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SEPTEMBER 1996 HELENA, MONTANA VOL. X NO. 16
Restoration Finally Begins . ..Restoration of the Capitol building is finally
beginning. Contracts have been awarded for the stone repair, window
replacement, and the roof repairs. Ingram-Clevenger, Inc, Helena, was the
successful bidder for the envelope repairs, while Miller/Shaw Roofing,
Missoula, will be doing the roof repairs. Thus far the budgetary news
is good, too. While the stone project has many unknowns and variables
and will undoubtedly require extensive change orders, the base bid is
approximately $1M less than had been projected.
Workers will be on site beginning the week of August 19 to begin
roof tear-off. The roof work is expected to be completed by the middle
of October. The stone repair team will begin testing and color matching
this fall, with the actual restoration work scheduled to begin in the
spring. Window repair and replacement will proceed through the winter
as weather allows.
CAG Meets in August ...ln the ongoing planning of the interior work,
the Capitol Advisory Group (CAG) met in Helena on Tuesday, August 6
to give final input on the Capitol project programming document. Space
utilization and project planning were discussed at length, with space
utilization dominating most of the discussion.
The CAG voted to recommend that the Governor include the following
enhancements tp the . restoration programming in the 1998-1999 Long
Range Building request:
CENTRAL PLANT ADDITION $ 275,000
This addition will allow for all mechanical equipment
to be in the central plant rather than being placed
on the Capitol lawn.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM
RESTROOMS $ 200,000
Add additional fixtures. Code requirement.
STAIR TOWER EXIT $ 160,000
Add an interior stairwell in the east wing of
the Capitol to provide for exiting from hearing
rooms. Fire safety requirement.
MODIFY 202 VAULT $ 160,000
This project would eliminate the old Secretary
of State Vault, providing additional floor space
for hearing and meeting rooms and allowing for
the restoration of the windows in this area.
HEARING ROOM UPGRADES $ 400,000
Upgrade existing and proposed hearing rooms
to improve public access.
EAST AND WEST WING SPACE UPGRADES $1,370,000
This proposal improves space utilization and
allows for efficient design of the already approved
mechanical and technology upgrades.
LEGISLATIVE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Committee to Meet in September .. .The Legislative Finance Committee
(LFC) will meet on September 19 and 20 in Room 104 of the State
Capitol. The LFC will meet jointly with the Revenue Oversight Committee
on the morning of the 19th in Room 325 of the State Capitol to hear
the biennial "Big Picture" report from Legislative Fiscal Division staff.
Washington D.C. staff of the National Conference of State Legislatures will
also present a report at that time on current federal budget actions.
Among the other scheduled topics for the LFC meeting are the
general fund status report, an update on gas tax cash flow, updates from
the executive branch on reorganization efforts, and updates on and
resolution of several on-going committee issues.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 3
MONTANA SENTENCING COMMISSION
Sentencing Commission Meets ...The Montana Sentencing Commission
was established by the 54th Montana Legislature to study sentencing
practices in Montana and to determine the advisability of proposing
advisory sentencing guidelines to the 55th Legislature. The Commission
is composed of four legislators and 12 other persons appointed by the
governor to represent criminal justice interests. The Commission is staffed
by personnel from the Department of Corrections and meets monthly in
various locations around the state.
For more information regarding the work of the Commission and its
meeting schedule, please contact Tammy Plubell (406)444-3910 or
Stephanie Powell (406)444-9648 at the Department of Corrections.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE FOREIGN
To Hold Final Meeting . ..The final meeting of the Subcommittee on the
Foreign Investment Depository is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in Room
437 in the State Capitol on September 11. The agenda calls for
adjournment at 6 p.m., but allows for continuation of the meeting into
the evening hours (following a dinner break) or in the morning of
September 12 to accommodate pubiic testimony. The main purpose of
the meeting is to review the contents of the draft enabling legislation and
to hear comments from representatives of state and federal agencies, the
financial services sector, and other interested persons.
The draft bill was requested by the Subcommittee at its March 27-28
meeting. Since that time, staff has consulted with a number of state and
federal officials, as well was with the members, and the resulting package
of proposed legislation attempts to fulfill the following goals:
• Maximize individual financial privacy within parameters of federal
• Require chartered depository to provide prudent degree of asset
protection to customers.
• Assure reasonable profitability for depository via allowable fees &
favorable tax regime.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 4
Establish clear eligibility criteria for depositories and their
Minimize state liability and risk in arenas of negligence, fraud, and
Maximize economic benefits to Montana of foreign capital on
Accommodate technological advances involving privacy, security,
and costs of transactions.
