With the passage of SB 11 in 2009, the Legislature created six permanent interim committees, each responsible for the administrative rule review, program review, and monitoring for specific executive branch agencies. (Section 5-5-202(2), MCA.) Although local government was not specifically identified as a subject matter for any of the six new interim committees, two interim studies dealt specifically with local government issues: HJR 29 (a review of state laws pertaining to local governments and officials); and HJR 38 ( a study of salary and employment issues of juvenile probation officers. The Legislative Services Division assigned these interim studies to the Education Interim Committee, and in the 2001 session, the Legislature amended the statutes to reflect the dual education and local government role of the committee. (Chapter 210, Laws 2001; Section 5-5-224(2). The two divergent subject matters covered by the Education and Local Government Interim Committee has made it difficult to create long-term collaborative relationships between the state and local governments envisioned by the originating statute. The breadth and complexity of local government issues warrants the creation of a separate and permanent interim committee dedicated solely to discussing and coordinating local government issues.
MLCT will sponsor legislation creating a separate and permanent local government interim committee to study local government issues.