.Fitzpatrick@mt.gov, Mrmac570@me.com, Sen.Jen.Gross@mt.gov, Sen.Steve.Hinebauch@mt.gov, Sen.Jedediah.Hinkle@mt.gov, brian@hovenequipment.com, sendavidhoward@gmail.com, Sen.Llew.Jones@mt.gov, Sen.Doug.Kary@mt.gov, Sen.Bob.Keenan@mt.gov, Sen.Mike.Lang@mt.gov, suemalek@gmail.com, edie.mcclafferty@gmail.com, Sen.Mary.McNally@mt.gov, moe.mt.senate@gmail.com, Sen.Eric.Moore@mt.gov, Sen.Albert.Olszewski@mt.gov, ryanosmundson@gmail.com, mikephillips@montana.net, Sen.JP@mt.gov, Sen.Keith.Regier@mt.gov, tomrichmondmt@gmail.com, Sen.Scott.Sales@mt.gov, dansalomon12@gmail.com, senatorsands@gmail.com, Sen.Jon.Sesso@mt.gov, Sen.Jason.Small@mt.gov, Sen.Cary.Smith@mt.gov, clairena@hughes.net, Sen.Nels.Swandal@mt.gov, Sen.Margie.MacDonald@mt.gov, sfredthomas@yahoo.com, vancesd34@gmail.com, cvvincent@hotmail.com, Sen.Gene.Vuckovich@mt.gov, webb4mt@hotmail.com, jeffwelborn@hotmail.com, Sen.Lea.Whitford@mt.gov, Sen.Cynthia.Wolken@mt.gov,

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Legislative Alert Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

While Shakespeare didn't have to deal with our Montana Legislature every two years, his sentiment is certainly applicable - "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more."

This is a quickie general newsletter dealing with legislative issues.

Federal
On the Federal level, great news, due to the massive outpouring of disgust from the public, Rep. Jason Chaffetz privatizing Federal Public Lands bill H.R. 621 was killed by the sponsor. This was his 3rd legislative attempt to bring this to Congress, variations occurring in 2013 & 2015.

 

Like the info commercials... But wait, there's more...
 Rep. Chaffetz also has H.R. 622 that would endanger the public, our resources and our Federal employees being stewards of our public lands. H.R. 622 seeks
"To terminate the law
enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes."

Ben Long has a good article -  Bill to Cut Forest Service and BLM Enforcement is a Poacher’s Dream, Sportsman’s Nightmare

Please contact your Federal Legislators and get Chaffetz H.R. 622
  killed as well.

H.R.861 was just introduced on the 3rd - To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency
The text is not available yet, but I think the title speaks for itself.


Montana
Federal public lands antagonist, Sen. Jennifer Fielder, is at it again. She has a
constitutional amendment referendum that seeks to bypass the Governor being able to veto her attempts.
LC2314 Constitutional referendum to safeguard right to hunt, fish, and trap wildlife

The language I am seeing would seriously set the stage for privatization, Ranching for Wildlife and introductions of "huntable" species that could wreak havoc on Montana's ecosystem, all under the guise of "hunting/fishing rights".  As a conservation hunter/angler, I am appalled by this draft.

It opens with demanding a "right", not the "opportunity" as our Constitution currently states, as though our State serves to provide the fish and wildlife for harvesting like some commercial market, elevating hunting, fishing and trapping with our other Montana rights, stating they are, "essential to pursuing life's basic necessities." This raises the State's bar from our current "opportunity" and a "heritage". Imagine an outfitter or trapper suing the State, saying that he couldn't be regulated from meeting "life's basic necessities"?

One of the changes to our Constitution would be: "(2) The opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals fish and wildlife is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state and does not create a right to trespass on private property or diminution of other private rights."

By removing "wild fish and wild game animals" opens the door for invasive and exotic species introductions. 


Do you want Montana turned into Texas with all it's exotic "huntable" game farms? Just yesterday a science article came up on my feed -
Invasive Wild Pigs Leave a Swath of Destruction Across U.S. – And They Keep Spreading!
I was at the Board of Livestock meeting where a  proactive bill was proposed, which thankfully passed in 2015, to restrict feral swine in Montana. Just this change alone would be a privatization nightmare in the making.

