A Ditch Bill Update…HB 309

by | Feb 28, 2011 | 0 comments


I received this email update, as did every other FOAM Member, from Robin Cunningham.  This pretty much lays it out there as far what you should do to help out.  Read below and get on it.  All of you…….Tuesday March 8th is the hearing.  Sadly, I will be going under the knife for a total reconstruction of my Left ACL…..bummer for me, or I would be there.

FOAM Members:

House Bill 309, the ‘Ditch Bill’, is scheduled for hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation Committee on Tuesday, March 8, in Room 303, the old Supreme Court chambers, starting at 3:00 p.m.

This email is to encourage your participation and to give you the info you need to be ready for a successful challenge to House Bill 309. 


If you send comments before Tuesday, the committee members may not remember them – they’re home during the Session Break from Feb 25 to Feb 28.  Make your comments count at the right time: just after the break, just before the hearing on Tuesday, and right after the hearing.

If you can, COME TO THE HEARING!  With many opponents from all over Montana taking the time to attend, the committee members will know the bill as written needs to be tabled.  Talk to your pals, work out a carpool, and come.  This is dangerous legislation with possible long-term consequences for our industry, and we need to work hard together to help the committee members understand our concerns.

Download the bill:  http://foam-montana.org/downloads/HB309.pdf

Senate Agriculture, Livestock & Irrigation Committee Members and contact info:

Sen. Donald Steinbeisser (R, Sidney): donstein@midrivers.com

Sen. Gary Branae (D, Billings): garybranae@gmail.com

Sen. Taylor Brown (R, Huntley): taylor@northernbroadcasting.com

Sen. Bob Hawks (D, Bozeman): senator.robert.hawks@gmail.com

Sen. Rowlie Hutton (R, Havre): hutton4senate@yahoo.com

Sen. Cliff Larson (D, Missoula): cliff@larsenusa.com

Sen. Eric Moore (R, Miles City): mail@senatorericmoore.com

Sen. Terry Moore (R, Cardwell): murphter5@yahoo.com

Sen. Rick Ripley (R, Wolf Creek): (406) 562-3502

Sen. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy (D, Crow Agency): apsaalookewomen@yahoo.com

Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy (D, Box Elder): windyboy_j@yahoo.com

Any legislator may be contacted via an online form at:


Message limit:1250 characters; Do not use characters * ^ ; & > < / ‘

Or by phone: Call 406-444-4800 and leaving a message indicating which Senator you want to contact, what bill you’re calling about (HB309), a vote ‘against’, and your comments. 

* Comment on how HB309 would affect your business if access were limited by new definitions in the bill;
* Talk about how your fishing on days off would be affected by limited access;
* The existing Stream Access Law (SAL) already defines ‘ditches’ adequately;
* The SAL was created cooperatively by many interested parties;
* HB309 involved few, if any, parties other than a few irrigators and landowners;
* The bill virtually guarantees lengthy, expensive legal wrangling over access on many rivers and streams;
* The bill replaces current law that has satisfied many landowners for decades;
* Urge a DO NOT PASS vote! 

Thanks in advance for your assistance. 

Robin Cunningham