Deter criminal elements from using the depository as a vehicle for
Delineate and assign regulatory functions/responsibilities in a
coherent, cost-effective way.
Minimize federal involvement without forgoing essential benefits of
Structure a functional relationship to platinum bullion and other
Provide for methods of revenue assessment, collection, and
Amend existing statutes to except, exempt, or include foreign
These and additional goals will serve as a tool by which to measure
the substantive accuracy and completeness of the draft bill during the
course of the September 1 1 meeting.
For further information about the meeting agenda and the draft
legislation, please contact Stephen Maly at the Legislative Services
JUVENILE JUSTICE AND MENTAL HEALTH
Commission to Hold Final Meeting .. .The Juvenile Justice and Mental
Health Study Commission will hold its seventh and final meeting in Helena
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 5
on September 9 and 10. The Commission will take its final action and
adopt its findings and recommendations. Briefly, the tentative proposals
• support the Department of Public Health and Human Services'
proposal to increase chemical dependency funding for adolescents
by $200,000 each fiscal year of the 1999 biennium;
• recommend that the state provide long-term secure care for
chronic severely emotionally disturbed youth;
• recommend that the state provide a continuum of care for
treatment of youth who are adjudicated sex offenders, that Pine
Hills School be considered a potential place for treatment within
the continuum of care, when appropriate, and that the sex
offender population be placed under a separate population cap in
order to allow treatment to be completed;
• make a recommendation regarding a mental health treatment
continuum of care;
• support an Office of Public Instruction proposal to allocate a small
portion of the state's share of direct state aid to provide schools
with resources to address conduct-disordered pupils in public
• recommend that special education funding and other education
funding follow an out-of-district student and be allowed to be
used for specific costs incurred by the district;
• recommend that school records, including the cumulative file and
special education records, along with the original immunization
records, be transferred to the receiving school within 5 days of
• make recommendations regarding schools and information sharing
with state and county agencies through interagency agreements,
use of existing teams, and computer databases;
• recommend judicial pilot projects for families involved in the Youth
Court and other human services to provide a single point-of-entry;
juvenile assessment centers; family assessment coordination teams;
and court magistrates, special masters, or research assistants to
assist district court judges;
• recommend that habitual truancy and ungovernability be treated
as misdemeanor crimes in justice, municipal, and city courts with
concurrent jurisdiction with Youth Court;
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 6
• recommend the elimination of the "youth in need of supervision"
designation, the removal of status offenders (truancy,
ungovernability) from the Youth Court Act, the provision for a
single petition for delinquent youth, and increased penalties for
violation of formal consent decrees;
• recommend that the county attorney be allowed to file for leave
to file information directly in District Court for serious offenses;
• recommend limiting the use of an informal consent adjustment and
a formal consent decree for the equivalent of a single felony for
• recommend increasing the time for short-term detention from 96
hours to 10 working days;
• recommend that detention be allowed for formal consent decrees
up to 10 days and informal consent adjustments up to 3 days:
• make recommendations on other detention alternatives, detention
reimbursement, and Youth Court funding.
A more detailed summary of the proposals will mailed to those on
the interested persons list prior to the meeting.
On September 9, the Commission will meet with students and with
Hunter Hurst III of the National Center for Juvenile Justice. The public
hearing on the proposals will be at 3 p.m. in Room 437.
On September 10, the Commission will discuss and take executive
action on the findings and proposals. The final recommendations will be
presented to the 55th Legislature in a final report that will be available
in November 1996 and in bill draft form.
For more information, please contact Susan Fox at the Legislative
Services Division, (406)444-3064.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON VETERANS' NEEDS
Subcommittee Holds Final Meeting . ..The final meeting of the
Subcommittee on Veterans' Needs was held on August 6 in Helena. The
Subcommittee approved the following recommendations:
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 7
• legislation for a site selection process for an eastern Montana
State Veteran's Cemetery with a $10,000 general fund
• legislation for a National Guard scholarship program with a $1.14
million general fund appropriation;
• legislation to allow the Board of Regents to adopt a tuition
waiver for survivors of a Guard member killed while on state
• a letter of support to the Governor for a Department of Public
Health and Human Services' subsidy of $268,640 from cigarette
tax revenue for the Eastern Montana Veteran's Home to assist
veterans who pay for their own care;
• a letter to all department directors stating concerns that veterans'
preference is not being utilized and encouraging the use of a
scored procedure in hiring in order that the veterans' preference
may be applied;
• legislation for continuation of the Subcommittee on Veterans'
Needs with an appropriation of $10,000 of cigarette tax revenue;
• a request for further information on veterans' ability to have
license plates for the disabled; clearer designation of the branch
of the armed forces on the license plates; and a proposal to
utilize the old Anaconda hospital for veterans' nursing home beds.