But wait...there's more... stating, "Fish and Wildlife management and conservation shall be subject to statutes that seek to:
"a) Scientifically manage fish and wildlife populations." Now y'all all know that I advocate for public trust doctrine scientific habitat, fish & wildlife management, but, there are times you have to deal with the social factor and this statement could remove the FWP Commission and public input, such as in the river rules.

"Protect citizens and private property from threats or harm caused by fish and wildlife."
This bit sounds like it came right out of USDA APHIS Wildlife Service's manual. This would conflict with Montana Supreme Court rulings Rathbone and Sackman about wildlife. "Montana is one of the few areas in the nation where wild game abounds. It is regarded as one of the greatest of the state's natural resources, as well as the chief attraction for visitors. Wild game existed here long before the coming of man. One who acquires property in Montana does so with notice and knowledge of the presence of wild game and presumably is cognizant of its natural habits. Wild game does not possess the power to distinguish between fructus naturales and fructus industriales, and cannot like domestic animals be controlled through an owner.
Accordingly a property owner in this state must recognize the fact that there may be some injury to property or inconvenience from wild game for which there is no recourse."

If Fielder feels that fish and wildlife are such a threat and in need of "controlling", perhaps she should have chosen another state to move to, maybe gone to work for a zoo and stayed out of Montana. Unless our fish and wildlife aren't really a "threat", but a means to sue and bankrupt our Fish, Wildlife & Parks, as well as limit our fish & wildlife on the landscape, increasing the commercialization of those that remain on the landscape - supply and demand. These are only two of the paragraphs worth of changes she is proposing.

Please contact your MT legislators (emails below) and stop her bull$h*t in it's tracks.

HB 315 and 318 FWP Licensing changes

In 2014, as a conservation hunter and angler, I and many others, participated in a very public process to review and discuss recommendations from an advisory council tasked with adjusting Montana's hunting and fishing licenses and fees. The call for the funding and license review came from both the 2013 Montana Legislature and Governor Steve Bullock. The Legislature passed House Bill 609, which requires the Montana Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council to conduct a study of hunting and fishing license statutes and fees, while Gov. Bullock requested that FWP begin a public effort to create FWP's budget for consideration
by the 2015 Legislature.

Nine public meetings were held in May to solicit comments on the council's recommendations. I participated in the Bozeman meeting on May 13th. The revisions would provide an additional $6.25 million a year to stave off deep budget cuts to fish and wildlife management programs,  simplify our licensing system; standardized license discounts for youth, seniors, and disabled hunters; a revamped base price structure and other adjustments to provide a fair and stable source of revenue for the state's fish and wildlife conservation efforts.

These two bills
dismiss this body of work that involved a tremendous public input, have only been in place for one year, therefore not supplying any supporting data showing a need for revision and are another attempt to cut FWP off at the knees, financially starving the department and the work it does.

HB 315 's Revising laws related to nonresident relative hunting and fishing licenses fiscal note shows the revenue lost to reduced prices:

  • Upland Game Bird Licenses - $880
  • Big Game Combination Licenses - $198,859
  • Deer Combination Licenses - $34,621
  • New Elk Combination Licenses - $174,960 (total of previous 3)
HB 318's Revise nonresident college student big game combination license fee fiscal note shows the revenue lost to reduced prices:
  •  Nonresident college student big game combination license - $13,478
In 2016 we sold 115 college student big game combo licenses at $505 for a total revenue to FWP of $58,075. In the previous year before the license changes were implemented we sold 477 college student big game combo licenses for $70 for a total of only $33,390. That is a huge difference to FWP revenue.

While we sold less tags under the revision, we gained $24,685 to fund our FWP resources.

Both bills are still in the House. Please contact the Representatives (addesses below), asking them to Oppose HB's 315 and 318. No data to support the need for license changes and FWP needs the revenue!


HB 96 was conceived through the Private Lands/Public Wildlife Council, amending MCA 87-2-513 to reward landowners for allowing public access hunting on their lands with 1 elk license or permit for every 4 public hunters. These landowner tags could only be used by their family members or their full-time employees. A number of us suspected this bill would be amended making this worse, and it was.

Rep. Kelly Flynn an outfitter from Townsend, added some amendments. 1. The landowner license or permit could designate anybody, 2. Landowner can't receive any compensation, 3. Landowner would have to name his designees, he was setting this up to be an additional program to address some of the concerns that this was double dipping for Block Management. Then suggested they add a sunset - conceptual amendment, so Kerry White suggested a sunset of June 2019, which also passed the Committee.

