List of Attorney General Opinions

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.


YearVolume & Opinion NumberOpinion HeldDate Issued
199345-21A company engaged in the strip mining of coal is not subject to criminal prosecution under Mont. Code Ann. §39-4-104 for scheduling its employees to a workweek consisting of four ten-hour days.12/30/1993
  1. The Legislature lacks the power to modify the measure upon which the voters will vote in the election on IR112. That measure is HB671, as codified in 1993 Mont. Laws, ch. 634.
  2. The Legislature retains the power to enact measures prior to the referendum election on IR112 which change the taxation of income and corporate licenses. Such measures may be enacted contingent upon the approval of HB671.
  3. The Legislature lacks the power to repeal legislation whose effectiveness has been suspended by referendum petition under Mont. Const. art. III, §5, until the legislation has become effective following a vote of the people.
  4. If approved by the voters, HB671 becomes effective upon the completion of the canvass of the election results.
  5. Approval of HB671 would include approval by the people of its retroactive application to tax years beginning after December 31, 1992.
199345-19A trust company is prohibited by Mont. Code Ann. §§ 32-1-371(5) and -372 from establishing remote service offices which would offer less than all services offered at the principal office, and which would not comply with the statutory geographical limitations.12/10/1993
199345-18The Legislature retains the power to order a statewide special election on Initiative Referendum 112 at a time other than the 1994 biennial general election.12/3/1993
199345-17Lists of destroyed personal property generated by individuals, for no governmental function or purpose, do not constitute public writings or records subject to disclosure laws.12/3/1993
199345-16County welfare department personnel are state employees for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, entitlement to employee benefits, and participation in employee-related programs. If county welfare department personnel are involuntarily terminated from employment and wish to pursue a grievance, they must follow the grievance procedure established by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services unless the Department and the county have mutually agreed upon an alternative process.10/29/1993
199345-15When a city of the third class adopts a commission-manager form of government established in Mont. Code Ann. tit.7, ch.3, pt.3, the city is not bound by Mont. Code Ann. § 7-3-4462 requiring an election of the city judge, but rather may continue to appoint its city judge under an ordinance passed pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-4102.10/22/1993
199345-14A full-time county attorney serving as city attorney pursuant to an interlocal agreement may not personally receive attorney fees from a private company for work performed on a city/county bond issue.10/14/1993
199345-13The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority to regulate use of an R.S. 2477 public right-of-way within the boundaries of a wildlife refuge and public recreational use of that right-of-way may be permitted only to the extent that is practicable and not inconsistent with the primary objectives for which the refuge was established.8/24/1993
199345-12Condominiums are subdivisions which are not exempted under Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-204 from the provisions of the Montana Subdivision and Platting Act.8/18/1993
199345-11Montana Code Annotated § 18-4-141(1) does not prevent the state from expressly releasing a party to a contract, or its surety, from its obligations after the state has approved a transfer, assignment, or subcontract to a new party.8/17/1993
199345-10A Public Service Commissioner does not violate the code of ethics for public officials and employees by temporarily reactivating and then terminating his employment with a railroad company in order to become eligible to receive a severance payment negotiated between the railroad and the collective bargaining unit to which the commissioner belongs.7/26/1993
  1. Montana Code Annotated § 7-32-4302 authorizes, but does not require, a city or town to enact ordinances to prevent acts or conduct calculated to disturb the public peace.
  2. A city or town police officer acting within the officer’s territorial jurisdiction may arrest a person for a violation of state law prohibiting offenses against public order regardless of whether the city or town has exercised its power to adopt an ordinance prohibiting breaches of the peace.
  3. Each city or town must have a chief of police; no further police officers are required. Each county sheriff, except those in counties of the seventh class, must appoint an undersheriff. No other deputy sheriffs are required by law.
  4. The sheriff has the primary duty to enforce county and state laws throughout the county. If local enforcement is lacking, the sheriff must undertake such enforcement.
199345-8School bonds become binding upon taxpayers on the date bonds are delivered.6/21/1993
199345-7The City of Billings, under its self-government charter, is not precluded by statute from enacting a photo-radar ordinance providing either for accountability on the part of the registered owner for illegal speeding by any person operating the vehicle with the owner’s permission, or for a permissive inference that the registered owner was the speeding violator.6/7/1993
199345-6The Montana Workers’ Compensation Act does not require the State Compensation Mutual Insurance Fund to provide its policyholders with employers’ liability insurance coverage.5/12/1993
  1. The initiative process may not be used to amend the resolution creating a county solid waste management district where the district encompasses an area smaller than the entire county and the initiative petition seeks to alter the method of establishing and collecting service charges.
  2. The county election administrator, upon the advice of the county attorney, may reject a sample initiative petition where it does not involve a matter subject to the initiative or referendum process.
  1. When a rural improvement district requests that a municipal water utility provide water service to fire hydrants owned by the district, the municipality is authorized to provide that service and assess a charge for it.
  2. Payment of a fire hydrant fee charged to a rural improvement district for provision of water to hydrants owned by the rural improvement district may be made from the district’s maintenance fund.
  1. MCA § 50-60-102(1) does not require the exclusion from state building code compliance of multiunit condominiums which utilize “area separation walls,” rental cabins and extended motel units which contain cooking units, or lodging houses, including bed and breakfast establishments.
  2. MCA § 76-2-412(3) excludes from state building code compliance community residential facilities serving eight or fewer persons or day-care homes serving twelve or fewer children.
199345-2Montana Code Annotated § 7-8-2306, which governs the distribution of proceeds from a sale of county tax deed land, requires that city assessments be included and prorated as part of the allocation of monies received from that sale, regardless of when those assessments became payable.4/5/1993
199345-1A city council in a council-manager form of government may adopt an ordinance authorizing the council rather than the city manager to appoint heads of city departments.3/8/1993
  1. Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-16-702 and -703 (1993) require a health care facility, whenever a patient transported to it is diagnosed with one of the transmittable infectious diseases designated in Mont. Admin. R.16.30.801, to report that fact back to the designated officer(s) of the emergency medical services provider(s) who assisted the patient, even if no report of exposure was filed with the facility concerning the transported patient and there is no evidence an actual exposure has occurred.
  2. A disclosure of certain health care information is specifically provided by law in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-16-702 and -703 (1993). The Uniform Health Care Information Act contains an exception for disclosures specifically provided by law. The statutes are not in conflict.
