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Letters of Advice – 2006

Disclaimer: The Department of Justice expends considerable effort to ensure that the letters of advice 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.

Subject Request Requestor Date Issued
Cities and Towns Does the Mayor of the City of Miles City possess the power to veto an objectionable part of a resolution containing the city’s annual budget, while approving the other parts of said resolution and budget? Noble, Jeffrey A.
City Attorney
Miles City
Deeds May a county clerk and recorder require a survey and plat in order to record a deed transferring title to a remainder that was created when the United States government obtained property for a highway right-of-way for a federal road or state highway? Bradshaw, Blaine C.
County Attorney
  1. Can the water adjudication fee under House Bill No. 22, enacted as Chapter 228, Laws of 2005, be legally imposed on an enrolled tribal member who holds a state-based water right put to beneficial use on fee land within the exterior boundaries of the reservation?
  2. If the fee is imposed and a tribal member declines to pay the fee, is the fee collectible under federal law?
  3. Does the fact that the described tribal member has intentionally chosen to participate in the state water adjudication process affect the analysis?
  4. Does the fact that the intentional participation enhances the value of the privately owned property affect the analysis?
Matthews, Gary
House of Representatives
Fire Districts Does the phrase “majority of the tax paying freeholders” in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-33-2125(1)(a) refer to a majority of the total landowners, or to the majority of the land? Bradshaw, Blaine C.
County Attorney
  1. May a county charge a city (located within the county) for preparing and maintaining criminal justice information for persons committed to the county detention center at the request of a city police department in the course of enforcing state law?
  2. May a county refuse to transport persons committed to the county detention center under state law at the request of a city court judge?
Van Buskirk, Mary
City Attorney
Local Government Study Commissions Does responsibility for developing the new five district apportionment plan for Ravalli County rest with the Local Government Study Commission or the existing three-member Board of County Commissioners? Corn, George
County Attorney
Motor Vehicles Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 61-6-303(9), motor vehicles that are owned and registered by non-residents which are in compliance with said person’s home state’s motor vehicle liability insurance requirements are exempt from the provisions of § 61-6-301 (which generally require Montana drivers to maintain such insurance coverage). Should non-resident drivers be required to maintain such insurance coverage while driving in Montana if their home state’s laws do not require them to do so once they leave their home state to avoid being convicted of violating this statute? Noble, Jeffrey A.
County Attorney
Powder River
Motor Vehicles Does a driver need to obtain insurance coverage for a vehicle which is parked on private property (and the owner is unsure as to when it will next be operated on public roads) when he attempts to reinstate his registration and license plates under Mont. Code Ann. § 61-6-304(2) following his second conviction of a violation of § 61-6-301? Noble, Jeffrey A.
County Attorney
Powder River
Motor Vehicles After issuing a citation to a driver for operating a motor vehicle without a policy of liability insurance in effect in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 61-6-301, can the law enforcement officer that issued the citation instruct the driver to park that vehicle in a proper spot and not move it until proof of liability insurance is in effect? Further, can said officer take any further action to ensure that vehicle is not driven? Noble, Jeffrey A.
City Prosecutor
Miles City
School Districts Several questions concerning the effect of school district unification. Wilson, Valerie
County Attorney
Statutory Construction Does the cancellation of a recorded notice of trustee sale executed in conformance with Mont. Code Ann. § 71-1-312 constitute a conveyance of an interest in real property that requires a legal description be included as a prerequisite to recording pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2636? Schwarz, Daniel L.
Chief Deputy County Attorney
Statutory Construction
  1. Is the prohibition on the use of public resources as set forth in Mont. Code Ann. § 2-2-121, and in particular subsection (3) (as it relates to the passage of a ballot initiative) applicable to the Montana Association of Counties (MACo) because the association is partially funded with dues paid with public funds by member counties, as authorized in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-5-2141?
  2. Is MACo bound by the provisions of § 2-2-101 through -144 of the Montana Code of Ethics?
  3. Can MACo make expenditures or contributions in connection with ballot initiatives, or voice its support of or opposition to ballot initiatives?
  4. Does a member of the Hill County Commission violate Mont. Code Ann. 2-2-121(3) by authorizing the payment of dues in accordant with Mont. Code Ann. 7-5-2131, or by serving as an officer of the association, if the association uses any part of the dues paid to solicit support or opposition to the passage of a ballot initiative? Is this a violation of the use of public resources, or do the public funds used to pay dues for membership in the association lose their identity as public money when transferred to the association?
Bessette, Kathy
County Commission Chairman
Statutory Construction Several questions regarding the proper interpretation of Mont. Code Ann. § 76-1-221(d). Bell, Kenneth S.
City Attorney
Subdivisions Do Broadwater County Commissioners have any discretion under Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-621(3)(a) to impose a park dedication requirement for minor subdivisions? Flynn, John T.
County Attorney


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