Welcome Back Governor Bullock and 2017 Legislators

With the business of Montana’s 64th Legislature now in full swing, there are many issues of interest to those who love Montana and look to see her heritage protected. Even in times of tight budgets, there are ways to support and sustain heritage buildings and places, promote heritage tourism, and plan for the future of Montana’s cherished historic resources. 

Our legislators are now doing the heavy work of drafting and carrying bills and MPA will be following legislation in three key areas. 

Thanks to Senator Jim Keane (D), Butte for leading the way in sponsoring two bills that will sustain some of our state’s most important historic properties. HB 14, Governor Bullock’s Jobs in Montana Act includes authorization to issue bonds to fund rehabilitation and expansion of the Montana Historical Society, Helena and Romney Hall at Montana State University, Bozeman. Also, HB 5, the Capital Projects bill includes funding for improvements at numerous historic sites including the Capitol complex, Lewis and Clark Caverns, Ft. Harrison Cemetery, Helena; and Bannack. We hope to see the Montana Heritage Commission and Virginia City added to the bill. 

Tourism & Taxation
Each biennium MPA follows bills that affect Montana’s historic State Parks and state-owned heritage places. We’re watching HB 484, sponsored by Virginia Court (D), Billings would increase funds for State Parks and Virginia and Nevada cities. We are also tracking bills that will support increased funding for historic sites through lodging use fees.  

Arts, Culture, & Antiquities
HB 9, the Montana Cultural and Aesthetic Trust Fund bill helps a host of cultural organizations do their work. We’re also watching for new bills calling for changes to Montana’s antiquities laws.