For copies of the proposed legislation or for more information contact
Susan Fox at the Legislative services Division, (406)444-3064.
LEGISLATIVE SERVICES DIVISION
Bill Drafting Subcommittee Meets ...The Bill Drafting Process
Subcommittee, composed of members of the Legislative Council, the
Environmental Quality Council, the Legislative Audit Committee, and the
Legislative Finance Committee, met on August 15 in Helena. The
Subcommittee considered the ramifications of Judge Honzel's decision
allowing public access to bill drafting documents in the possession of
legislative staff. Judge Honzel held that the public is entitled to inspect
all documents in the possession of staff at any stage of the drafting
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 8
process. The Subcommittee is recommending a new process in order to
allow the legislator requesting a bill to ensure accuracy and to prevent
lobbyists and other special interest groups from unduly influencing the bill
drafting process. A legislator would still be able to follow the existing
drafting process by submitting a request to the staff to prepare a draft.
Subcommittee Proposes Bill Drafting Changes .. .The Subcommittee is
recommending two categories of bill draft requests: staff drafts and
legislator drafts. The Subcommittee recommends a general bill draft
request deadline of the 10th legislative day. A legislator may submit a
request to the Legislative Services Division as a staff draft, and the
process will continue as in prior legislative sessions. A legislator could
also request a bill as a "legislator draft". The request would be recorded
as a "legislator draft". The legislator would then be required to submit
a draft bill and a diskette containing the draft bill to the Legislative
Services Division. The "legislator draft" would be required to conform to
the provisions of the 1996 edition of the Bill Drafting Manual. The
"legislator draft" would be available to the public upon submission to the
Legislative Services Division. A "legislator draft" submitted to the
Legislative Services Division would receive priority over all other drafts.
The Legislative Services Division would submit the "legislator draft" to the
Division's normal process with priority at each step. If the "legislator
draft" is not submitted to the Legislative Services Division by the 20th
legislative day, the drafting request will be canceled. Processing by the
Legislative Services Division will allow engrossing and enrolling to occur
and will allow the public electronic access to the bill in the same manner
as all other bills. The 20th legislative day deadline will allow greater
ability to schedule hearings on sensitive bills and will allow more timely
public analysis of controversial bills prior to the transmittal deadline.
The Bill Drafting Process Subcommittee also recommends that any bill
drafting request that is in a "hold" status on or after the 10th legislative
day lose the LC number priority normally assigned to the request. If the
"hold" status is removed, the draft request would have the priority that
it occupies at the time that the "hold" is removed.
The Bill Drafting Process Subcommittee's recommendations will be
submitted to the Legislative Council at the Council's September meeting.
1997 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Telephone Number Changes ... Anyone who may be distributing
information concerning the upcoming legislative session should note that
the phone numbers listed for "Legislative Information" and "Legislative
Messaging" on page 28 of the 1996 Montana State Government
Telephone Directory are incorrect. Instead of the 900 numbers that are
listed, the numbers for both Information and Messaging should be 444-
4800. The numbers listed for the "Telephone Device for the Deaf" (800
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 9
-832-0283) and the FAX number for the Information Office (900-225-
1600) are correct.
ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COUNCIL
EQC to Meet in Lincoln . ..The EQC will meet in Lincoln on Friday,
September 13. The Council will be touring a number of sites around the
Lincoln area, including the proposed McDonald Gold Project site, the Mike-
Horse Mine, and the Blackfoot River.
Compliance and Enforcement Subcommittee to Complete
Recommendations .. .The Compliance and Enforcement Subcommittee met on
August 16 to hear additional information on a number of study issues
and to begin the process of drafting initial study recommendations. The
Subcommittee's next scheduled meeting is Thursday, September 12 in
Room 108 of the State Capitol. At that time the Subcommittee will
complete a draft of its study findings and recommendations.
MEPA Subcommittee to Meet in September . ..The MEPA Subcommittee
will meet on Thursday, September 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room
312-3 of the State Capitol. The Subcommittee will draft its
recommendations to the full EQC on the state agency guidelines for
Senate Bill 231 that integrates regulatory impact analysis on private
property rights into MEPA's environmental review analysis.
Indicators Subcommittee Continues Its Work ...The Montana
Environmental Indicators Subcommittee has not yet scheduled its next
meeting. The Montana Environmental Indicator publication and distribution
date is October 31. The Subcommittee is in the process of reviewing
the indicator graphics and narratives.
