Laws & Legislation
Constitution for the United States (the Supreme Law of the Land – no law may be repugnant to it)
Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, written to further limit government powers and protect individual and state’s rights)
Constitution of the State of Montana(adopted by popular vote of the people of Montana)
MCA (Montana Code Annotated) (you can search for any current state law by key words)
SEN FIELDER’S LEGISLATION:
BILL READING TIP: Click on the bill number to view the bill in its entirety. The underlined text seen in a bill will be added to existing law if /when a bill is passed. The struck text is the portion of existing law that will be deleted from law if/when a bill is passed.
BILLS PASSED IN 2015: A variety of legislation successfully passed into law as a result of bills I introduced, requested, and/or drafted during the 2015 legislative session. There were many other issues I worked on, these are the bills originating from my desk that made it into the law books.
SB 294: AN ACT REVISING THE AUTHORITY OF A HOSPITAL DISTRICT TO BORROW MONEY; ALLOWING NOTES ISSUED TO PROVIDE FUNDS FOR A HOSPITAL DISTRICT TO MATURE OVER A TERM NOT TO EXCEED 30 YEARS IF APPROVED BY THE DISTRICT ELECTORs. This legislation helps hospitals by extending the repayment period for a hospital district that borrows money by the issuance of bonds for acquisition, furnishing, equipment, improvement, extension, and betterment of hospital facilities and to provide an adequate working capital for a new hospital. Prior to passage of this legislation a hospital had to pay off the notes within a 15 year loan period. SB294 allows the bond notes to mature over a term up to 30 years, but only if authorized by the electors of the district. This bill passed with 148 of 150 Montana legislators voting in favor.
SB 298: AN ACT REQUIRING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO PURSUE REIMBURSEMENT OF MONEY OWED TO MONTANA PURSUANT TO THE ENABLING ACT; DEPOSITING RECOVERED FUNDS IN THE PERMANENT FUND FOR THE SUPPORT OF COMMON SCHOOLS. As a result of the legislature’s interim study of federal lands, we learned that the federal government has not been paying the state as required each time it sells public lands in Montana. This law directs the Attorney General to pursue unpaid funds that the federal government owes to Montana’s permanent fund for schools. Every democrat in the House of Representatives voted against the bill, but it passed with strong republican support. I am working with the Attorney General to provide the lawful and historical research I have compiled on this issue which goes clear back to Montana’s Statehood in 1889.
HB 510: AN ACT FACILITATING IMPROVED LAND AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ON PUBLIC LANDS IN MONTANA TO AID LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN REDUCING WILDFIRE RISK AND IMPROVING FOREST HEALTH ON FEDERAL LANDS; ESTABLISHING DUTIES FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION; PROVIDING STATE ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. This bill helps local communities by requiring a state forester to assist local governments who request aid in accomplishing projects on federal forested lands that reduce excessive wildfire fuels that endanger communities, infrastructure, or municipal watersheds; and enhance economic productivity in economically depressed counties. This bill passed with very strong bi-partisan support in the House, but was opposed by most democrats when it came up for a vote in the Senate.
SB 356: AN ACT REVISING LAWS RELATED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT; AND PROVIDING THAT THE CURRICULUM FOR THE MONTANA LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY MUST INCLUDE INSTRUCTION ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF CITIZENS. This legislation is designed to increase law officer’s knowledge of the lawful rights of citizens, and build public trust and confidence in our law enforcement officers. It requires the Montana Law Enforcement Academy to provide a section of instruction on constitutional law emphasizing the rights of the people as set forth in the bill of rights of the United States constitution and the rights contained in Article II of the Montana constitution. This bill is not an answer to all the conflict we are seeing across America between law enforcement and citizens, but hopefully it is a step toward strengthening good relations. The bill was supported by the Montana Sherriff’s and Peace Officers Association and the Montana Municipal Police Association, and passed the Montana legislature with most republicans voting yes and most democrats voting no.
SB 50: AN ACT REVISING OFFENSES RELATED TO THE VISUAL OBSERVATION OR RECORDATION OF A PERSON WITHOUT THE PERSON’S KNOWLEDGE. This legislation protects every individual’s right to privacy by prohibiting people who would linger around a residence or use remote technology for the purpose of surreptitiously (secretively or fraudulently) viewing or recording an occupant in their home without the occupant’s knowledge. SB 50 also prohibits recordation of the sexual or intimate parts of another person in a public place without the other person’s knowledge when the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as in public restrooms or department store dressing rooms, etc. The law does not apply to a law enforcement officer or investigator while the officer, agent, employee, or private investigator is acting in the course and scope of employment for legitimate investigative purposes. I carried this bill at the request of the Montana Attorney General. It passed into law with only one legislator (a democrat) voting against it.
SB 326: AN ACT REVISING LAWS RELATED TO RECREATIONAL USE OF STATE LANDS; REQUIRING PUBLIC NOTICE PRIOR TO LAND CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS ON GENERAL RECREATIONAL USE; SETTING CAMPING LIMITS. This bill increases the user friendliness of State Trust Lands by allowing campers to stay for up to 16 days per 30 day period and also allows horses to be kept overnight. The bill also requires State agencies to issue a press release and post notice at frequent access points to the land where a restriction is proposed that would diminish recreational use or access to that public land. The bill passed with strong bi-partisan support.
SB 308: AN ACT PROVIDING A PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN PROPERTY LEASED TO A COUNTY, MUNICIPALITY, OR TAXING UNIT FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES; REQUIRING THAT THE PROPERTY BE USED FOR PUBLIC PARK, RECREATION, OR BEAUTIFICATION PURPOSES. This legislation provides a property tax exemption on up to 10 acres of land rented or leased to a municipality or taxing unit for less than $100 a year and that is used for public park, recreation, or landscape beautification purposes. This is particularly helpful for communities that maintain or improve public parks on railroad right of ways. The bill passed with most republicans voting yes and most democrats voting no.
BILLS INTRODUCED IN 2013: The following shows the status of bills I introduced in 2013, my first session in the State Legislature. Three of the six bills passed with strong bi-partisan support. One bill even passed with unanimous support.
SJ 15 – Study of Federal Land Management. Resolution passed with strong bi-partisan support.
SB 121– Remove presumption that private party is at fault when uncertainty arises in contracts with government. Passed into law unanimously.
SB 316 – Prevent well zones and drain fields from encroaching onto other property without landowner consent. Passed into law with strong bi-partisan support.
SB 359 – Post Bill of Rights in Public Buildings. Failed with strong Democrat opposition.
SB 341 – Increase local input in transplantation or augmentation of wildlife populations. Failed with strong Democrat opposition.
SB 360 – Allow land owners to access and defend their property during emergencies. Failed with strong Democrat opposition.