199445-30A small, transit-type bus (which is smaller than a greyhound bus but larger than a nine-passenger van) is a “school bus” under Mont. Code Ann. §20-10-101(2) and may not be used to transport students to extracurricular activities unless it meets the 1990 National Standards for School Buses adopted by the Montana Board of Public Education.12/27/1994
199445-29The approval of the voters in a rural fire district, following a resolution of its board of directors pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §15-10-412(10), is sufficient to allow the board of county commissioners to continue to levy taxes in excess of the limitations established in Mont. Code Ann. §§15-10-401 to -412 in following years, without subsequent voter approval each year thereafter, if the voters of the taxing unit have been informed of the amount and the duration of the increase in tax liability.11/1/1994
199445-28Investment earnings on funds earmarked to be loaned, but not yet paid out to a loan recipient, are not “payback funds” or loan repayments and therefore may not be credited to the science and technology development account to be used to cover the costs of administering programs of the Montana Science and Technology Financing Act.9/8/1994
199445-27School district trustees may transfer any portion of the end-of-the-year general fund balance into the compensated absence liability fund subject to the limitations in Mont. Code Ann. § 20-9-512(4).7/8/1994
199445-26Counties are required by law to reimburse the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services for the expenses associated with the computerization of public assistance eligibility determinations.6/22/1994
199445-25If the conditions established in Mont. Code Ann. §15-10-412(11)(b)(i) are met, the limitations on the amount of taxes levied which are set forth in Mont. Code Ann. title15, chapter 10, do not apply to either the special one-mill levy under Mont. Code Ann. §50-2-114 or the special five-mill levy under Mont. Code Ann. §50-2-111(2)(b).6/21/1994
199445-24Although a county treasurer may not require delinquent SID assessments to be paid in addition to the sale price of tax deed land, the county treasurer must apply the sale proceeds of the land to delinquent SID assessments as provided in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-8-2306.5/23/1994
  1. Mont. Code Ann. §53-2-322 requires nonassumed counties to pay for their proportionate share of administrative costs for protective services, including rent, adequate equipment and supplies.
  2. The responsibility of nonassumed counties to pay for their proportionate share of the administrative costs associated with providing protective services in the county, other than the salaries, travel expenses, and indirect costs of employees, is not capped at the amount paid in fiscal year 1987.
  3. If the Department of Family Services has presented claims to the nonassumed counties, any action to recover the disputed claims must be filed within six months of the denial of the Department’s claim. Older claims are barred by the statute of limitations.
  1. A joint solid waste management district is a political subdivision for purposes of participating in the self-insurance programs authorized by Mont. Code Ann. §2-9-211.
  2. A joint solid waste management district does not have the authority to issue bonds for the purpose of establishing a workers’ compensation self-insurance fund.
199546-12A city or town in Montana may adopt a rule for the operation of its municipal sewer and/or water utility requiring a property owner’s consent to annexation as a condition of continued sewer and/or water service.12/29/1995
199546-11A Montana city that elects its city judge may enact an ordinance requiring that the judge be a resident of the city.12/28/1995
  1. The county governing body may satisfy its obligation to provide office space for a part-time county attorney by providing space in a county building, or if no suitable space is available by renting office space, provided that use of the space for the county attorney’s private practice occurs only through an agreement between the county and the county attorney leasing the use of the space for the county attorney’s private business purposes.
  2. In the alternative, the governing body can allow a claim by the county attorney for the rental of office space needed to conduct the county’s business, provided suitable office space is not available in county buildings.
  3. The county governing body may satisfy its obligation to provide necessary equipment for a part-time county attorney by providing the use of equipment owned by the county, or if no suitable equipment is available by renting equipment, provided that use of the equipment for the county attorney’s private practice occurs only through an agreement between the county and the county attorney leasing the use of the equipment for the county attorney’s private business purposes.
  4. A secretary employed by the county to assist the county attorney may work on the county attorney’s private business during time when the secretary’s services are not needed on county business, provided the county attorney accounts for the time of the secretary spent on private business and reimburses the county for any county-compensated time spent on the county attorney’s private business.
  5. A claim by a county attorney for secretarial services reasonably required for the conduct of the county attorney’s official duties is a legitimate claim against the county. The reasonableness of the claim is a question of fact vested in the sound discretion of the county governing body.
  6. A part-time county attorney may conduct private practice using office space, equipment, or support staff provided by the county without violating Mont. Code Ann. §2-2-121(2)(a) if the county governing body has agreed in writing to the arrangement in compliance with applicable statutes and common law rules governing the county governing body’s authority over county property.
199546-9Health maintenance organizations operating under the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. title 33, chapter 31, are not bound by the competitive bidding requirements of Mont. Code Ann. §33-22-1704(3) in contracting with health care providers, except when entering into a preferred provider agreement as authorized by that section.11/6/1995
199546-8When a city annexes territory which has been part of a rural fire district, Montana law does not allow the district to tax the annexed property to finance repayment of a non-bonded loan incurred by the fire district prior to the annexation.7/21/1995
199546-7The City of Helena, a self-governing city, is precluded from assessing fire service fees to state property located in the City of Helena fire service area, since the fees are in reality a tax rather than an assessment commensurate with a specific benefit conferred on the property assessed.7/7/1995
  1. An office manager/secretary hired as a county employee to assist the county attorney is an “assistant” whose compensation may be set by the county commissioners under Mont. Code Ann. §7-4-2505.
  2. An “assistant” covered by Mont. Code Ann. §7-4-2505(1) must be paid a salary to be determined by the commissioners which must be no greater than 90 percent of the principal officer’s salary, absent a specific provision allowing greater compensation.
199546-5The protest provisions in Mont. Code Ann. §76-2-305(2) are available to affected landowners whenever an existing zoning regulation is changed within the scope of Mont. Code Ann. §76-2-305(1) through exercise by a city or town council of its interim zoning authority under Mont. Code Ann. § 76-2-306.6/20/1995
199546-4Mont. Code Ann. §7-14-4114 gives a municipality the authority either to close all or part of a street to through traffic without giving up its legal interest in the street, or to vacate all or part of the street and revoke its legal interest in it. A municipality with a mayor-council form of government is not bound by Mont. Code Ann. §7-3-4448 and must follow the procedures set forth in Mont. Code Ann. §7-14-4114 when it seeks to discontinue, close, or vacate a street. The procedure for either type of action is the same and is prescribed in the statute; choosing between the two alternatives is a matter for the discretion of the city or town council.5/3/1995
199546-3Local boards of health are required to inspect food establishments and to participate in enforcing state laws governing those establishments.3/3/1995
199546-2Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §20-4-304, a teacher must either attend the annual instructional and professional development meetings of teachers’ organizations or attend other in-service training sometime during the year as approved by the trustees. A teacher cannot use contractual leave to avoid the obligation to attend one or the other kind of training.2/27/1995
  1. The Montana Self-Insurers Guaranty Fund does not ensure payment of all potential covered workers’ compensation claims against employers bound by compensation plan No.1 who are unable to pay the claims because of insolvency.
  2. Proceedings of the board of directors of the Montana Self-Insurers Guaranty Fund are subject to the Montana Administrative Procedure Act (Mont. Code Ann. tit.2, ch.4), and the Open Meeting Law (Mont. Code Ann. tit.2, ch.3, pt.2).
  3. The legislature gave the Montana Self-Insurers Guaranty Fund the power to prevent the sole exercise, by the Department of Labor and Industry, of the powers enumerated in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 39-71-2101, -2103 to -2106, -2109, and -2611, as they are affected by 1993 Mont. Laws, ch.150, and 1991 Mont. Laws, ch. 163.
