Senate Bill 155 – the “seed bill” passed the Senate with a 33-17 vote. That’s good news for Montana’s farmers and ranchers.
We’ve also been following Senate Bill 203, the animal confiscation bill. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, after being amended. While the amendments did improve the bill, it still poses a threat to Montana’s livestock industry. It was defeated on the Senate floor 23-27 on the evening of Feb. 23, and a subsequent motion to indefinitely postpone was passed, which would kill the bill.
Here’s what was new this week:
SB 281: Revising use of fire suppression account funds— allows for extra fire suppression monies to be used to more proactively manage the state’s timber resources, hopefully preventing some of the massive and devastating wildfires we’ve become accustomed to in Montana. It does not appropriate any new money, but it does revise the use of the state’s fire suppression account funds. It would require the state spend $5 million for these preventative uses if the fund balance exceed $40 million at the end of each odd-numbered fiscal year. Farm Bureau supports the bill.
SB 247: Prohibiting the outdoor use of neonicotinoid insecticides — proposes to ban the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics) in Montana. Neonics are common and very effective when used to treat seeds. Spring wheat, canola and field peas commonly rely on the use of neonics to control harmful insects. Proponents assert that neonics are responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder and the disappearance of pollinators around the world. However, there are a variety of other factors that negatively impact pollinators, including habitat loss, pathogens, viruses and beekeeping practices.
While Colony Collapse Disorder is a serious concern, the USDA has data stemming from the 1880’s of documented, inexplicable disappearances of hives. It’s important to note there is not conclusive scientific evidence that a ban on neonicotinoids will solve problems associated with the disappearance of bee hives and such a ban could mean dramatic crop losses for Montana agriculture.
Stay tuned to Montana Farm Bureau’s Facebook page for updates.
SB 262: An act prohibiting the restriction of public access on certain roads or rights of way used by the public — would allow any non-designated road to automatically be considered open to the public. The true road owner would not be able to install any type of barrier to prevent the public from accessing and using the road unless they first went to the county commissioners

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