Now a landowner can transfer these elk licenses and permits to anyone, including non-resident hunters that would otherwise be purchasing out of state tags from FWP – and the landowner can sell access.

Don't be deceived, while the amendment text states, “An landowner may not receive compensation from a designee for a license or permit issued pursuant to this section or for hunting access on the landowner's property,” this is illegal and the landowners know it. Landowners can legally charge for access, it is their right. So either this restriction will be struck in another stage of the bill or if it passes, will be legally challenged in a court of law and struck, leaving us with ranching for wildlife.

In my numerous objections to elk shoulder seasons, I took screen shots of ads in the MT papers and on Craigslist that landowners put up advertising access fees for elk shoulder season hunts. I sent them to Gov. Bullock, Dir. Hagener, some FWP wildlife officials and our FWP Commissioners. Other members of the public also wrote in to complain.

As a result, I received an email from  FWP Dir. Hagener on Sept. 23, 2016, based on law:

"Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has received a number of emails concerning an advertisement in local newspapers for elk hunts on private land during a particular shoulder season. The opportunity offered includes a fee. Other than the time when they occur and the restrictions to private land, shoulder seasons are no different than elk season during archery and general rifle seasons. Just as landowners can, if they choose to charge for access then, they can charge for access during a shoulder season...

To respond specifically to the question asked by some on the legality of this landowner’s offering:

No, it is not illegal for a landowner to rent a cabin and/or charge an access fee to hunt on his property. That is no different than a landowner renting his property for grazing or harvesting a crop. FWP does not condone access fees, but they are not prohibited by law and are not something FWP can regulate.”

Please email the House (addresses below) to Oppose HB 96.




House email addresses (just copy and paste the block into your email TO: header)

 
Rep.Kim.Abbott@mt.gov, nancyballance@aol.com, Danbartel2@gmail.com, becky4hd80@blackfoot.net, bennettforhouse@gmail.com, Rep.Seth.Berglee@mt.gov, Rep.Laurie.Bishop@mt.gov, randybrodehl57@gmail.com, Rep.Bob.Brown@mt.gov, brownformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Burnett@mt.gov, Rep.Rob.Cook@mt.gov, vcourtforlegislature@yahoo.com, Rep.Mike.Cuffe@mt.gov, Rep.Willis.Curdy@mt.gov, Amanda@amandaformontana.com, Rep.Geraldine.Custer@mt.gov, alandoane@midrivers.com, kimberly.dudik@gmail.com, Rep.MaryAnn.Dunwell@mt.gov, Rep.Jenny.Eck@mt.gov, Rep.Ron.Ehli@mt.gov, Rep.Janet.Ellis@mt.gov, jessmann@mt.gov, Rep.Dave.Fern@mt.gov, Rep.Ross.Fitzgerald@mt.gov, JohnFlemingStIgnatius@gmail.com, Rep.Kelly.Flynn@mt.gov, Rep.Moffie.Funk@mt.gov, wyliegaltformt@gmail.com, frankgarnerhd7@gmail.com, Rep.Carl.Glimm@mt.gov, edgreef@hotmail.com, rep.bruce.grubbs@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Gunderson@mt.gov, Rep.Jim.Hamilton@mt.gov, Rep.Bradley.Hamlett@mt.gov, Rep.Bill.Harris@mt.gov, Rep.Denise.Hayman@mt.gov, Rep.Adam.Hertz@mt.gov, greghertz11@gmail.com, elliehillhd94@gmail.com, Rep.Ken.Holmlund@mt.gov, Mikeformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Jacobson@mt.gov, donjonesmt2@gmail.com, Rep.Jessica.Karjala@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Kelker@mt.gov, Rep.George.Kipp@mt.gov, Rep.Jon.Knokey@mt.gov, austinforhouse@yahoo.com, Rep.Casey.Knudsen@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Lavin@mt.gov, Rep.Dennis.Lenz@mt.gov, Denleylogehd14@gmail.com, Rep.Ryan.Lynch@mt.gov, Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov, Rep.Theresa.Manzella@mt.gov, kelly@bigskytech.net, Rep.Nate.McConnell@mt.gov, Rep.Wendy.McKamey@mt.gov, Rep.Shane.Morigeau@mt.gov, Rep.Dale.Mortensen@mt.gov, marknolandhd10@gmail.com, Rep.james.ohara@mt.gov, Rep.Andrea.Olsen@mt.gov, Rep.Jimmy.Patelis@mt.gov, Rep.Rae.Peppers@mt.gov, Rep.Zac.Perry@mt.gov, Rep.Gordon.Pierson@mt.gov, jeanbigskybigwin@gmail.com, Rep.Alan.Redfield@mt.gov, Rep.Matt.Regier@mt.gov, Rep.Vince.Ricci@mt.gov, Atomicrosie@gmail.com, Rep.Marilyn.Ryan@mt.gov, Rep.Walt.Sales@mt.gov, Rep.Casey.Schreiner@mt.gov, Rep.Ray.Shaw@mt.gov, Rep.Lola.Sheldon-Galloway@mt.gov, Rep.Derek.Skees@mt.gov, repbsmith@gmail.com, scottstaffanson@gmail.com, Rep.Sharon.Peregoy@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Swanson@mt.gov, Rep.Jeremy.Trebas@mt.gov, Rep.Brad.Tschida@mt.gov, Rep.Barry.Usher@mt.gov, Rep.Sue.Vinton@mt.gov, Rep.Kirk.Wagoner@mt.gov, Webb4house@gmail.com, Rep.Susan.Webber@mt.gov, Twelch1213@gmail.com, winwithwhite@gmail.com, tomwoods4mt@gmail.com, Rep.Daniel.Zolnikov@mt.gov, 