  4. In all cases except those involving workers’ compensation liabilities accrued prior to July1, 1989, the Department of Labor and Industry must obtain the concurrence of the Montana Self-Insurers Guaranty Fund when it seeks to require an employer who self-insures to give security in addition to the security the employer has already provided.
199646-27Pursuant 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.12/31/1996
199646-26The 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.12/12/1996
199646-25Montana 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.10/17/1996
199646-24The 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.10/10/1996
  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.
  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.
199646-21In 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.7/3/1996
  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.
  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.
199646-18Subject 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 -129.6/5/1996
199646-17Uniform 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 22.6/3/1996
199646-16Any 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.4/4/1996
199646-15A 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.4/3/1996
199646-14A charter form of government may combine legislative and executive powers in the government's legislative body.3/19/1996
199646-13A 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.2/28/1996
199747-10Parcels of land are not exempt from the requirements of the Subdivision and Platting Act solely by virtue of the fact that they are described by reference to boundaries established by a United States Government Survey.12/30/1997
  1. In situations in which application of Article IV, Section 8 (2) and Section 3 of CI-64 could produce conflicting results, the latter provision controls. Applying this rule, for state senators serving a term of office beginning in January 1991, the term limit calculation did not begin until that officer was elected to (or otherwise began serving in) a term beginning during or after January 1993.
  2. The reference in CI-64 to “terms of office” refers to the terms provided by the Constitution and statutes for the offices covered by CI-64.
  3. The reference in Article IV, Section 8 (1) to “years” of service ascribes two years of service for every complete term as a member of the House of Representatives and four years of service for every complete term in the state Senate and in the executive branch offices covered by CI-64, disregarding minor deviations from a 12-month calendar year caused by the differences in the initial dates of terms of office.
  4. Article IV, Section 8 (1) bars a candidate from the ballot if the candidate has served eight or more years in the office sought during the 16-year period ending at the conclusion of the term of office during which the candidate seeks election.
  5. The conclusions expressed in this opinion apply to candidates for the Public Service Commission under Mont. Code Ann. § 69-1-105.
  1. A city may use proceeds from bonds issued pursuant to the Open-Space Land and Voluntary Conservation Easement Act for the maintenance of open-space land acquired with the bond proceeds.
  2. A city may use proceeds from bonds issued pursuant to the Open-Space Land and Voluntary Conservation Easement Act to fund the development of a comprehensive plan for purchase, use, development, and maintenance of open-space land.
199747-7The state general fund is the proper source for payment of a shortfall to bondholders with respect to long-range building program bonds issued to create the airport loan program.7/18/1997
199747-6A city and a county may enter into an agreement to operate a joint city-county library under which both the city and the county may levy taxes on property located in the city.7/10/1997
199747-5The Board of Architects has the authority to regulate the practice of architecture as well as the use of the title "architect" or use of other words implying the practice of architecture.7/8/1997
199747-4A city exercising self-government powers may not vest its municipal planning board with those powers vested in municipal zoning commissions by Mont. Code Ann. § 76-2-307.7/1/1997
199747-3The clerk of district court is not authorized to charge a nonparty state agency for copies and certification of public district court records.5/23/1997
199747-2A county is primarily responsible to third-party providers for post-arrest medical care given to a person who is ultimately charged with a violation of state law, but the county may thereafter seek recovery from another party pursuant to state law.5/2/1997
199747-1The Montana Higher Education Student Assistance Corporation (MHESAC) is not a "state bond issuer" as that term is used in Montana Code Annotated § 17-5-2201, and therefore the fees provided in that section are not applicable to bonds issued by MHESAC.4/7/1997
199847-22The Montana Board of Outfitters' decision initially to forego the adoption of rules pertaining to undue conflict, choosing instead to determine undue conflict on a case-by-case basis, was not a proper implementation of Mont. Code Ann. § 37-47-201(5)(d).12/31/1998
  1. The Board of Plumbers has the legal authority to interpret Mont. Code Ann Title 37, Chapter 69, and any other laws or rules pertaining to the licensing of plumbers in Montana. The Board’s interpretation must be given deference unless it is incorrect.
  2. The Board of Plumbers’ statutory authority to prevent the unlicensed practice of plumbing is limited to situations where a person works in the field of plumbing in any incorporated city, town or other area served by a public water supply or a public sewer system, or who while working in the field of plumbing connects or disconnects plumbing from a public water supply or sewer system (Mont. Code Ann. § 37-69-3-1), assuming that the person’s work does not fit within the exceptions of Mont. Code Ann. § 37-69-102 and a waiver has not been granted pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 37-69-301.
  1. In a commission-executive form of local government, the presence of the president of the town council, serving as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor, and two of the remaining three members of the council is sufficient to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
  2. A town with a weak-mayor form of municipal government does not have authority to adopt by ordinance the quorum provisions of Mont. Code Ann. § 7-3-4221(1)(b).
  1. A hospital district employee cannot be a hospital district trustee.
  2. A public works employee or director cannot be a member of the city council. The positions are incompatible.
199847-19County commissions with general powers have no authority, express or implied, to reduce the office of county auditor to a half-time position.9/10/1998
199847-19The board of county commissioners of a county in which a community college district is located may not issue a tax levy to fund the teachers' retirement obligations of the community college district against property which is located in the county, but not in the community college district. Such a levy may only be imposed on property within the community college district.8/18/1998
  1. A vacancy in the office of town attorney is not created when the attorney holds over following expiration of the term of office.
  2. A qualified town attorney lawfully holding over in the office continues to hold the office until the mayor nominates a successor and the council approves the appointment.
  1. A sexual or violent offender convicted of any violation of law of another state or the federal government reasonably equivalent to a violation under the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. § 46-23-502(6) or (9), and sentenced on or after July 1, 1989, must register with the local law enforcement agency within ten days of entering a county of this state for the purpose of taking up residence in Montana on either a permanent or a temporary basis.
  2. At a minimum, the name of the registered sexual offender may be disclosed. Additional information may be disclosed if the offender is determined to be a risk to the safety of the community and disclosure may protect the public.
199847-14Montana Code Annotated § 25-1-201(1)(a) (1997) does not authorize the clerk of the district court to collect a $120 fee, as the statutory fee for filing a "petition for a contested amendment of a final parenting plan," upon the filing of a petition to modify child support in an existing cause pursuant to §§ 40-4-204 and -208.5/4/1998
  1. A county commission which establishes the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, as its regular meeting date for public notice purposes is not in compliance with Montana’s public participation constitutional provisions and statutes.
  2. Public notice is required of any convening of a quorum of county commissioners at which any matter of significant public interest is to be discussed, deliberated or determined. Additionally, the public must be given the opportunity to participate in any decision of the commission, other than ministerial acts, if there is any question whether the decision is of “significant interest to the public.”
