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MONTANA FIRST STATE TO BAN FEDERAL AGENCY LAND PURCHASES
Montana Legislative Reports ^ | 5-7-03 | RCM

Posted on 05/07/2003 8:22:53 AM PDT by GotDangGenius

Montana First State to Ban Federal Government Land Purchases

HELENA- Montana became the first state in the nation to prohibit the sale of state owned land to the federal government.

“This is an accomplishment I am very very proud of,” said Representative Rick Maedje (R) – Fortine about his amendment to House Bill 223.

House Bill 223 authorizes the state land board to sell school trust lands that are not producing income from grazing, timber, mining, or oil and gas. The measure was dubbed “the state land banking bill” and it also allows the land board to purchase more productive lands in its place.

“I don’t disagree with the underlying purpose of the bill at all. It’s entirely appropriate for the State Land Board to look for better timber, mining, and grazing lands for the schools,” said Maedje, “but there was a serious unintended consequence- the present state lands could wind up in the hands of the federal government, and that is entirely inappropriate in Montana.”

There are approximately six million acres of school trust lands in Montana. These lands were originally granted to the state by the federal government when Montana agreed to statehood. Congress mandated the lands be used solely for generating income for schools.

In the hearing on HB 223 before the House Natural Resources Committee, Bud Clinch, Director of the DNRC, said, “It is my fiduciary responsibility to generate income for our schools from these lands.” Director Clinch added, “This bill allows the Department the flexibility to increase income for the schools.”

Representative Maedje, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee said during executive session deliberations on the bill, “I am not prepared in any way, shape, or form to see a single acre of state land wind up in the federal government’s hands. Not only does the federal government fail to pay taxes on land it holds, but even the PILT payments (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) it promises us never come through. Worse yet, Montana has had nothing but serious problems in the last 30 years with virtually every acre the federal government claims to have jurisdiction over in this state. Selling the feds our state land is like rubbing salt in a wound.”

Representative Maedje, an outspoken opponent of federal land ownership in Montana, believes the federal government has overstepped its Constitutional authority in the last 30 years, and offered his amendment as a means to reign in federal agencies in Montana.

“House Bill 223 came through the Natural Resources Committee, and I saw the real opportunity to add a friendly amendment to the bill to begin to stop federal land acquisitions in our state,” said Maedje.

Maedje referred to Article I, Section 8 of the federal Constitution, which restricts Congress: “to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings.”

Maedje’s amendment to HB 223 amends Montana Code Annotated 77-2-306 to read: “State land may not be sold to the federal government or to any agency of the federal government, except for the purpose of building federal facilities and structures.”

The bill made it to the Governor’s desk with Maedje’s amendment intact, but not without a fight.

Representative Chris Harris (D) – Bozeman, blasted Maedje’s amendment on the floor of the House arguing that “Iraq could buy this land. North Korea could buy this land, but our own red white and blue federal government can’t buy this land. This is wrong.”

“Frankly,” Maedje said afterwards about Rep. Harris’s comments in the floor debate, “...and I say this within the tangible and real context of unabashedly asinine decisions made by federal agencies which unnecessarily hurt rural natural resource dependent communities-- Representative Harris might have been unintentionally right. I indeed wonder if the constitutional rights of Montanans could be any more abused by a North Korean dictator than they are by our own federal agencies. That may sound stunning to those who haven’t suffered because of federal land policies, but it is closer to the truth than one might want to contemplate.”

Maedje offered the following remarks after Governor Martz signed HB 223 into law:

“The Constitution never intended the federal government to increase its land holdings or jurisdictional influence without the consent of the people of a state. Regrettably, over the last 30 years the federal government has overstepped its authority, and its abuse of that authority directly conflicts with the economic vitality, character, and traditions of the people of Montana. Montanans have been patient. We have tried to work with federal agencies, but we have intelligently arrived at the conclusion that federal agencies have little or no incentive to abide by the federal Constitution.So, we're now going to help them get back on track.”

“This amendment to HB 223 is the first step in a calculated effort not only to put the brakes on federal land acquisitions, but in future legislative sessions, we will take intelligent, lawful steps such as this to roll back federal land holdings and jurisdictional authority,” Maedje said.