Senate Email addresses (just copy and paste the block into your email TO: header)

 
goodwind1.duane@gmail.com, rnewbar@gmail.com, Sen.Mark.Blasdel@mt.gov, Sen.Dee.Brown@mt.gov, ebuttrey@mtsenate.com, marycaferro@gmail.com, Sen.Jill.Cohenour@mt.gov, Sen.Pat.Connell@mt.gov, TFacey@mt.gov, Sen.Jennifer.Fielder@mt.gov, Sen.Steve.Fitzpatrick@mt.gov, Mrmac570@me.com, Sen.Jen.Gross@mt.gov, Sen.Steve.Hinebauch@mt.gov, Sen.Jedediah.Hinkle@mt.gov, brian@hovenequipment.com, sendavidhoward@gmail.com, Sen.Llew.Jones@mt.gov, Sen.Doug.Kary@mt.gov, Sen.Bob.Keenan@mt.gov, Sen.Mike.Lang@mt.gov, suemalek@gmail.com, edie.mcclafferty@gmail.com, Sen.Mary.McNally@mt.gov, moe.mt.senate@gmail.com, Sen.Eric.Moore@mt.gov, Sen.Albert.Olszewski@mt.gov, ryanosmundson@gmail.com, mikephillips@montana.net, Sen.JP@mt.gov, Sen.Keith.Regier@mt.gov, tomrichmondmt@gmail.com, Sen.Scott.Sales@mt.gov, dansalomon12@gmail.com, senatorsands@gmail.com, Sen.Jon.Sesso@mt.gov, Sen.Jason.Small@mt.gov, Sen.Cary.Smith@mt.gov, clairena@hughes.net, Sen.Nels.Swandal@mt.gov, russtempel@gmail.com, sfredthomas@yahoo.com, vancesd34@gmail.com, cvvincent@hotmail.com, Sen.Gene.Vuckovich@mt.gov, webb4mt@hotmail.com, jeffwelborn@hotmail.com, Sen.Lea.Whitford@mt.gov, Sen.Cynthia.Wolken@mt.gov, 


 

Click to be a Contributor or Subscriber to
Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat
 
Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
406-579-7748

Bozeman, MT
www.emwh.org

If you would like to unsubscribed from the EMWH newsletter, please click EMAIL and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line
and you will promptly remove you from the list. Thank you.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trespass Laws are being seriously changed

We only have 2 days to reach our Representatives in the House, on a dangerous amendment to a bill - HB 231 - Revising laws regarding trespass.