199847-12The prevailing wage requirements in Mont. Code Ann. § 18-2-403(2)(b) apply to fabrication of materials performed off-site by a contractor for installation or use at the site of construction under a public works contract. The prevailing wage district with respect to such off-site services is the district where the on-site construction occurs.3/31/1998
199847-11The weed board, mosquito control board, and city-county health board do not have the authority to set the level of compensation of their employees without the approval of the board of county commissioners, and, in the case of the city-county health board, also the approval of the governing body of the city.3/23/1998
199948-8Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2503(3)(d)(ii) (1999) authorizes county commissioners to grant full-time county attorneys longevity increases for their years served as deputy county attorneys in addition to their years of service as county attorneys.11/2/1999
  1. If a licensed physician wishes to represent himself or herself as licensed to practice the discipline of acupuncture, the physician must acquire a license to practice acupuncture under title 37, chapter 13.
  2. A physician licensed under Mont. Code Ann. title 37, chapter 3, may, as part of his or her practice of medicine, use solid needles to perform therapeutic modalities without first acquiring a license to practice acupuncture under title 37, chapter 13.
199948-6The Montana oversize/weight vehicle permit provisions of title 61 of the Montana Code Annotated, as applied to reducible loads, comply with federal law and regulations because they became grandfathered exceptions after July 1, 1956.8/31/1999
  1. Counties which have adopted a comprehensive master plan are authorized to create planning and zoning districts under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 76-2-101 to -112.
  2. A county planning board has no statutory authority over a planning and zoning district created within the board’s jurisdictional area pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §§ 76-2-101 to -112. The district’s development pattern, which must substantially adhere to the comprehensive master plan, is determined by the planning and zoning commission, subject to the approval of the county commission. However, nothing precludes the planning and zoning commission or the county commission from requesting input from the county planning board during the process of determining and approving the development pattern.
  3. The planning and zoning commission has no power to alter unilaterally the district’s geographic boundaries from those boundaries contained in the petition. However, the commission may address boundary issues when adopting the district’s development pattern. Any changes to the internal boundaries must be made pursuant to procedures set forth in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 76-2-104 and -106.
  4. Generally, individual freeholders may not add their names to or withdraw their names from the petition provided for in Mont. Code Ann. § 76-2-101, after the petition has been certified and submitted to the county commissioners for their review. It may, in some circumstances, be permissible for the county commissioners to extend the time for addition to or deletion of names from the petition.
  5. When a petition to create a planning and zoning district includes a narrative legal description of the district’s boundaries which is inconsistent with the accompanying map of the proposed district, the planning and zoning commission must follow the guidelines found at Mont. Code Ann. § 70-20-201 to determine the appropriate boundaries.
199948-4The mayor, not the chief of police, is the chief law enforcement administrator in a commission-executive form of local government.6/17/1999
  1. A board of county commissioners does not have the authority to modify the annual library budget submitted by the library trustees even if the library is funded by a general fund levy, except that the board of county commissioners may limit the amount of general fund tax revenue requested in the budget by the library trustees to that amount generated by a tax levy of five mills.
  2. A board of county commissioners does not have the authority to modify the library trustees’ decisions regarding library staff compensation even if the library is funded by a general fund levy.
199948-2The Chief Water Judge is not subject to the state leave policies in Mont. Code Ann. title 2, chapter 18, part 6.4/28/1999
199948-1A district court clerk must charge and collect the court reporter filing fee provided under Mont. Code Ann. § 25-1-202 when a civil appeal has been filed from a city or justice court.2/18/1999
200048-26The Department of Commerce may not encumber unexpended funds from an appropriation for the Microbusiness Development Program by committing those funds after fiscal year-end.12/29/2000
200048-25A municipality with self-governing powers may, under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 7-6-1501 to -1509, establish a tiered resort tax schedule providing different tax rates, none of which exceed 3 percent, for similar goods or services according to the character of the business in which the goods or services are sold or offered.12/28/2000
  1. The light vehicle registration fee established in 1999 Mont. Laws, ch. 515, §§ 1-3, ratified by the voters as L.R. 115, may not be assessed against tribally owned vehicles or vehicles owned by enrolled tribal members residing on their reservations.
  2. The light vehicle registration fee established in 1999 Mont. Laws, ch. 515, §§ 1-3, ratified by the voters as L.R. 115, may not be assessed against non-resident active duty military personnel stationed in Montana.
  1. A county clerk and recorder may not refuse to file a “blanket document” that contains a listing of multiple reconveyances of trust indentures, provided the appropriate fee is paid.
  2. A county clerk and recorder must charge the fee described in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2632 for each page of a blanket document.
200048-22Mont. Code Ann. § 7-32-303(6) authorizes only one extension, not to exceed 180 days, to the requirement that every peace officer must attend and successfully complete, within one year of his or her initial appointment, an appropriate peace officer basic training course certified by the Board of Crime Control.12/18/2000
200048-21Mont. Code Ann. § 15-6-201(1)(a)(ii) does not exempt school district properties from paying reasonable solid waste management fees which do not exceed the cost of the services they use.12/15/2000
  1. The public safety commission in a department of public safety created pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. title 7, chapter 32, part 1, may set the salary of a deputy sheriff employed in the department at any level at or above the amount that would be paid to the deputy under Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2508.
  2. The due process provisions of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 7-32-107 to -110 do not apply upon termination of an undersheriff appointed to serve in a department of public safety.
  1. Part-time deputy county attorneys are entitled to longevity pay under Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2503(3)(d).
  2. The term “years of service” contained in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2503(3)(d) means a calendar year, not 2080 hours of employment.
200048-18Both the Department of Public Health and Human Services and the county welfare boards have an interest in staffing patterns for the county public assistance offices, and staffing patterns should be determined through a process of consultation and negotiation between the Department and the county boards. In the event agreement is not reached, the Department of Public Health and Human Services has the final authority for determining the staffing patterns of a non-assumed county department of public welfare.7/13/2000
  1. The holding in 48 Op. Att’y Gen. No. 10 applies to all marriage applications on file with a clerk of the district court, not only to those filed after the date of the opinion.
  2. Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 50-15-122(5), a clerk of the district court may allow public inspection and copying of the marriage certificate filed pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 40-1-321, but not of the marriage license.
200048-16The county commissioners are required to fund the legal defense expenses of an indigent juvenile against whom a petition has been filed in youth court.6/30/2000
200048-15If the city council has already imposed the maximum mill levy authorized by statute in order to fund the firefighters' disability and pension fund, it may not levy an additional special tax or seek voter approval for an additional special tax, even if the fund's value is less than 4 percent of the taxable valuation of all taxable property within the city.6/27/2000
200048-14The City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, a consolidated government with self-government powers, has the authority to acquire and operate electric and natural gas utilities within and outside the boundaries of the local government unit.6/22/2000
  1. Use of a county road right-of-way to gain access to streams and rivers is consistent with and reasonably incidental to the public’s right to travel on county roads.
  2. A bridge and its abutments are a part of the public highway, and are subject to the same public easement of passage as the highway to which they are attached. Therefore, the public may gain access to streams and rivers by using the bridge, its right-of-way, and its abutments.
  3. A member of the public must stay within the road and bridge easement to gain access to streams and rivers. Absent definition in the easement or deed to the contrary, the width of a bridge right-of-way easement is the same as the public highway to which it is attached.
  4. Access to streams and rivers from county roads and bridges is subject to the valid exercise of the county commission’s police power and its statutory power to manage county roads.