Resource Indemnity Trust (RIT) Subcommittee to Meet in
September . ..The Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and the EQC have
jointly formed a four-person RIT Subcommittee to provide recommendations
on what the state should do about potential imbalances between revenue
to and expenditures from the various funds that receive RIT interest and
tax proceeds. The LFC and EQC appointed Representatives Ed Grady,
Bob Raney, Bill Ryan, and Senator Lorents Grosfield to the RIT
Subcommittee. The RIT Subcommittee met on May 20 and on June 28.
Discussions during these meetings focused on categorizing the uses of
RIT, RIT account structure, and earmarked revenues. The Subcommittee
concluded that it needed to analyze the information presented, and it also
needed some additional information on the legislative history and intent of
the use of RIT interest and proceed funds. EQC staff provided an
extensive report on the legislative history of the RIT to the Subcommittee
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 10
at its June 28 meeting. The RIT Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday,
September 18 in Room 104 of the State Capitol.
Environmental Self Audit Working Group Drafting Legislation . ..As a part
of the HJR 10 Compliance and Enforcement study, an EQC working group
has been evaluating the merits of providing incentives for individuals and
businesses to perform environmental self auditing. This group has met
four times and is currently producing draft legislation. The working
group's next meeting has not yet been scheduled.
Council to Meet in September . ..The Legislative Council will meet
September 12 and 13. Among the items tentatively on the agenda are:
• consideration of final recommendations on SJR 4 regarding
• review and adoption of a Code of Conduct for legislative staff.
This is a personnel policy for Council adoption and Finance and
Audit Committee concurrence.
• discussion of a visit by the new director of the Western Office
of the Council of State Governments who wants to present the
current CSG West program;
• a report from the Land Board in response to a Council request
regarding land disposition guidelines;
• review and approval of the Legislative Branch Computer Systems
Plan, approved by the Planning Council on August 20;
• review and approval of Classification and Pay Plan
implementation plan following NCSL recommendations;
• review and approval of the Legislative Services budget proposal,
incorporating the revisions approved at the June 14 meeting;
• reports and approval of action recommendations of the various
• review and approval of Council rules' changes as discussed on
SEPTEMBER 1 996 THE INTERIM 1 1
• setting of fees for proceedings of the legislative session; and
• review of preparations for legislative intern program, including
reviewing rules governing the program.
The Council will also conduct other administrative business, including
executive director review and taking the group photo for the biennium.
Council Subcommittees Continue Their Work .. .The Council currently has
four subcommittees working on various issues of importance to the
legislative process. These Subcommittees will report to the full Council
at the September meeting.
• Personnel Subcommittee : Composed of members from the Council,
the Audit Committee, and the Finance Committee. Responsible
for the classification and pay plan and NCSL recommendations
beyond the pay plan. Council members of the Subcommittee
have the executive director evaluation project. Council members
are Sen. Brown, Chair.; Rep. Menahan; Rep. Peck; and Sen.
• Legislative Improvement and Council Mission Subcommittee :
Working on whole legislative improvement agenda, including
proposed rule changes and the draft mission statements. Also
looking at proposing revisions to the session master schedule
and may consider other matters for early session orientation
meetings and so on. Members are Rep. Mercer, Chair; Sen.
Halligan; Sen. Crippen; and Rep. Larson.
• Interstate and International Cooperation Subcommittee : Considering
in depth the interstate and international opportunities and
obligations of the Legislature and recommending what, if any,
budgets should be supported in addition to assisting in the
hosting of delegations. Members are Rep. Peck, Chair; Sen.
Brown; and Sen. Lynch.
• Bill Drafting Subcommittee : Reviewing rules related to how bills
are drafted to allow outside drafting and reviewing policies for
access to bill drafting information. Sen. Grosfield is Chair.
Council members are Rep. Mercer and Rep. Larson.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 12
OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND
Committee Holds Sixth Meeting .. .The Oversight Committee on Children
and Families conducted its sixth of seven scheduled interim meetings on
July 24 and 25. The Committee took action on several options related
to child care, substance abuse prevention, and teenage pregnancy
prevention. Additionally, the Committee participated in a roundtable
discussion on information management systems, specifically TEAMS,
MACCS, CAPS, and SEARCHES. Department of Public Health and Human
Services staff presented information on the MIAMI (Montana Initiative for
the Abatement of Mortality in Infants), Follow Me, and the problem of
fetal alcohol syndrome.
The following is a summary of the specific action taken by the
Committee during that meeting.
Incentives for employers : The Committee voted to support an
information campaign to inform employers about current tax benefits
for employer-provided child care and about the benefits of high quality
child care for the children of employees. Additionally, staff will
explore ways (other than tax credits or deductions) to give employers
incentives to support quality child care for employees.