“Montana is the first state in the nation to prohibit the federal government from purchasing state lands. This is an historic step for any state to take, and federal agencies should be well aware that Montana will continue to assert our rights as a state, and we take this issue very very seriously.” Maedje added.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Montana
KEYWORDS: banglist; federalland; landgrab
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1 posted on 05/07/2003 8:22:53 AM PDT by GotDangGenius
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To: GotDangGenius
Good job for Montana! The Feds already own way too much of the West..
2 posted on 05/07/2003 8:24:02 AM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
Yes sir. In fact, how about the Fed starts selling some of that land and pay off the national debt?
3 posted on 05/07/2003 8:27:05 AM PDT by BenLurkin (Socialism is slavery.)
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To: GotDangGenius
bttt
4 posted on 05/07/2003 8:30:28 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: GotDangGenius
YO!!!
5 posted on 05/07/2003 8:31:13 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (California! See how low WE can go!)
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To: GotDangGenius
bad link. I get a "domain name for sale" page.

6 posted on 05/07/2003 8:32:06 AM PDT by Mark Felton (Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.)
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To: GotDangGenius; AAABEST; Uncle Bill; Victoria Delsoul; Fiddlstix; fporretto; Free Vulcan; ...
but we have intelligently arrived at the conclusion that federal agencies have little or no incentive to abide by the federal Constitution.So, we're now going to help them get back on track.”

I arrived at that conclusion a long time ago.

7 posted on 05/07/2003 8:34:43 AM PDT by Sir Gawain
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To: GotDangGenius
Way-to-go bump!
8 posted on 05/07/2003 8:37:58 AM PDT by detsaoT
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: GotDangGenius
Now, they need to evict the federal government from the rest of their state, but this is definately impressive.
10 posted on 05/07/2003 8:40:55 AM PDT by Nephi (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: GotDangGenius
Amazing: a states' rights bandwagon getting started there?
11 posted on 05/07/2003 8:47:27 AM PDT by alancarp (123,000 signers are hard to ignore: http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/hollywoodceleb/)
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To: GotDangGenius
...I indeed wonder if the constitutional rights of Montanans could be any more abused by a North Korean dictator than they are by our own federal agencies.

OUCHHH! Bravo, good people of Montana!

12 posted on 05/07/2003 8:57:48 AM PDT by Sangamon Kid
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To: farmfriend; madfly
ping
13 posted on 05/07/2003 9:04:52 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: GotDangGenius
Looks good on paper. The question is, will it do anything to help stop the property transfer shell games being run by fed-friendly NGOs like the Nature Conservancy?
14 posted on 05/07/2003 9:06:47 AM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
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To: GotDangGenius
That does it! I'm moving to Montana!
15 posted on 05/07/2003 9:07:53 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: BenLurkin
"In fact, how about the Fed starts selling some of that land and pay off the national debt?"

Great idea, but only to AMERICAN citizens.
16 posted on 05/07/2003 9:08:50 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: GotDangGenius
I indeed wonder if the constitutional rights of Montanans could be any more abused by a North Korean dictator than they are by our own federal agencies.

Another agenda of the whacked out, constimatooshin studyin' right wing camo wearers, shot all to hell by senseless hyperbole.

At least Americans now know who our real enemies are.

17 posted on 05/07/2003 9:13:49 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: tacticalogic
Looks good on paper. The question is, will it do anything to help stop the property transfer shell games being run by fed-friendly NGOs like the Nature Conservancy?

One thing at a time. This was difficult enough to put into law.

You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. There is legislation coming, such as that in Texas and New Mexico which strips NGO's engaging in such things of their tax exempt status, prohibits the transfer of private land to the feds using NGO's, and requires that any NGO having transferred land to the Feds is required to be responsible for the COMPLETE payment of property taxes--- RETROACTIVELY.

Montana is just getting started.

Story developing... stay tuned

18 posted on 05/07/2003 9:17:02 AM PDT by GotDangGenius
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To: GotDangGenius
Betcha anything SCOTUS will declare this unconstitutional.

Still, this is truly historic. Looking forward to more statements from states like this.

19 posted on 05/07/2003 9:19:59 AM PDT by Democratic_Machiavelli
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To: GotDangGenius
Seen THIS one? It phases out livestock grazing in wilderness areas, and provides for purchase of more land. Here's one provision in the bill: (d) SUPPORT FOR STATES WITHOUT ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017 $33,000,000 to assist States in the purchase of private lands in a State designated Ecosystem Protection Area developed pursuant to section 11 if the State agrees to manage that area in a manner similar to that proposed for Ecosystem Protection Areas designated in this Act.
20 posted on 05/07/2003 9:23:38 AM PDT by .38sw
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