  5. Access to streams and rivers from county roads and bridges created by prescription is dependent upon the uses of the road during the prescriptive period.
  1. A city with general government powers may appropriate funds to a private, non-profit corporation for operation of a private museum, if it is determined that the operation of the museum is for a public purpose and if the city enters into a contract with the corporation guaranteeing the public purpose of the enterprise.
  2. Article V, section 11(5), of the Montana Constitution limits only appropriations made by the Montana legislature and does not limit expenditures by local governments.
  1. A substitute city court judge may be selected by the sitting city judge from a list of qualified persons regardless of the availability of another city judge or justice of the peace.
  2. If a sitting justice of the peace has been disqualified pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 3-1-803 or -805, the substitute justice must be another justice of the peace and may not be someone who has qualified to act as a substitute justice under Mont. Code Ann. § 3-10-231(2). If the sitting justice of the peace is sick, disabled or absent, the substitute justice may be a person who has qualified under § 3-10-231(2), as long as another justice of the peace or a city judge is not readily available. If the sitting justice of the peace is on vacation or in training, the substitute justice is chosen in the same manner as if the justice were sick or absent, as long as there is not another justice of the peace from the county of the sitting justice.
  3. In determining who is available to act as a substitute justice of the peace, the sitting justice may rely upon letters from other justices and city judges that they are unavailable. Such letters should not be relied upon indefinitely, however. After a reasonable time, as determined by the sitting justice, the justices and judges who wrote the letters should be contacted to determine if they are still unavailable.
  1. Subject to the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-15-121 and -122, applications for marriage licenses should be treated as confidential records once they have been completed and filed with the clerk of the district court.
  2. Once a marriage has been reported to the Department of Public Health and Human Services on the form prescribed by the Department, the Department or the clerk of the district court may disclose to the public the names of the bride and groom, the date and place of the marriage, the name of the officiant and whether the ceremony was religious or civil.
  3. The clerk of court may not divulge or provide copies of applications for marriage licenses under Mont. Code Ann. § 50-15-121(1) unless the requestor is the applicant, the applicant’s spouse, child, parent, or guardian, or an authorized representative. For purposes of this statute, “authorized representative” has the meaning provided in Mont. Code Ann. § 50-5-1103(2).
200048-9A tank that has been granted eligibility for reimbursement under Mont. Code Ann. § 75-11-308 loses its eligibility status if the tank falls out of compliance with applicable state and federal laws and rules.2/17/2000
200149-13Upon oral pronouncement of a sentence that transfers legal custody of an inmate to the Department of Corrections, the financial responsibility for the inmate also transfers to Corrections.11/29/2001
200149-12A sheriff may receive compensation from a federal agency under the terms of a cooperative law enforcement agreement where the services rendered by the sheriff fall outside of his or her "official duties" without violating any of Montana's statutory or constitutional provisions.10/31/2001
  1. The owners of real property who may vote in the elections contemplated by SB 242 are those owners specifically listed within the definition of Mont. Code Ann. § 50-60-101(14) whose interests appear in the real property records in the office of the county clerk and recorder 30 days before the election.
  2. Municipal jurisdictional areas existing under Mont. Code Ann. § 50-60-101(11) prior to the effective date of SB 242 lose jurisdiction to enforce municipal building code provisions as of the effective date of the bill, but such jurisdiction may be revived if it is approved by the voters in the election required by section 8 of SB 242 prior to December 31, 2001.
200149-10The Montana Board of Crime Control may reimburse counties for detention costs for Indian youth placed in a regional youth detention facility pursuant to an order of a tribal court.10/18/2001
200149-9Withdrawn October 19, 2001. See 49 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 1110/3/2001
200149-8An airport authority commissioner may only be removed for cause during his or her term of appointment. "For cause" means some type of misconduct or neglect of duty. As long as commissioners are exercising powers authorized by law, they are not subject to removal during their term of office.8/23/2001
  1. Absent the findings required by Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-511(2), a local governing body must adopt subdivision regulations for water supply and sewage and solid waste disposal that are as stringent as the standards adopted by the Department of Environmental Quality under the Sanitation in Subdivisions Act.
  2. Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-511 grants local governments the authority to incorporate by reference comparable state regulations or guidelines, but local governments retain discretion to determine the best method of adopting minimum requirements.
  3. Review of a proposed subdivision for compliance with local subdivision regulations must occur at the preliminary plat stage.
200149-6Telemarketers who are exempt from the registration and bonding requirements of the Montana Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act are not exempt from other provisions of the Act.8/9/2001
  1. The mill levy cap provided in Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1)(a) (2001), as amended by HB 124, is calculated with reference to the total property tax assessed in the previous year, and not by reference to the amount levied for any particular purpose in any prior year.
  2. Local governments may not derive “carry forward” authority under Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1)(b) (2001) based on the difference between the mill levy set in 2000 and the amount the local government would have been authorized to levy under Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1) (1999).
  3. The “carry forward” authority provided in Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1)(b) (2001), as amended by HB 124, will be available whenever the local government levies fewer mills than would be authorized to reach the mill levy cap provided in subsection (1)(a), and is measured by the difference between the number of mills actually levied and the number of mills the local government would have been allowed to levy to reach the cap.
  4. The “carry forward” mills may be levied in a future year and expended by the local government for any lawful purpose it chooses.
200149-4A local government may levy additional mills pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1) (2001) sufficient to make up the difference between the amount reimbursed by the state for light vehicle fees and taxes pursuant to House Bill 124, section 1, and the amount of fees and taxes assessed by the local government for FY 2001.7/31/2001
  1. A long-term lease with an option to purchase containing a provision allowing the City to terminate the agreement without penalty if the governing body of the City, in its sole discretion, fails to appropriate funds to make payments due under the lease in any fiscal year, does not create indebtedness of the City.
  2. A city may enter a long-term lease with an option to purchase containing a provision allowing the City to terminate the agreement without penalty if the governing body of the City, in its sole discretion, fails to appropriate funds to make payments due under the lease in any fiscal year without first putting the question to a vote of the people.
200149-2The Board of Investments may complete the payment of grants to the Montana University System from interest and income derived from the Montana Board of Science and Technology Development loans.4/21/2001
200149-1Occupational therapists are not authorized by Montana law to perform iontophoresis.3/12/2001
  1. A comprehensive plan adopted prior to October 1, 1999, has no legal effect as the basis for new local zoning or subdivision regulations unless it meets the requirements of a growth policy pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 76-1-601.
  2. Zoning regulations lawfully adopted pursuant to master plans, comprehensive plans and comprehensive development plans prior to October 1, 2001, are valid and enforceable. However, after October 1, 2001, county and municipal zoning regulations authorized by Title 76, chapter 2, parts 2 and 3, may not be adopted or substantively revised unless a growth policy is adopted for the entire area of the planning board having jurisdiction.
  3. A municipal governing body may not extend municipal boundaries, pursuant to the Planned Community Development Act of 1973, without conforming to a growth policy.
  4. The expedited review provisions of the Subdivision and Platting Act may not be utilized without a compliant growth policy.