I respect private property and private property rights, lets make sure those protections for property owners and recreationists aren't destroyed.
Below is my comment I sent to the House members on HB 231 yesterday, please take a few minutes to send the Representatives your public comment objecting to an amendment in HB 231 that would set Montana's trespass laws back over 30 years (group listing of the House members email addresses at the bottom of this email, so you can copy and paste the whole block into your TO: email header, can't make it any easier than that). The bill has its second reading on Monday, 1/30/2017, the same day as the Public Lands Rally in Helena (I have flu, but I will be with y'all in spirit). Perhaps, while you are there, you can speak to some legislators about this dangerous bill/amendment before they vote on it.  :)



HB 231 PDF of text Video of the hearing with the hijacking of HB 231.(Click on HB 231 under the Video to advance it to that portion) Hunt Talk forum thread on this subject Mike Korn's perspective (retired FWP Enforcement) on the thread
Kathryn

_______________




Dear House of Representative members,
I am writing to express my concern over an amendment which hijacked HB 231, Revising laws regarding trespass, sponsored by Rep. Peggy Webb.
Last night I came across HB 231 at the laws lookup website and was shocked by what I saw passed on the 25th, I notified various hunting/angling groups and the Hunt Talk forum of my concerns.
 
Originally, Rep. Webb's amendment to MCA 45-6-201 and 203 were justifiable for residential private property concerns from squatters, for example. But listening to the audio, you hear Rep. Casey Knudsen, joined by Rep. Harris, hijack the intent of this bill and gut the trespassing laws that were enacted under HB 911 in 1985, in effect for over 30 years now, which protected both private property owners and recreationists. I question the motivation. Why?

If preventing trespassing of private property is the ideal, which I uphold and advocate, how is striking these preventative aspects of the trespass law going to help achieve that? 

Additionally, if this hijacking of the bill should pass and become law, many informational publications, which have had this trespass law published to educate the public at large, will have to be revised, published and distributed, at great taxpayer cost and time, the matriculation of which to the general public would probably take a couple years at least, meanwhile, this bill would go into effect immediately, making the public in danger of costly citations and legal costs.
Outdoor recreation is one of the largest economic drivers in Montana. What would be the impact to out of state recreationists or international tourists unintentionally trespassing because there was no markings or signage assisting in advising the public? Will Montana then develop a bad reputation, like a speed trap, of a public recreation trespassing trap? 

Not intending to trespass, respecting private property rights, I own and use a high end Garmin GPS with landownership maps when I research and recreate, but I also know that landownership changes rapidly and chip updates do not always show up, or a road looks public and a portion of it is not or the road is public but the land on either side is not and that posting helps to clarify to the public what is private. Land owner orange markings and signage are beneficial, most especially to those that do not own such equipment. Those orange markings and signage help protect private property interests. 

The following was struck - 

"To provide for effective posting of private land through which the public has no right-of-way, the notice provided for in subsection (1) must satisfy the following requirements: (a) notice must be placed on a post, structure, or natural object by marking it with written notice or with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fenceposts are used, the entire post must be painted; and (b) the notice described in subsection (2)(a) must be placed at each outer gate and normal point of access to the property, including both sides of a water body crossing the property wherever the water body intersects an outer boundary line. (3) To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall: (a) place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT___ MILES"; or (b) place notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land.(4) If property has been posted in substantial compliance with subsection (2) or (3), it is considered closed to public access unless explicit permission to enter is given by the landowner or the landowner's authorized agent."
 
HB 911 was supported by the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Cattlemen's Association, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, MT FWP, Montana Cow Belles, Sweet Grass County Preservation Association, and individuals. Some quotes below.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association supports passage of House Bill 911. House Bill 911 is the result of the interim study which considered impacts of the stream access problem upon private landowners. The testimony given given during the hearings of the interim committee revealed the trespass laws of the State of Montana were not working to protect private property rights...
 
House Bill 911 corrects both problems. The bill is essentially a minimum posting law... House Bill 911 also broadens the powers of the fish and game wardens to enforce the trespass laws. This is needed in light of the stream access decisions since the potential for conflict between private property rights and public recreational rights will increase.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association urges passage of House Bill 911.”
 
The Montana Cattlemen's Association - “Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, H.B. 911 contains some real improvements to the trespass law, from both the landowner's and sportsmen's viewpoints... Giving the Landowner flourescent orange paint as an alternative to printed 'no trespassing' signs solves one of the mechanical problems involving posting notice... It (HB 911) represents a necessary improvement to the law.” 
 
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee for the record my name is Lorna Frank, representing Montana Farm Bureau.
 
Farm Bureau delegates at the 65th Annual meeting last December were very concerned about getting stronger trespass legislation passed which would insure that private property will be free from public use except with permission from the landowner.
 
