Guest Opinion: Legislative Report

Greetings from Helena!

We had quite a bit of activity on the Senate floor this past week, with mostly House bills. One Senate bill we had this week that had appropriations in it was SB 458, which would make the sex on a birth certificate the legal sex. This is to be consistent with Montana Code. There are supposedly 81 genders and climbing so things in the code are getting confusing and there have been some lawsuits threatened. HB450 dealt with bullying in schools and self-defense.

In Judiciary committee we dealt with bills about dangerous drugs, judges, sexual abuse, and transportation of firearms. It is always an interesting committee.

In Public Health, Welfare and Safety we passed out of committee HB116 by Representative Gillette, which would promote using in state services for troubled youth. There were children being sent as far away as Texas, making it hard for their families to see them and we were trying to eliminate that. I amended the bill to allow these children to go to facilities that were close to the border, such as Home on the Range, if it is closer to their family. Other bills were heard dealing with troubled children and what role the department should have concerning parents and private agencies.

In Fish and Game committee we heard HB 131 eliminating the 24-hour waiting period on getting a wolf tag. We also heard a couple bills regarding landowner permits, HB 596 and 635. HB 596 allows a landowner, or designee, with 640 acres, or less in some cases, to receive an elk permit if he allows access to a certain number of hunters. The thought is to kick the elk off of private land onto public land. HB 635 would allow a non-resident landowner, or designee, with at least 2,500 acres in Montana, to be in a drawing to hunt or fish. He would be required to hunt or fish on his own land. Again, the idea is to push game off of his land and onto public land.

I also presented three of the bills that I sponsored in House committees this week. I presented a bill in the House Fish and Game Committee, SB 58, which raised the limit on block management. In the House Natural Resources Committee, I presented SB 42, dealing with right of ways across state land, and SB 55, which allowed DEQ to be a member of a multi-state compact dealing with mining.

We enjoyed having our granddaughter, Alysa Rapp, serving as a Page in the Senate this week. This is a great experience for high school juniors and seniors.

If you are ever in Helena, be sure to look us up. If you want to look up the text of a bill you can find it at

For Freedom,

Senator Steve Hinebauch


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