  5. If a city or county has not developed a growth policy, interim zoning regulations may be implemented only when: there is an exigent circumstance related to public health, safety and welfare; the zoning measure reasonably relates to the exigency; and more formal planning processes are underway as required by statute. Failure to adopt a growth policy is not, in and of itself, an exigency that permits adoption of emergency interim zoning.
  6. A growth policy must cover the entire planning board jurisdiction for zoning decisions to proceed.
200249-22General obligation bonds issued by a county water and sewer district are payable by levy on the taxable value of all real and personal property within the district.9/16/2002
200249-21Mont Code Ann. § 3-5-901(4) specifically limits state payment of costs for court-appointed counsel for indigent criminal defendants to district court criminal cases.9/11/2002
  1. The loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges that occurs upon a guilty plea, conviction, or forfeiture of bail of a fish and game violation is a direct consequence of that violation. A Judge must inform an individual accused of a fish and game violation of the potential forfeiture of fishing, hunting, and trapping privileges as a result of conviction, guilty plea, or forfeiture of bond in order to assure that a “knowing” plea is entered.
  2. Notification regarding loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges is, by statute, to be done by the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
200249-19Boards of County Commissioners have a duty to accept and pay claims for actual and necessary clerical expenses associated with the operation of justice court. The procedural rule adopted in State ex rel. Browman v. Wood, 168 Mont. 341, 543 P.2d 184 (1975) applies to disputes between Justices of the Peace and Boards of County Commissioners regarding payment of actual and necessary expenses.7/16/2002
200249-18The Montana Constitution and Montana law authorize a municipal court judge to release a defendant on a time-pay bail bond, defined as a bond in an amount set by the judge to be paid in installments.5/16/2002
200249-17The two-year residency requirement contained in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2104(2) does not disqualify from standing for election a person who was transferred into a county commission district by virtue of reapportionment conducted pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2102, as long as the person has resided at the same address, now in the new district, for the requisite two-year period.1/28/2002
  1. The county commissioners are generally obligated to fund the library budget submitted by the library board within the limits set by Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420.
  2. The county has the power to enter an interlocal agreement under which it could bind itself to fund the library budget as submitted by the library board under Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-309(1).
  1. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House are prohibited by article V, section 9 of the Montana Constitution and by Mont Code Ann. § 5-2-104 from appointing a legislator as a member of the Board of Review as provided by Mont Code Ann. § 30-16-302.
  2. Designating a legislator as a nonvoting member does not circumvent this prohibition.
  3. Under Mont. Code Ann. § 30-16-301, the President and the Speaker can appoint a nonlegislator as a member of the Board.
200249-14An elementary school district that has not operated a school for three consecutive school years has been abandoned pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 20-6-209 and may not petition to reopen the school under Mont. Code Ann. § 20-6-502.1/10/2002
200350-3A county water district, as a defined local government entity, is subject to the requirements of the State of Montana Single Audit Act, whether or not it has accepted local, state or federal funds during the year.11/5/2003
200350-2When a police officer is injured in the line of duty, the employing city's obligation to supplement the officer's workers' compensation wage loss benefits by paying the difference between the benefits received and the officer's net salary pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-32-4132 ends after the city has paid benefits for a total of one year. That period may consist of aggregated periods of disability of less than one year resulting from the same injury and may extend beyond one calendar year from the date the disability begins.7/8/2003
200350-1A city-county planning board established under Montana Code Annotated Title 76, chapter 1, may enter into a contract with the city to provide the professional services of a planning director and staff that are subject to the supervision of the city manager rather than the planning board.2/6/2003
  1. A local government with self-government powers may set rates for water and sewer service without regard to the requirements of Mont. Code Ann. § 7-13-4304.
  2. Protection against unlawful governmental discrimination is an area affirmatively subject to state control. Consequently, the provisions of Mont. Code Ann. § 49-2-308 of the Montana Human Rights Act apply to a self-governing municipality in the setting of water and sewer service rates.
200450-9A Conservation District has authority under Mont. Code Ann. § 76-15-706 (2003) to implement land use regulations, following a referendum by the voters, in order to implement reasonable measures to conserve the soils, protect the soil structure from coal bed methane water, and conserve the water resources of the district.8/31/2004
200450-8The closing of a county-owned incinerator by the Park County Commission is an administrative act not subject to initiative and referendum.7/20/2004
  1. A fugitive prisoner, after waiver of extradition, is not entitled to bail under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act as set forth in Mont. Code Ann. tit. 46, ch. 30.
  2. Upon waiver of extradition, our state district courts retain jurisdiction only to effect transport of the fugitive.
  1. When a crime victim requests confidentiality, the public dissemination of certain information, including the address, telephone number, or place of employment of the victim or a member of the victim’s family is prohibited, unless an exception listed in Mont. Code Ann. § 44-5-311(1) applies.
  2. Information directly or indirectly disclosing the identity of victims of certain sex crimes may not be publicly disseminated unless an exception listed in Mont. Code Ann. § 44-5-311(1) applies.
  3. A law enforcement agency may disclose a crime scene location under Mont. Code Ann. § 44-5-311(1), (3), even if such disclosure may suggest the identity of the victim.
200450-5In an election on the question of establishing a local government study commission, a local government may not combine a mill levy question with the study commission question, because the combined questions do not "substantially" conform to the statutory form required by Mont. Code Ann. § 7-3-175.3/19/2004
  1. The creation of the Central Intake system is well within the authority granted to the Department of Public Health and Human Services by the Legislature in Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-202(1).
  2. The administrative decision by the Department of Public Health and Human Services to establish the Central Intake system implements, interprets or prescribes law or policy. It is a “rule” for the purposes of the Montana Administrative Procedures Act. Thus the notice and hearing requirements of MAPA should have been followed prior to its implementation.
  3. There are no “local affiliates” of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. As a result, Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-201(1) should be read to require the reporting of child abuse or neglect to the Department, a requirement which is clearly satisfied by the reporting of child abuse or neglect to the Centralized Intake Bureau.
  1. A city council must provide an agenda item for public comment on non-agenda matters only for issues that are of significant interest to the public. Public notice is required for any meeting of the council.
  2. A city council must provide an agenda item for public comment on non-agenda matters of significant interest to the public even when the council meets in informal work sessions where no action may be taken.
  3. The right of the public to comment at a meeting of a city council on non-agenda items extends to matters that may involve an interest in individual privacy. The presiding officer retains the power to close the meeting to other members of the public upon a determination that the right of individual privacy clearly outweighs the merits of public disclosure.
  4. Montana Code Annotated tit. 2, ch. 3 applies to all advisory boards, commissions and committees of the city council subject to the limitation that such entities need not permit public comment on matters that are not of significant interest to the public.
  5. Only an item that is not of significant public interest or is otherwise exempt from the public participation requirements of Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-103 may be added to the city council agenda and acted upon at the same meeting.
  1. A board of county commissioners, in the exercise of its general authority to manage the business of the county and to set compensation for its employees, may offer payment to county employees in lieu of an employee’s participation in a group health insurance plan.