Training for child care providers : The Committee endorsed the
Governor's Child Care Advisory Council's recommendation that a
minimum of 8 hours of training annually be required for all licensed
day care center, group home day care, and family home day care
providers. This requirement would be established by administrative
rule of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. The
current administrative rule requires that only day care center providers
must receive 8 hours of training annually. Group and family home
day care providers are required to receive 8 hours of orientation
training when initially getting started but have no annual training
The Committee will urge the ICC (Interagency Coordinating Council on
Prevention) to develop recommendations on how training for child care
providers may be funded through existing grant or loan programs.
The Committee will ask that these recommendations be included with
the unified budget to be presented to the Legislature, the Committee,
and the Governor by September 1, 1996. By consensus, the
Committee also directed staff to develop a preliminary bill draft
providing for a grant or loan program for child care provider training.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 13
Recommendations of Governor's Child Care Advisory Council : The
Committee will sponsor legislation recommended by the Governor's
Child Care Advisory Council to expand jurisdiction for the enforcement
of child care statutes to Justice of the Peace and Municipal Courts
in addition to District Courts.
Assisting child care providers : The Committee voted in favor of
considering a bill draft to provide start-up money for before- and
after-school programs for school-aged children. Staff was directed to
draft a bill encompassing a grant, direct loan, and/or loan guarantee
program to assist child care providers to establish or improve day
care centers or homes. The legislation would also encompass
previous committee action to provide funding for before- and after-
school programs as well as funding for provider training.
Statewide conference : The Committee voted to recommend to the
Governor through a Committee letter that the Governor call a
statewide conference on teenage pregnancy and that the conference
be conducted sometime in 1997. The conference would be to
support a statewide dialogue on how best to prevent teen pregnancy
and unintended pregnancy and to initiate a community planning
process to enable community initiatives. Conference participants would
be representative of all interests and perspectives from all across
Montana. Additionally, selected members of the Oversight Committee
on Children and Families would, if requested, work on the steering
committee to organize the conference.
Family planning media campaign : The Committee voted to support the
current information campaign aimed at teens and designed to prevent
teenage pregnancies. The Committee will recommend that the
campaign make the following adjustments: (1) include more messages
targeting teenage males as well as adult males, (2) include more
messages that do not assume that a youth is sexually active but that
recognize that a youth may be undecided, and (3) include more
messages that reinforce abstinence.
ADOLESCENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION
The Committee voted to continue oversight and evaluation of the ICC
pilot project, which supports one community-based primary prevention
project. The pilot project is to plan and implement a comprehensive
system of preventative service to children and their families who are
at risk for family violence, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse,
behavioral disorders, and school failure. The pilot project grant was
awarded to Missoula. The project is funded by $60,000 each year for
three years, though funding after the first year is not guaranteed.
The grant requires a 20% hard cash match. As stated in the RFP,
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 14
one of the primary purposes of the project is to document what works
and to disseminate that information in a manner that is meaningful to
communities and replicable throughout the state.
Staff was directed to explore legislative options for making it illegal
to sell "make believe" drugs or legal chemicals that can be used as
The Committee voted to sponsor legislation adding to the ICC's duties
and responsibilities the development, maintenance, and implementation
of benchmarks for state prevention programs. The Committee voted
to sponsor legislation that will add the Director of the Department of
Corrections to the membership of the ICC.
FUTURE INTERIM STUDY TOPICS
The Committee will recommend that the next Oversight Committee on
Children and Families study issues related to aging in Montana. The
study would identify what services are available, how well these
services are meeting the needs of the aging, and the issues families
have that are associated with having aging family members.
To Hold Final Meeting in September ...The Committee will continue to
develop and adopt final recommendations at its next and final meeting,
which will be conducted on Monday, September 16 in Room 437 of the
State Capitol beginning at 8 a.m.
Additional issues to be discussed and potentially acted upon during
the September 16 meeting include the following:
• how to promote a systematic, outcome-based evaluation of
programs serving children and families;
• FAIM welfare reform issues and implementation;
• child custody and visitation issues being addressed by the
Montana State Bar Association; and
• the unified budget for prevention programs, which HB 2 required
to be developed by the ICC and presented to the Committee and
to the 1997 Legislature as part of the Executive Budget
The Committee will also be updated on the activities of the
Governor's newly formed Council on Families and the final
recommendations of the Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Study
For additional information, please contact Sheri Heffelfinger at the
Legislative Services Division, (406)444-3064.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 15
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEE
Committee Takes Some Preliminary Action . ..The Committee on Public
Employee Retirement Systems met August 14 and 15 to consider staff
analysis and take preliminary action on several of the 23 retirement
proposals submitted for Committee review.
