Here is a summary of some of the important bills the Flathead Lakers supported or opposed:
• HB 411 provides permanent funding for the state AIS program. It originally passed the House 83-15 and then passed the Senate 44-6, which returned it to the House with amendments. Please contact your Representative to show support for the amended bill and thank your Senator and Representative for supporting protecting our waters from this menace. Most Flathead legislators supported the bill.
• HB 608 requires boats with ballast tanks being transported from mussel-infested waters to be decontaminated. The ballast tanks are nearly impossible to completely drain and dry, so full decontamination and/or quarantine, which this bill requires, is critical to protect our waters. It passed the House 63-35 and Senate 50-0. Please thank your legislators!
• SJ Resolution 3 authorizes a study of alternative septic systems, the impacts of aging systems on Montana waters, and system regulations in other states. A report will be presented to a legislative committee and the 2021 Legislature. This will be a great step toward finding positive solutions for a difficult problem.
• HB 625 would eliminate nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) criteria and eliminate variances from Montana’s water quality standards. We opposed this bill, which passed the House and was tabled in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality will be reviewing nutrient standards due to a current court case on this issue. We will be watching and participating in that process.