Farm Bureau supports HB 911 because we feel it protects private property and urges this committee to give HB 911 a do pass recommendation.”

Please protect private property from trespassing, prevent some unintentional trespass by recreationists, protect landowner/recreationists relationships, protect Montana's recreation reputation, prevent an unnecessary publication/distribution/education cost to Montana taxpayers and the unnecessary, increased workload of our law enforcement. 

I urge the members of the House to either kill HB 231 or insist that the Knudsen/Harris amendment above be struck from the bill, returning it to the original intent represented in the Jan. 12th version. 

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat
406-579-7748
513 1/2 W. Curtiss St.
Bozeman, MT 59715
_______________


Rep.Kim.Abbott@mt.gov, nancyballance@aol.com, Danbartel2@gmail.com, becky4hd80@blackfoot.net, bennettforhouse@gmail.com, Rep.Seth.Berglee@mt.gov, Rep.Laurie.Bishop@mt.gov, randybrodehl57@gmail.com, Rep.Bob.Brown@mt.gov, brownformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Burnett@mt.gov, Rep.Rob.Cook@mt.gov, vcourtforlegislature@yahoo.com, Rep.Mike.Cuffe@mt.gov, Rep.Willis.Curdy@mt.gov, Amanda@amandaformontana.com, Rep.Geraldine.Custer@mt.gov, alandoane@midrivers.com, kimberly.dudik@gmail.com, Rep.MaryAnn.Dunwell@mt.gov, Rep.Jenny.Eck@mt.gov, Rep.Ron.Ehli@mt.gov, Rep.Janet.Ellis@mt.gov, jessmann@mt.gov, Rep.Dave.Fern@mt.gov, Rep.Ross.Fitzgerald@mt.gov, JohnFlemingStIgnatius@gmail.com, Rep.Kelly.Flynn@mt.gov, Rep.Moffie.Funk@mt.gov, wyliegaltformt@gmail.com, frankgarnerhd7@gmail.com, Rep.Carl.Glimm@mt.gov, edgreef@hotmail.com, rep.bruce.grubbs@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Gunderson@mt.gov, Rep.Jim.Hamilton@mt.gov, Rep.Bradley.Hamlett@mt.gov, Rep.Bill.Harris@mt.gov, Rep.Denise.Hayman@mt.gov, Rep.Adam.Hertz@mt.gov, greghertz11@gmail.com, elliehillhd94@gmail.com, Rep.Ken.Holmlund@mt.gov, Mikeformontana@gmail.com, Rep.Tom.Jacobson@mt.gov, donjonesmt2@gmail.com, Rep.Jessica.Karjala@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Kelker@mt.gov, Rep.George.Kipp@mt.gov, Rep.Jon.Knokey@mt.gov, austinforhouse@yahoo.com, Rep.Casey.Knudsen@mt.gov, Rep.Steve.Lavin@mt.gov, Rep.Dennis.Lenz@mt.gov, Denleylogehd14@gmail.com, Rep.Ryan.Lynch@mt.gov, Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov, Rep.Theresa.Manzella@mt.gov, kelly@bigskytech.net, Rep.Nate.McConnell@mt.gov, Rep.Wendy.McKamey@mt.gov, Rep.Shane.Morigeau@mt.gov, Rep.Dale.Mortensen@mt.gov, marknolandhd10@gmail.com, Rep.james.ohara@mt.gov, Rep.Andrea.Olsen@mt.gov, Rep.Jimmy.Patelis@mt.gov, Rep.Rae.Peppers@mt.gov, Rep.Zac.Perry@mt.gov, Rep.Gordon.Pierson@mt.gov, jeanbigskybigwin@gmail.com, Rep.Alan.Redfield@mt.gov, Rep.Matt.Regier@mt.gov, Rep.Vince.Ricci@mt.gov, Atomicrosie@gmail.com, Rep.Marilyn.Ryan@mt.gov, Rep.Walt.Sales@mt.gov, Rep.Casey.Schreiner@mt.gov, Rep.Ray.Shaw@mt.gov, Rep.Lola.Sheldon-Galloway@mt.gov, Rep.Derek.Skees@mt.gov, repbsmith@gmail.com, scottstaffanson@gmail.com, Rep.Sharon.Peregoy@mt.gov, Rep.Kathy.Swanson@mt.gov, Rep.Jeremy.Trebas@mt.gov, Rep.Brad.Tschida@mt.gov, Rep.Barry.Usher@mt.gov, Rep.Sue.Vinton@mt.gov, Rep.Kirk.Wagoner@mt.gov, Webb4house@gmail.com, Rep.Susan.Webber@mt.gov, Twelch1213@gmail.com, winwithwhite@gmail.com, tomwoods4mt@gmail.com, Rep.Daniel.Zolnikov@mt.gov





