STATE and NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES IN FULL SWING
by FAS Conservation Committee
Stay Informed, Sign Up For Alerts, Send In Your Comments!
The Montana and U.S. legislative bodies are very busy now and wildlife and habitat related decisions are being made very very rapidly. That’s a good sign for you to be busy as well! Make sure our representative governments represent your concerns! Contacting Montana legislators and committees has never been easier!
Keep checking back as we will post updates here as we go through the legislative session. Also sign up for our FlyBy newsletter where we can alert you of important updates.
How to Get Started on Statewide Issues:
- Montana Audubon is closely monitoring and participating in the legislative session. Visit the Montana Audubon Legislative Participation page https://mtaudubon.org/conservation-policy/legislative-participation/ for what they are doing, what they are tracking and how you can participate.
- Sign up for Montana Audubon Action Alerts, at https://mtaudubon.org/join-our-online-network/.
These Helena Alerts address the most urgent state bills and will give you bill number, overview, who to contact by when, and links to the Montana legislative comment page. This comment page is simple to use: fill out (autofill) your contact info, bill number, select legislator or committee, select For or Against, and make your comment in box. Hit Send! Right now there are bills streamlining subdivision review, adding another layer of government approval for conservation easements, and phasing out various types of styrofoams.
How to Get Started on National Issues:
- Sign up for National Audubon Society Alerts at https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/_6F7AOVc8UKM6RqsqfIfbw2.
- To take action on specific issues go to the National Audubon Action Center at https://audubon.org/takeaction
ACTION NEEDED on MIGRATORY BIRD TREATY ACT
Of particular national concern remains the National Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Changes were made in these regulations at the last minute by the previous administration (https://wildlife.org/usfws-releases-migratory-bird-treaty-act-rule/ ) involving a new interpretation of “incidental take”. On January 19, 2021, the National Audubon Society joined with many other conservation organizations to sue the USFWS and the US Department of Interior over these changes. (https://www.audubon.org/sites/default/files/mbtaregschallengecomplaint.pdf). The next day, January 20, Biden took office and immediately directed the Department of Interior to review these changes. In early February, the USFWSannounced it would delay the implementation of these changes, and is now considering rolling back the Trump Administration’s harmful interpretation of MBTA “incidental take” (https://www.audubon.org/news/biden-halts-trump-rule-gutted-landmark-bird-protection-law). USFWS has called for public comment on the issue.
We have only until March 1 to show the USFWS support for their roll back the harmful MBTA interpretation. Send in your comments by going to this National Audubon link: https://act.audubon.org/a/reinstate-mbta-1?ms=policy-adv-web-website_nas-engagementcard-20210211_mbta. Thank You!
GUIDELINES TO YOUR COMMENTS
- Be brief. Legislators have many demands on their time. Make letters short and to the point.
- Put the message in your own words. Form letters and petitions don’t have the same impact as personal, informed opinions.
- Address your letter to a specific legislator or legislators. Depending on your message, write to the sponsor of a bill, certain members of a committee, or your own legislators. Don’t address your letter to the entire Legislature.
- Identify bills by their number, title, and sponsor.
- Explain your position on the bill and ask for the legislator’s support or opposition.
- Give any sources of information that you use to make your point. Mention your own personal experience with issues addressed by the bill.
- Include your name, address, and a little about who you are (for example, where you work or what school you attend).