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Take action for wild buffalo on bills before the 2021 Montana Legislature.

Send A Message To Montana Legislators

    Send your comment to a legislator or committee online:
    https://www.leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/

    Call and leave your message for up to 5 legislators and a committee with the Information Desk:
    (406) 444-4800

    Mail your comment:
    Montana State Legislature
    State Capitol
    PO Box 201706
    Helena, MT 59620-1706

    Guide to Commenting on Bills

       

      Guide to commenting on bills.

      • Be brief and clear, write to the point.
      • The most persuasive writing is in your own words.
      • BFC's talking points can be used in your comments.
      • For guidance on addressing/commenting to legislators, review BFC’s comments.
      • Send your comments by 12 noon one day before scheduled committee hearings or floor votes. Give legislators time to consider your comments.

      Are you ready to submit your comments?

      • Montana’s web form permits comments from anyone in the United States.
      • You can send your comments to a Committee or Legislator.
      • Complete the required data fields (*asterisk*).
      • Select Send Message to a Legislator or a Committee.
      • Select the Bill Type (HB-House Bill or SB-Senate Bill) and enter the Number.
      • Select For or Against.
      • Enter your comments in the Message (limit of 1250 characters).
      • Check for accuracy.
      • Click on Send Message

      You did it! Thank you for taking action in support of protecting wild buffalo in Montana!


      Submit a request to testify via Zoom

        Requests to testify via Zoom must be submitted by 12:00 noon the day before the hearing begins.
        Complete the data fields.

        Click Yes to make a request to testify before the committee via Zoom.
        https://www.leg.mt.gov/public-testimony/


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        Bill: HB 318

        Title: Clarify definition of bison
        Sponsor: Kenneth L Holmlund (R) HD 38
        Status: Passed House 65 YEAS/33 NAYS 2/24/2021. Hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation committee 3/9/2021 at 3 PM (MST) Room 335. Please call and leave your message opposing HB 318 for up to 5 legislators in the Senate with the Information Desk (406) 444-4800. You can also send your message opposing HB 318 to the (S) Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation committee here https://www.leg.mt.gov/web-messaging/ .

        BFC Comments on HB 318: Do Not Pass (PDF)

        Talking Points
        • HB 318 changes the legal definition of a “wild” buffalo to “has never been owned by a person,” and “has not been reduced to captivity,” and “has never been subject” to a livestock fee.
        • If buffalo do not meet HB 318’s legal definition of “wild,” they are domestic or feral.
        • A century ago, buffalo owned by Pablo–Allard and Goodnight were reintroduced onto Yellowstone’s northern range and reduced to captivity on the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
        • HB 318 disregards the distinction of wild buffalo held in public trust as wildlife, from domestic bison (livestock) owned as private property.
        • If HB 318 becomes law, Yellowstone’s wild buffalo herds – a species of conservation concern – may no longer be recognized as wild, and the wildlife species would – by definition – be extinct in Montana.
        • In 2019 Governor Bullock vetoed HB 132 a bill with the same legal definition in HB 318 because it “presents unintended consequences” for Yellowstone’s herds, not just individual bison, which “could be inappropriately deemed domestic.” Governor Bullock HB 132 Amendatory Veto (April 19, 2019) (PDF)

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        Bill: HB 302

        Title: Require county approval to relocate bison
        Sponsor: Joshua Kassmier (R) HD 27
        Status: House floor votes imminent. Please call and leave your message opposing HB 302 for up to 5 legislators in the House of Representatives with the Information Desk (406) 444-4800.
        Watch the recorded hearing here (HB 302 begins at 16:43:45)

        BFC Comments on HB 302: Do Not Pass (PDF)

        Talking Points

        • HB 302 interferes with Montanan’s constitutional right to participate in decisions for recovering wild American bison in the state.
        • HB 302 gives a board of county commissioners veto authority over the decision.
        • There is only one wild population in Montana: the Yellowstone bison herds. The migratory wildlife species is at risk of “global extinction or extirpation in the state.” (Montana Natural Heritage, SOC Report Animal Species of Conservation Concern, PDF).
        • The legislature already imposes costly, unfunded mandates to thwart the recovery of wild American bison. If anyone can overcome the costs and mandates, HB 302 gives a county board veto power to kill recovery.
        • Montanan’s must speak up to protect our natural heritage and defend our right to participate in decisions recovering wild American bison, our National Mammal.

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        Bill: SB 255

        Title: Create revenue for bison management funding
        Sponsor: Pat Flowers (D) SD 32
        Status: Hearing in Senate Fish and Game committee 2/23/2021 at 3 PM (MST) Room 422
        Watch the recorded hearing here (SB 255 begins at 15:30:00)

        BFC Comments on SB 255: Do Not Pass (PDF) Addendum (PDF)

        Talking Points
        • SB 255 seeks to generate revenue for managing wild buffalo by auctioning a hunt tag to fund MCA 87-1-216, a law permitting hunting of wild buffalo for “disease control” as authorized by the Montana Dept. of Livestock (MCA 81-2-120).
        • Proceeds don’t go to conserving or expanding habitat for wild buffalo.
        • Under SB 255, revenue must go to MCA 87-1-216, a law imposing costly, unfunded mandates to thwart recovery of wild buffalo.
        • The Montana legislature needs to adopt the common sense idea of managing wild buffalo like wild elk. Doing so would bring far more benefits and revenue than continuing with costly, tax-wasting, bureaucratic management imposed by MCA 87-1-216 and MCA 81-2-120.

        Bill: HB 311

        Title: Generally revise bison laws
        Sponsor: Marvin Weatherwax (D) HD 15
        Status: Tabled 6 YEAS /11 NAYS in House Agriculture Committee 2/23/2021.
        Watch the recorded hearing here (HB 311 begins at 15:02:00)

        BFC Comments on HB 311: Informational (PDF)

        Talking Points
        • HB 311 clarifies wild buffalo taken from the Yellowstone herds for quarantine can be transferred to a tribal entity with the approval of the Montana Dept. of Livestock under MCA 81-2-120.
        • Unless clear and convincing evidence shows there is a significant danger to public health, HB 311 would not require state certification for federal to tribal or tribal to tribal transfers of wild buffalo on tribe’s reservations.
        • The Montana Dept. of Livestock should not be permitted under state law to infringe on sovereign decisions of American Indian Nations.
        Repeal MCA 81-2-120

        Bill: HB 312

        Title: Generally revise bison laws
        Sponsor: Marvin Weatherwax (D) HD 15
        Status: Tabled 6 YEAS /11 NAYS in House Agriculture Committee 2/23/2021.
        Watch the recorded hearing here (HB 312 begins at 16:06:20)

        BFC Comments on HB 312: Informational (PDF)

        Talking Points
        • HB 312 would not require state certification for federal to tribal transfers of wild buffalo for quarantine on tribe’s reservations under Montana Dept. of Livestock authority MCA 81-2-120.
        • As part of quarantine, wild buffalo testing for an immune response to brucella abortus are slaughtered. Wild buffalo are also injured and suffer harm in captivity.
        • The loss of buffalo in quarantine through calf abandonment, goring, and other injuries should not go unrecognized.
        Repeal MCA 81-2-120