Saturday, July 9, 2016

Durfee Hills Public Lands Trespass FOIA Filed

In summer 2014, the Wilks Brothers, in their pursuit of a land exchange, decided to illegally fence around some of our Federal BLM public lands without authorization and in a construction manner that obstructed our wildlife there, contrary to Federal BLM fencing regulations. Members of the hunting public began to notice GPS encroachments, as well as land and vegetation damage. I was flown in a number of times to document the various trespasses, providing the public with the videographic, photographic and GPS documentation online, including an interactive map

This documentation resulted in an official BLM Cadastral Survey, an investigation and helped to stop the Wilks Brothers proposed land exchange that would have given the Durfee Hills, our Federal Public Lands, home to one of Montana's best elk herds, to private individuals. 

I repeatedly requested status updates on the trespass investigation, only to be told it was still under investigation. No news or public statements from the BLM have provided the public with an update on the trespass investigation which involved unauthorized development of fencing, fencing encroachment, wildlife obstructing fencing, road and trail construction/realignment, surface disturbance (clearing, blading, digging, scalping, etc.), unauthorized personal property (such as vehicles, equipment, fencing debris, No Trespassing signs), removing of boundary markers, unauthorized destruction or disposition of mineral and vegetative materials, including timber.

Hearing rumors that the Lewistown BLM was saying there was no trespass by the Wilks on the BLM Durfee Hills, I decided to file a FOIA for the information. Several of the key Lewistown BLM employees involved in the whole Wilks/Durfee Hills debacle are no longer there - Central Montana District Manager, Stan Benes, Lewistown BLM Field Manager Geoff Beyersdorf, and BLM Monument Manager Mike Kania.

Below is the FOIA filed on July 2, 2016.

_________________________________

July 2, 2016
 
MT BLM FOIA Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: 406-896-5157

MT BLM FOIA Officer,

Per the Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting all documents, field investigation notes, photos, sketches, measurements, maps pertaining to the Wilks trespass/ multi trespass of the public's BLM land known as the Durfee Hills (legal descriptions of parcels below), as well as the current status of the trespass investigation. Please include documentation pertaining to the unauthorized development of fencing, fencing encroachment, wildlife obstructing fencing, road and trail construction/realignment, surface disturbance (clearing, blading, digging, scalping, etc.), unauthorized personal property (such as vehicles, equipment, fencing debris, No Trespassing signs), removing of boundary markers, unauthorized destruction or disposition of mineral and vegetative materials, including timber :
  • Copies of BLM Forms Initial Report of Unauthorized Use Form 9230-10 and Trespass Investigation Report 9230-24 filed as a result of complaints concerning the Wilks trespass, including interviews conducted in conjunction with the trespass investigation. Forms 1323-1 Reimbursable Project Logs Form.
  • BLM Law Enforcement citations.
  • Trespass documentation compiled by BLM Cadastral Survey team involving the fencing encroachment, survey markers (iron posts, brass markers, monument rock piles (collars) and blazed trees) moved by the Wilks tree/ground bulldozing. 
  • Documentation sent by Randy Newburg, which I requested before and did not receive in any of my FOIAs, as well as any other member of the public that submitted trespass documentation.
  • Trespass documentation found during the BLM investigation, including any court documents or other agency documents (MT State DNRC, FWP, etc.).
  • Administrative costs to investigate, survey and process these trespasses.
  • Notice of Trespass, Trespass Decision, and any Realty Trespass Resolution or Formal Administrative Resolution or other legal notices or charges.
  • I would also like copies of any trespass liabilities, fines, citations, recovery of funds efforts, rehabilitation/stabilization of damaged lands costs, any land rent liability charges levied, mineral or timber costs.
  • Documentation of meetings, communications and interviews between the BLM and the Wilks concerning these trespasses.
  • Any documents concerning cancellation or revocation of the Wilks Use Authorizations.
  • Rehabilitation/Stabilization Plan with the Wilks.
Also, I previously requested from Mike Kania, the Upper Missouri River Monument Manager, a copy of the road estimate for the east side road construction at the Bullwhacker. I never received it. Please include a copy of the road construction estimate.