The following proposals, listed by the proposal number assigned on
June 10 received an initial public hearing at the meeting:
#4 The Public Employee Retirement Board housekeeping bill.
#6 Providing members of the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS)
who have been retired at least 5 years with a biennial
postretirement increase equal to tax revenues from retirement
income combined with the current postretirement increase
from investment earnings above 8%. The biennial
postretirement increase would total about 1 .3% and would be
capped at the CPI.
#7 The Teachers' Retirement Board housekeeping bill.
#19 Proposal forwarded by Mr. Brian McCullough to encourage the
Public Employee Retirement Division to continue to disseminate
to PERS members information about legislation that may affect
#20 A proposal forwarded by Rep. Kasten to allow a 1 %
employer contribution to an employee's deferred compensation
#21 Consideration of converting the public retirement plans from
defined benefit to defined contribution plans.
#22 A proposal to extend the sunset provision on the Committee.
The Committee took action on the following proposals, which received
a public hearing on June 10:
Proposal #2 : The Committee voted to recommend a DO PASS on the
Public Employee Retirement Board's bill to amend the funding of the
Judges' Retirement System (JRS). This proposal will provide that
District and Supreme Court fees previously used to fund JRS will be
deposited to the state general fund and that the state general fund
will directly fund the JRS. This will address the under-funding issue
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 16
of JRS, which prevented JRS from being certified as actuarially sound
because court fees have been consistently insufficient to fund JRS. This
proposal does not change any court fee amounts. Citing differences with
the Board's actuarial information showing that JRS was under funded, the
Supreme Court Administrator's Office and the District Judges' Association
through District Judge Ed McLean went on record as opposing the
Proposal #3 : The Committee voted to recommend a DO PASS on the
Public Employee Retirement Board's proposal to actuarially fund the
minimum benefits provided in the Municipal Police Officers' Retirement
System and the Firefighters' Retirement System. Currently, these
benefits are paid by a reimbursement through the State Auditor's
Office from insurance premium tax money. Under this proposal, the
premium tax money will be advanced (instead of reimbursed) to the
retirement systems so that the minimum benefits can be prefunded
in an actuarial manner.
Proposal #16 : The Committee voted to recommend a DO PASS on
a proposal to reduce the vesting requirement in the Municipal Police
Officers' Retirement System from 10 years to 5 years. The
Committee also requested additional information from staff about the
vesting provisions in the other retirement systems and the costs and
options for a similar vesting reduction in other systems with vesting
periods longer than 5 years.
Proposal #17 : The Committee voted to recommend a DO PASS on
the proposal forwarded by the Montana Education Association to
require that, of two appointees to the Teachers' Retirement Board
who must be certified teachers, at least one must be actively
teaching in a classroom.
Committee Postpones Action .. .The Committee postponed action on the
following proposals pending additional information and analysis:
#1 The 1.5% GABA --guaranteed annual benefit adjustment-
which provides that, in combination with existing
postretirement adjustments, after three years retirees in all
systems except the TRS and ORP, will receive at least a
1.5% increase in their retirement benefit. The total
postretirement adjustment will be capped at the CPI. Eighty-
five percent of the cost of the GABA is to be paid by
exchanging existing benefits for the guaranteed adjustment.
Employer and employee contributions will also be raised over
four years, with the state general fund paying the increase
for local government employers. The total biennial cost to
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 17
the state general fund is estimated to be about $250,000.
#5 Expanding the Game Wardens' Retirement System into a
"State Law Enforcement Retirement System" for state
employees with law enforcement/safety responsibilities.
#8 The University System is proposing that classified general
university employees under PERS join the University System's
Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), which is a defined
contribution plan currently covering only faculty members.
Current PERS members would be allowed the option of
staying in PERS, but future employees would have to join the
ORP. The Committee heard testimony from university
employees and from representatives of TIAA-CREF, the
corporation currently managing the ORP and ORP member
#9 The Public Pension Security Coalition's proposal for a
permanent 2.5% increase in all benefits paid to public
employees as a "make whole" provision to address the state
taxation of state retirement benefits.
#10 Amending the minimum benefit in MPORS to provide that any
officer who retired at the rank of Sgt. or above would
receive no less than Vz of a current Sgt.'s pay.
#1 1 An ad hoc benefit increase for FURS retirees.
#13 To increase retirement benefit under FURS from 2% per year
of service to 2.5% per year of service; amend formula to be
based on final average salary instead of final monthly
#14 To increase the benefit formula in SRS from 2.0834% per
year of service to 2.5% per year of service for all years.
