Montana Governor vetoes three anti-bison bills

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May 14, 2013


By Tyler King

HELENA, Montana: Montana's state legislature past four bison related bills in 2013 despite strong opposition from tribes. Of those bills, one of them passed into law and Governor Steve Bullock (D) vetoed the other three. HB 328, introduced by Representative Ted Washburn (R) and signed by Bullock, permits state officials to identify "the actual physical location" of buffalo to hunters. One of the vetoed bills, HB 396, would have given county commissioners veto power over bison restoration plans within their counties, including tribal lands and federal public lands. The bill would also allow bison to be sold by the state Department of Livestock to pay for capturing, testing, quarantining, and vaccinating wild bison. Most recently, Bullock vetoed SB 256 and SB 305 (timed out). The former, introduced by Senator Eric Moore (R), would have made Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department liable for any damage to private property caused by wild bison. The latter, introduced by Senator Jim Peterson (R), proposed changing the definition of "wild bison" or "wild buffalo" to mean "a bison that has never been reduced to captivity and has never been owned by a person."[1][2]

GOP legislators have criticized Bullock over his use of the veto. Totals from his office as of May 6 show Bullock has signed 387 bills into law, let 19 become law without his signature, issued 71 vetoes, and signed three line-item vetoes.[3]

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