  2. Where an existing term of the collective bargaining agreement is a provision for payments in lieu of participation in a group health care insurance plan, that portion of the agreement may not be altered by the board of county commissioners without the written agreement of the collective bargaining unit.
  3. For a non-union employee, the board may only terminate payments in lieu of participation if the termination is consistent with the employment agreement with the employee.
200551-10Section 69 of the Montana Public Defender Act (Senate Bill 146 of the 2005 Legislature) allows but does not require the Public Defender Commission and the Office of the Public Defender to hire all current city and county public defender employees. The bill allows the Commission and the Office the discretion to decide whom to retain for the new public defender system.12/6/2005
200551-8The insurance carrier of an individual involved in a traffic accident is entitled to receive copies of the accident report and supplemental information, including witness statements, whether or not the insurance carrier is referred to or named in the accident report.8/17/2005
200551-7A school district may not claim a refund pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §15-70-356(2)(a) of taxes paid on special fuels by a company which contracts with the district to provide bus service for the district's students.8/4/2005
200551-6Before school district trustees may transfer any portion or all of the district's bus depreciation reserve fund to any other fund maintained by the district, the trustees must have sold all of the district's buses and submitted the proposed transfer to the electors of the district.7/15/2005
  1. Under the Montana Nonprofit Corporation Act, an authority created pursuant to an interlocal agreement among self‑governing municipalities may incorporate a public benefit nonprofit corporation to operate an electric and natural gas utility.
  2. An authority created by interlocal agreement between self-governing municipalities may exercise only those powers that any of the municipalities might exercise.
  3. Operation of an electric and natural gas utility is a public purpose for which a self-governing municipality may grant funds.
  4. Debt incurred through corporate bonds issued by a public benefit nonprofit corporation incorporated by an authority created by interlocal agreement between self‑governing municipalities is not subject to laws regulating municipal debts or obligations if the municipalities are not legally obligated to appropriate money to pay the debt and the debt is without recourse to the spending power of the municipalities.
200551-4The enactment of Mont. Code Ann. § 17-8-106 by the 1981 legislature placed no enforceable limits on the spending power of a subsequent legislature.7/5/2005
200551-3More than $2 million has been appropriated in a line item from state sources other than the water adjudication account provided in HB 22, § 7, for the purposes of funding Montana's water adjudication program. Accordingly, HB 22 is not void pursuant to its contingent voidness provision.6/13/2005
200551-2A judicial decision invalidating the county distribution requirements for signatures to qualify an initiative petition for the ballot, as approved in Constitutional Amendments 37 and 38 and enacted in their implementing legislation, restores the language of the constitution and statutes as they existed before the approval of the invalid amendments.4/7/2005
200551-1A public officer or public employee may engage in political speech so long as his or her speech does not involve the use of public time, facilities, equipment, supplies, personnel, or funds.1/31/2005
200651-18Cross-county annexation is permitted by Montana law and is not dependent upon county approval.9/21/2006
  1. An urban renewal project consisting in part of property outside a municipality is not permitted under the Urban Renewal Law. Tax increment financing may not be used to support such a project.
  2. Since MetraPark does not engage in a “secondary, value-added industry,” financing for infrastructure improvements at MetraPark is not permitted under the Tax Increment Financing Industrial Development Act.
  1. When an employer provides an insurance policy providing prescription drug coverage and other medical services, the Montana unisex insurance law, Mont. Code Ann. § 49-2-309, requires inclusion of coverage for prescription contraceptives and related medical services.
  2. When an employee benefit plan provides prescription drug coverage and other medical services, the Montana Human Rights Act, Mont. Code Ann. § 49-2-303, requires inclusion of coverage for prescription contraceptives and related medical services.
200651-15A municipality may choose to participate in cooperative purchasing with the Department of Administration of the State of Montana pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §§ 18-4-401 to -407 without first seeking its own competitive bids as an alternative to the competitive bidding requirements set forth in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-5-4302.3/16/2006
  1. Montana Code Annotated § 61-3-321 (2005), as codified, conflicts with 2005 Mont. Laws, ch. 596, §§ 148 and 149.
  2. The coordination instruction found in 2005 Mont. Laws, ch. 596, § 149, incorporated § 148’s prescribed amendment of Mont. Code Ann. § 61-3-321, as further modified in § 149; accordingly, all registration fees imposed under § 61-3-321, as so amended, must be paid if the vehicle to which plates are transferred is not currently registered.
  3. Since the codified version of the bills conflicts with the enrolled bill, § 149 as interpreted herein must be given effect over the codified version of Mont. Code Ann. § 61-3-321 (2005).
200651-13When the Department of Corrections contracts with a Montana private nonprofit corporation to establish residential methamphetamine treatment programs pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 53-1-203(1)(c)(ii), it need not undergo the privatization plan process outlined in Mont. Code Ann. §§ 2-8-302 and 2-8-303.2/28/2006
  1. Does the Montana Department of Corrections have jurisdiction to determine whether convicted offenders from out-of-state law enforcement and correctional agencies may be housed at a multijurisdictional detention center created pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-32-2201?
  2. May a multijurisdictional detention center contract for the confinement of inmates committed to an out-of-state correctional facility?
200752-3A Lease-Purchase Agreement which includes a non-appropriation clause and which allows for termination without penalty to the County does not constitute indebtedness or liability for the purposes of Mont. Code Ann. § 7-7-2101(1) or (2) and therefore does not require voter approval.6/5/2007
200752-2When a person is appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of city judge under a commission-manager form of city government, that person serves the remainder of the existing term.5/3/2007
  1. The Legislature has the final authority under Montana law to approve creation of a new community college district.
  2. The approval of the Legislature for the creation of a new community college district required by Mont. Code Ann. § 20-15-209 occurs after the approval by the local voters but before the Board of Regents issues its organizational order.
  3. Montana law does not require approval of the Board of Regents for creation of the district, but does require the Board to make a recommendation.
  1. Mont. Code Ann. § 13-37-402 prohibits an elected official covered by the statute from paying for constituent services from any account related to the official’s public office other than a constituent services or campaign account. It does not, however, prohibit expenditures for the provision of constituent services from the official’s personal funds.
  2. After May 14, 2007, the limitations placed on constituent spending by Mont. Code Ann. §§ 13-37-401 and -402 were in effect.
  1. Police officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty and receiving salary benefits under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 7-32-4132 and 7-33-4133 through the usual payroll system in the same manner as if still on their regular duties accrue vacation and sick leave credit under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 2-18-611, 2-18-618.
  2. 42 Op. Att’y Gen. No. 114 (1988) is overruled to the extent it holds that police officers and firefighters injured in the line of duty and receiving salary benefits under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 7-32-4132 and 7-33-4133 through the usual payroll system in the same manner as if still on their regular duties do not accrue vacation and sick leave credit under Mont. Code Ann. §§ 2-18-611, 2-18-618.
