Montana Department of Justice

Opinions – 1996

Disclaimer: The Department of Justice expends considerable effort to ensure that the attorney general’s opinions appearing on our website are true copies of the originals on file in our office. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of a printed copy that you did not personally download from the website.

Volume & Opinion Number Opinion Held Date Issued
46-27 Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §§ 17-3-222 and 20-9-331(2)(a), a county must allocate its share of funds provided by the federal government to the State under the Taylor Grazing Act, 43 U.S.C. § 315i, 50 percent to the county general fund and 50 percent to the equalization account of the elementary BASE funding program. 12/31/96
46-26 The office of county commissioner and the position of county coordinator of disaster and emergency services are incompatible, and one individual may not hold both simultaneously. 12/12/96
46-25 Montana law does not permit a public employer to offer a “cash out” benefit to employees whereby the unused accumulated vacation leave credits of a public employee who is not terminating employment are “bought back” by the employer. 10/17/96
46-24 The proceedings of the Montana Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association (MLHIGA) board of directors are subject to the Open Meeting Law, Mont. Code Ann. tit. 2, ch. 3, pt. 2. Thus, the MLHIGA may close a meeting only when and to the extent that the demands of individual privacy clearly exceed the merits of public disclosure. 10/10/96
46-23
  1. A city and a county may form a multijurisdictional library service district if they meet all statutory requirements, including that: (1) any existing contract for library services involving residents of one or more of the participating jurisdictions has lawfully expired; (2) any and all requirements of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 7-11-1101 to -1112 are met; and (3) any applicable requirements of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 15-10-401 to -412 are met.
  2. A multijurisdictional service district may not be formed for the sole purpose of equalizing the tax burden among those currently using the service, but as long as the district provides services in the manner required by Mont. Code Ann. § 7-11-1101, it may also use a multijurisdictional service district to equalize the tax burden among those who use the service.
08/16/96
46-22
  1. Mont. Code Ann. § 76-2-205(6) enlarges “protest rights” for freeholders whose property is classified for real property tax purposes as agricultural or forest land, where their combined title ownership represents 50 percent of the total property ownership within the proposed or revised zoning district. These enlarged protest rights supplement the protest rights provided to 40 percent of freeholders within the district whose names appear on the last-completed assessment roll.
  2. The phrase “freeholders representing 50 percent of the titled property ownership” within Mont. Code Ann. § 76-2-205(6) requires that all owners of property held in joint or common ownership join in the protest for the area of the parcel to be included in the calculation of the protest area. Condominium owners or purchasers are entitled to have their proportionate share of the freehold interest in the land area of the particular development included in the calculation of the protest area.
07/22/96
46-21 In a council-mayor form of government, the mayor, in the exercise of his statutory authority to manage and supervise the municipal police force and absent an ordinance to the contrary, may designate an officer to serve as assistant police chief without prior approval of the municipal council. 07/03/96
46-20
  1. The county is obligated to provide administrative support services which are reasonably necessary to allow the county attorney to perform the duties of the elective office.
  2. The county attorney cannot compel the commissioners to authorize the hiring as a county employee of a legal secretary for the county attorney absent a showing that any other employment arrangement would prevent the county attorney from performing the minimum statutory duties of the job.
06/28/96
46-19
  1. A county in Montana that offered library services prior to 1986 cannot form a new taxing unit and avoid the tax limitations of I-105 by establishing a public library pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-303, or by forming a multijurisdictional service district to provide library services pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-11-1105.
  2. A county that has established a county free library pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-303 is authorized to contract directly with the board of trustees of the free public library of any incorporated city to assume all county library functions and to pay the sum agreed upon out of the county free library fund.
06/25/96
46-18 Subject to the limitations contained in Mont. Code Ann. § 53-21-132(2), the county of residence is financially responsible for costs incurred in connection with the detention and precommitment custody of persons taken into protective custody pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 53-21-124 or -129. 06/05/96
46-17 Uniform health benefit plans, authorized by 1995 Montana Laws chapter 527, must include coverage for the services and articles specifically referred to in sections 33-22-245 and -522 and the mandated benefit provisions of title 33, chapter 22. 06/03/96
46-16 Any extension of a delineated municipal jurisdictional area extending beyond the corporate limits of a municipality must be accomplished following the procedure mandated by Mont. Code Ann. § 50-60-101(10) and Mont. Admin. R. 8.70.211, which require a municipality to submit and the Department of Commerce to act upon a new request for approval of the extension. 04/04/96
46-15 A city with general government powers must add any excess cash balance into the calculation of its annual budget and may not use such cash to create a ten-year irrevocable trust fund operated by a third-party trustee. 04/03/96
46-14 A charter form of government may combine legislative and executive powers in the government’s legislative body. 03/19/96
46-13 A self-governing city has the authority to establish conditions for garbage collection companies within its city limits, unless the city’s conditions are established in a manner that: (1) is prohibited by constitution or charter, (2) prohibits the grant or denial of a certificate of public convenience and necessity, or (3) is inconsistent with state law or regulation. 02/28/96