#15 To amend reinstatement provisions for SRS members who
have been removed from medical retirement status. This
proposal will be combined with #4, the PERB general
#18 To provide that laid off state employees are allowed the
option of benefits from the Employee Protection Act or the
three years of retirement credit purchased by employer as
were provided under 1995 legislation and to provide a delay
(until FY99) in the GABA's provision increasing the cost of
purchasing 1 year of service for each 5 years of active
SEPTEMBER 1 996 THE INTERIM 1 8
To Meet Again in November ...The Committee set its next meeting
date for November 7 and 8. The actuarial valuations of the retirement
systems will not be complete until October 1, and the retirement boards
and staff need time to review the information. The November meeting
will be conducted in Room 104 of the State Capitol and will begin at
Committee May Meet in October . ..The Committee is considering a late
October meeting, which would be an educational seminar for Committee
members and other interested persons. The seminar would be conducted
by Mr. Leon LaBrecque, a consultant from Educational Technologies, and
would focus on the issues of defined benefit and defined contribution
plans, benefit portability, investment choices, the experiences of other
states, and other matters of interest to the Committee and significant to
its consideration of proposals, such as placing university employees under
the ORP, converting to a defined contribution plan, privatization issues,
and workforce mobility.
For more information, please contact Sheri Heffelfinger at the
Legislative Services Division, (406)444-3064.
COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS
To Meet in September . ..The Committee on Indian Affairs will meet on
Friday, September 13 in Room 437 in the State Capitol. The meeting
will begin at 9:30 a.m. The Committee will meet the new Coordinator
of Indian Affairs, Wyman McDonald, at that time. In addition, the
Committee will hear reports from staff on the results of the surveys sent
to the institutions of higher education in the state and to a random
sample of public schools and school districts in the state. Staff will also
report on the results of the various public hearings that the Committee
held on SJR 11. The Committee will then begin to formulate its
recommendations to the 1997 Legislature.
For further information about the meeting, please contact Connie
Erickson at the Legislative Services Division, (406)444-3064.
SEPTEMBER 1 996 THE INTERIM 1 9
THE BACK PAGE
Loosely translated, its scientific name means "lumpy head". This
could describe the amorphous, amoeba-like form it takes once inside a
rainbow trout, or the disfiguring characteristics of an infected host's
cranium. Either way, Myxobolus cerebralis (M. cerebralis), or the whirling
disease parasite spore, is wreaking havoc in some of Montana's most
prolific trout fisheries. The whirling disease parasite, which assumes
various configurations during its bizarre life cycle, is the prime suspect
among fishery biologists for the 90% decline in the Madison River
rainbow trout population - from 3,300 fish per mile to only 300 fish per
mile between 1991 and 1994. While other bodies of water in Montana
have not seen fish populations decline as dramatically as the Madison, the
parasite has been located at 28 sites, mostly in the southwestern corner
of the state.
This month's 'The Back Page" discusses the phenomenon of whirling
disease and the approaches being taken to control the parasite before it
destroys the trout population on Montana's blue ribbon trout streams.
A WHIRLING DERVISH IN MONTANA
by Leanne Kurtz, Research Analyst
Legislative Services Division
LIFE CYCLE OF THE PARASITE AND ITS EFFECTS ON FISH
Inside the gut of a river-bottom-dwelling tubifex worm, whirling disease
parasite spores are undergoing a conversion into Triactinomyxon, the form
of the whirling disease organism expelled by the worm during its digestive
process. As it floats freely through the water in search of a host,
Triactinomyxon is particularly fragile and vulnerable, able to survive only
3-4 days on its own. Once attached to a fish's mucous cells, however,
the invader moves rapidly through its victim's central nervous system,
coming to rest in a young fish's cartilage where, some scientists believe,
it begins to dine. As the young fish's degrading cartilage turns to bone,
the parasite becomes entombed in the bone as millions of inert spores
until the fish dies or is eaten by a predator. At this point, the spores
are released into the environment (generally back into the river bottom),
where studies have shown they can survive up to 30 years, until they
are once again consumed by tubifex worms, thus launching the parasites
on their fantastic journeys. The clamshell-like casing surrounding the M.
cerebralis spore protects it from freezing, desiccation, crushing, extreme
heat, and myriad other elements that few viable organisms could survive.