200852-6Which body of "electors" constitutes the "qualified voters" for Ravalli County zoning regulation — the residents of the unincorporated areas only, or all of the residents of the County, including those residing within incorporated areas such as the City of Hamilton?6/23/2008
200852-5Does the Montana Procurement Act apply to the awarding of subgrants to fund projects by the Montana Board of Crime Control?3/25/2008
200953-3How does a governing body allocate hard rock mine trust account funds between the governing body and the elementary and high school districts in the county, once a triggering event as set forth in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-6-2225(2) occurs?10/2/2009
  1. Subject to Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420, a board of county commissioners may levy mills to support a county hospital district, even if the district is newly created and no mills have previously been levied for district purposes.
  2. For purposes of applying Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420 to a mill levy for a county hospital district under Mont. Code Ann. § 7-34- 2133, the “governmental entity” levying the tax is the county, not the district.
  3. Under Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420, county property taxes are limited by the number of mills required to raise the same amount of tax revenue as was raised in the immediately previous year, increased by (a) one-half of the average rate of inflation for the previous year, and (b) by any mills carried over from the previous year under Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420(1)(b). The amount of tax revenue raised in 1996, as provided in Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10- 420, is no longer the limiting factor.
  4. The Commissioners may provide funding for a hospital district from the general mill levy or from (a) mills levied under Mont. Code Ann. § 7-34-2133, so long as the total number of mills levied by the County under Mont. Code Ann. § 7-1-2133 and for all other purposes covered by § 420 stays within the cap provided by § 420; (b) from an additional mill levy amount approved by the voters under Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-425; or (c) from bonds sold pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-34-2131 to defray the cost of “acquisition, furnishing, equipment, improvement, extension, and betterment of hospital facilities and to provide an adequate working capital for a new hospital.”
  5. Montana Code Annotated § 7-34-2133 does not obligate the county to fund the budget proposed by the county hospital district trustees without change.
  1. A municipality may be organized within the boundaries of a resort area or resort area district.
  2. The incorporation of a municipality within the boundaries of a resort area does not alter the boundaries of the area, exclude property that is within the boundaries of the newly created municipality from the application of the resort tax, or preclude the expenditure of the area’s resort tax revenue for expenses or projects within the municipality’s boundaries as provided by law.
201053-6Are endowments granted to universities considered public funds for purposes of Article VIII, Section 13 of the Montana Constitution?11/19/2010
  1. Taxable property within an incorporated city may become exempt from a county library levy under Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-313 only when (1) the city has “an existing tax-supported public library,” as the term “public library” is defined in Mont. Code Ann. § 33-1-301(3), actually in existence and (2) the city governing body notifies the county of its desire not to be part of the county library system.
  2. Where the city and county have entered an interlocal agreement in which the city provides a building and other services for a branch of the county library but has not created an independent city library, withdrawal from the interlocal agreement, by itself, does not allow the city to act under Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-313 to exempt city property from the county library tax levy.
201053-4Does a county violate Mont. Code Ann. § 2-18-603 by complying with a collective-bargaining agreement which provides that public employees working ten-hour days, four days per week, are to be paid ten hours pay for holidays?1-Jul
201154-3Retirees of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Montana do not have individual rights of privacy in the amounts of their retirement benefits that clearly exceed the public’s right to know.9/16/2011
  1. Do the provisions of Montana’s Open-Space Land and Voluntary Conservation Easement Act, codified as Mont. Code Ann. § 76-6-101 (2009) et seq., apply solely to public bodies and qualifying private organizations as defined by the code?
  2. Do the requirements of Mont. Code Ann. §§ 76-6-206 and 76-6-207 (2009) apply to entities other than public bodies and qualifying private organizations as defined by the code?
201154-1A county superintendent of schools is not allowed to charge an hourly fee for performing services as a substitute superintendent under Mont. Code Ann. § 20-3-211.1/18/2011
201254-8A peace officer who has a break in service during the one year period provided by state law has the remainder of the one-year period, plus any additional time as granted by the public officer standards and training council, in which to attend and successfully complete a basic training course.8/10/12
201254-7The library board has sole discretion to determine how to use unspent funds in the library reserve. Additionally, the library board does not have the authority to require the local governing body to levy a certain number of mills in support of the library. The local governing body is not required to continue levying a particular number of mills in perpetuity.6/1/2012
201254-6Property taxes levied to support the adult education and transportation funds may be transferred to the school flexibility fund, but the transfer must be within or directly related to the purposes for which the property taxes were raised, i.e., adult education programming and transportation services. A transfer of property taxes for any other purpose is invalid.2/3/2012
201254-5Montana’s subdivision review law applies to all potential uses, not just residential uses. The opinion also concluded that an exemption from review for the sale, rent or lease of multiple parts of a building applies only to a single building, not to multiple buildings.1/13/2012
201254-4A candidate for political office may file for an elected office if, at the time the candidate begins to serve in that office, he or she will have had an eight-year break in service over a 16-year period.1/11/2012
201355-1An urban transportation district is restricted to operating general public transportation systems and is not authorized to tax and manage county roads within its border.7/13/2013
201455-2The Legislature has not authorized the State to collect 9-1-1 fees for prepaid wireless services purchased from independent retail stores. Absent this legislative authority, the Department of Revenue cannot promulgate rules to allow for the collection of the fees on these sales.1/16/2014
201656-2The definition of “agent” in Mont. Code Ann. § 44-2-111 does not restrict the persons that the Attorney General may appoint as agents to employees “within the Department of Justice.”7/1/2016
201656-1Public employees on workers compensation leave who are supplementing workers compensation benefits with accrued sick leave pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement are in a leave-with-pay status for the sick leave hours converted to pay, and are entitled to accrue vacation and sick leave credits on a prorated basis.1/13/2016
201757-2Montana law does not authorize wagering on historical horseracing; therefore, it is prohibited in Montana.11/16/2017
201757-1A city, town or other local government entity with self-governing powers is prohibited by Montana state law from enforcing a local regulation or ordinance requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers within its borders.1/26/2017
201857-4Montana law requires that the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks obtain prior approval of the Board of Land Commissioners for acquisitions of easements, including conservation easements, if they involve more than 100 acres or $100,000 in value.10/15/2018
201857-3The authority for the removal of a trustee appointed to the board of a free public library is a matter to be adopted and implemented by the board of trustees under its statutory duty to adopt bylaws and rules for the transaction of business and the governance of the library.9/27/2018
202057-5Montana law requires Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) fees be deposited in a separate and distinct account within the county treasury by the 10th day in each month if the county sheriff intends to use these fees to implement CWP statutes. If CWP fees are not used to implement CWP statutes, then these fees must be deposited into the general fund of the county by the 10th day in each month.3/18/2020
202158-1In many instances, the use of “Critical Race Theory” and “antiracism” programming discriminates on the basis of race, color, or national origin in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Article II, Section 4 of the Montana Constitution, and the Montana Human Rights Act.5/27/2021
202359-2Earned Wage Access providers do not need to be licensed by the Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions under the Montana Consumer Loan Act and Montana Deferred Deposit Loan Act to provide Earned Wage Access products.12/22/2023
202359-1The Water District must apply and pay for permits from the city prior to excavating in the right-of-way on property owned by and under city management.11/17/2023
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