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Senate Bill 13 threatens state parks

 


Senate Bill 13 threatens state parks

Editor:

Senate Bill 13 has cleared the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and will be voted on by the Montana Senate in the coming days.

The bill would change current Montana law that provides more than $2.5 million for state parks. Currently, Montana residents are assessed an optional $4 fee when they register a light vehicle, with the option to opt-out when they pay their vehicle registration. More than 80 percent of Montanans choose to pay this fee, allowing them to be admitted free to our state parks (with Montana license plates).

SB13 would change all of that. The bill would require Montanans to opt-in to pay the fee and raise it to $25. This opt-in approach has been tried in other states with negative results and a drastic drop in funding available for parks.

If SB13 passes, it would cripple an already-stretched state park system — one that manages seven national historic landmarks, supports 1,600 jobs and keeps state parks open for the 88 percent of Montana residents that visit state parks every two years or less.

Please contact your local representative and encourage them to vote no to SB13. Help protect our state parks, the communities they support and our economy.

Ramona Holt, Lolo

Editor:

Senate Bill 13 has cleared the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and will be voted on by the Montana Senate in the coming days.

The bill would change current Montana law that provides more than $2.5 million for state parks. Currently, Montana residents are assessed an optional $4 fee when they register a light vehicle, with the option to opt-out when they pay their vehicle registration. More than 80 percent of Montanans choose to pay this fee, allowing them to be admitted free to our state parks (with Montana license plates).

SB13 would change all of that. The bill would require Montanans to opt-in to pay the fee and raise it to $25. This opt-in approach has been tried in other states with negative results and a drastic drop in funding available for parks.

If SB13 passes, it would cripple an already-stretched state park system — one that manages seven national historic landmarks, supports 1,600 jobs and keeps state parks open for the 88 percent of Montana residents that visit state parks every two years or less.

Please contact your local representative and encourage them to vote no to SB13. Help protect our state parks, the communities they support and our economy.

Ramona Holt, Lolo

 

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