The following BLM properties involved, known as the Durfee Hills - Geocode, with Legal Descriptions in parentheses.
08-2143-14-1-03-01-0000 (S14, T12 N, R22 E, S2NE4, SE4NW4, E2SE4)

08-2143-13-1-03-01-0000 (S13, T12 N, R22 E, SW4NE4, S2NW4, S2S2, NW4SW4, NW4SE4)

08-2143-23-1-01-01-0000 (S23, T12 N, R22 E, NE4, N2SE4, NE4SW4)

08-2143-24-1-02-01-0000 (S24, T12 N, R22 E, G LTS 2,3,4, W2E2, NW4, SE4SW4)

08-2144-19-3-01-01-0000 (S19, T12 N, R23 E, G LTS 3 AND 4, E2SW4, W2SE4)

08-2143-25-1-01-01-0000 (S25, T12 N, R22 E, G LTS 1,2,3, W2NE4, NW4SE4, NE4NW4)

08-2144-30-1-02-01-0000 (S30, T12 N, R23 E, G LTS 1,2,3,4, E2NW4, NE4SW4, N2SE4, S2NE4, NW4NE4)

08-2144-31-2-02-01-0000 (S31, T12 N, R23 E, G LTS 1,2,3, SE4NW4, E2SW4, SE4)

23-2034-06-1-01-02-0000 (S06, T11 N, R23 E, GOVT LT 2)

Disclosure of this information is necessary because of the repeated expressed public concerns, the land trade issues, the public forum discussions with documentation and the digital citizenship being exhibited. As evidenced by members of the public from other states, through the Hunt Talk forum or through the EMWH Newsletter, emails, website, blog, this is not just a Montana issue that is being watched, but is being looked at as applying to other public land/ private landowner relations, not exclusive to the Wilks.

I am the founder of Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat (Putting the "Public" Back in "Public Trust"), as well as the primary researcher. These public land issues are of great concern to the hunting conservation community. I plan, as I have already done with other documents available to the public, should they add clarity to the subject at hand, to make them available to the public, such as on the EMWH websitethe Wilks Fencing pagethe interactive map concerning the Durfee Hills documentation , disseminating the documentation pages through the Hunt Talk forum, EMWH Newsletter and blog.

Already, my posting of BLM manuals, such as the fencing standards and trespass manual have helped to create more awareness of how the BLM regulates these matters. By following your procedures and requesting the cadastral survey and investigation, we are encouraging  the BLM to be good trustees of our public lands and participating in the process. As it states in the Realty Trespass Handbook, "Realty trespass prevention requires a public that is knowledgeable of the public lands and resources and conditions for authorized use of the public lands...Public awareness and support is essential to successful trespass prevention...Detection may also involve report by the public, data of other agencies, and inventory or survey to identify or confirm suspected trespass."

This information has not been previously made public. When I requested some of this information previously, I was told that the trespass was still under investigation by Stan Benes. Rumors have circulated for a bit that the Lewistown BLM is stating there was no trespass, hence this FOIA request.

Electronic PDF copies, sent to this email address, would be preferred or compiled on a CD, mailed to my mailing address below. I will print any documents I want in hard copies. If there are any fees for searching or copying these records, please inform me of these costs. However, I would like to request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public's understanding of BLM and trespass of Public Lands matters. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

Since EMWH is a public trust advocacy organization (supported minorly by contributions from concerned public, primarily by my own dollars), freely making public documents available to the public, I am requesting the fee waiver. I have already gone to lengths to collect documentation to provide to the BLM to show just cause for a cadastral survey and investigation, paying for the trips to the area in question (over $250.00 just for gas, and $500 for a helicopter) and my expenses out of my own pocket, as well as public hunters that were pilots bearing the plane fuel cost to fly me in for documentation. Additionally I have invested numerous hours of my time and web development and printing to make this information available to the public at my own cost. The public has borne more costs than we should have at this point to bring this to BLM's attention and receive compliance with your regulations. As our taxpayer dollars have already paid for the reports, emails, communications, logs, etc., I do not see that I should be required to pay, yet again, to help support our BLM public land management for the public.


Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu
406-579-7748
513 1/2 W. Curtiss St.
Bozeman, MT  59715