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Attorney General's Office & Legal Services Division

The Attorney General’s Office, headed by Attorney General Tim Fox, and the Legal Services Division function as the lawyers for the State of Montana. The attorneys in the Office have expertise in a wide range of legal topics and handle a broad range of legal cases involving the State of Montana and its people.

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Children’s Justice Bureau

The Children’s Justice Bureau is an agency-wide initiative at the Montana Department of Justice dedicated to IMPROVING how we respond to child victims, DEVELOPING state-of-the-art approaches by keeping up with the newest research and, most importantly, HELPING child victims recover and move on with their lives.

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Forensic Science Division & State Crime Lab

The mission of the Montana Forensic Science Division is to use operationally efficient and financially responsible practices as the laboratory provides accurate, objective, and timely forensic analyses to the criminal justice community in order to maximize value to the citizens of Montana.

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Missing Persons Clearinghouse

The Missing Children Act of 1985 established a Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse within the Department of Justice. In March 2008, the department implemented a searchable online database that, for the first time, is updated in real time and includes any photos provided by law enforcement.

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Office of Victim Services

The goal of the Office of Victim Services is to provide tools and information to help crime victims recover from their experience and provide them with a range of services available. The criminal justice system can be confusing and intimidating for victims. To assist them as they go through the justice system, the Office of Victim Service is available to answer any questions they may have.

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Central Services Division

The Montana Department of Justice’s Central Services Division provides financial and human resources support for the department. We make sure that everything works for the people Working for Justice. If you’re interested in a rewarding career helping protect the rights and safety of all Montanans, we invite you to join our team of over 800 dedicated employees working across the state.

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Justice Information Technology Services Division

Our Justice Information Technology Services Division (JITSD) provides vital Information Technology (IT) infrastructure upon which Montanans and lojitsdcal and state law enforcement agencies rely for timely, accurate information. JITSD manages the IT systems, services, and interfaces to support nearly 800 DOJ employees, 325 statewide county motor vehicle system users, and over 3,000 Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) users across the state.

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Motor Vehicle Division

The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.

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Human Trafficking

The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.

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Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.

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Division of Criminal Investigation

The Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at the Montana Department of Justice is involved in many aspects of Montana law enforcement and is integral to the Department dciof Justice’s mission of promoting public safety.

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Montana Highway Patrol

Montana is rich in natural beauty and history. From Glacier Park in the west to Makoshika Park in the east, the men and women of the Montana Highway Patrol are working hard to make your travels safe and enjoyable. The Highway Patrol’s core values are “Service, Integrity and Respect.” These values are reflected in our commitment to public safety through diligent and fair enforcement of our traffic codes.

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Office of Consumer Protection

Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the consumer from unfair or deceptive business practices. Enforce statutes relating to telephone solicitation and telemarketing. Provide information to consumers about the Consumer Protection Act. Assist consumers by distributing consumer education materials including scam and consumer alerts. Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices.

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Montana Law Enforcement Academy

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The Academy offers entry-level programs referred to as Basic Programs and advanced training through an array of Professional Development Programs.

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Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Program

Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.

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Safe in Your Space

When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.

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Gambling Control Division

Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.

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Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

Created by the Montana Department of Justice in 1989, the Sexual or Violent Offender Registry is a valuable resource for Montanans to protect their families against sexual or violent offenders.

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Montana 24/7 Sobriety Program

Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.

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Work for Justice

Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.

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