In the tubifex worm's gut, the spore reacts with an enzyme to coax
open the titanium-tough shell.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 20
The characteristic whirling disease behavior and disfigurations result either
from inflamed cartilage turning to deformed bone or the host's immune
system's response to the foreign assailant. A rainbow trout's immune
system dispatches cells to the infected area (usually the head) to combat
the parasite. The cells may crowd tissues and pinch the nerves that
control the fish's equilibrium, causing it to chase its tail. Researchers
believe that this whirling behavior makes the fish more vulnerable to
predation and interferes with its ability to feed.
While whirling disease takes its name from this behavior, researchers do
not often witness it, since infected fish chase their tails only sporadically,
like an electrical short makes lights flicker. Other, more commonly
observed symptoms of the affliction include sunken foreheads, misshapen
heads, and black tails, caused by irritation of pigment-controlling nerves.
PREVALENCE OF WHIRLING DISEASE
Whirling disease parasite spores arrived in America in the 1950s on a
Danish boat carrying frozen fish. The inert spores withstood the freezing
and subsequent grinding of the frozen trout to feed Pennsylvania hatchery
fish. The hatchery fish became infected and the disease began its creep
westward through transport of fish and stocking. Today, the disease is
reported all over the country, and thanks to the spores' remarkable
fortitude, is proving to be a stubborn adversary.
While the ever-popular Madison River appears to have been hardest-hit by
M. cerebralis, scientists have identified the disease in over 100 different
locations on 28 different bodies of water in Montana, including the Ruby
River, Poindexter Slough, the Jefferson River, the Clark Fork River, and
the Swan River. In July, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and
Parks (FWP) announced, to the dismay of anglers and biologists alike, that
a yearling rainbow trout taken from a stretch of the Missouri River
between Wolf Creek Bridge and Craig had tested positive for whirling
Spread of whirling disease among Montana's watersheds has spawned a
number of organizations to research the insidious organism, and funds to
combat the disease are coming from the federal government at the behest
of both Democrats and Republicans. Senator Max Baucus asked the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to allocate $175,000 for the construction of a
research facility at Montana State University, scheduled for completion in
September. Senator Conrad Burns will be seeking $900,000 from the
next federal budget to fund research at the Bozeman lab.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 21
Governor Marc Racicot's whirling disease task force, created by Executive
Order in May of 1995, and the Whirling Disease Foundation in Bozeman
are two more formidable partners on the front lines of Montana's crusade.
Last June, the task force released a report summarizing research findings,
emphasizing that whirling disease is a priority problem, and providing
action plans to slow the epidemic.
APPROACHES TO CONTROL THE PARASITE
In its report, the task force asserted that "whirling disease is currently
the most significant threat to wild, native and nonnative naturally
reproducing trout populations in Montana". The task force also considers
the disease to be a "significant threat to the Montana state, federal, tribal
and private hatchery systems". The report recommended that efforts to
control whirling disease focus on ways the disease is spread in the wild
and the characteristics of survivors, rather than methods to directly attack
the parasitic organism. The state of Utah attempted to rid its Fremont
River drainage of the disease by simply poisoning the entire trout
population every year from 1991 to 1994. In spite of Utah's draconian
measures, whirling disease has managed to spread to other drainages in
"A strategic solution to the problem," Montana's task force concluded,
"will need to reduce the impacts of the disease, probably with the
understanding that it is a disease which cannot be eliminated from our
state's waters." Brown trout and some rainbow trout survive infection
with few obvious symptoms, and some fish in whirling disease-infested
streams seem to completely avoid infection. The task force believes that
a primary research strategy should be to study naturally resistant strains
and species of trout, identifying techniques to maintain and enhance these
populations. Stocking streams and rivers with naturally resistant fish from
other rivers in Montana, or even from other states and countries is not
outside the realm of possibility. This last-ditch option remains on the
back burner, however, while biologists concentrate on restoring fish
populations to pre-whirling disease numbers.
Funding research, evaluating fishery management policies, and educating
the public comprise the task force's three-pronged approach to stemming
further expansion of the whirling disease parasite.
1 . Research
Much remains unknown about whirling disease, the extent of infestation,
and the distribution of the tubifex worm. While rainbow trout populations
in the Madison River have dramatically declined as a result of the
parasite, researchers do not yet know how this translates to other rivers
in the state and other species of fish. Variables such as genetics,
specific river environments, and fish behavior all must be considered. The
task force appointed a science subcommittee to identify research needs
and recommend action. The subcommittee pinpointed five general research
needs and associated actions. These needs and actions are summarized
in the table below.
Determine scope of whirling
disease in Montana.
Continue to identify sites
with infected fish and track
severity of infection; inves-
tigate distribution of tubi-
Identify susceptible species
of Montana fish.
Conduct research activities in
a wild trout laboratory; ex-
pand field studies to include
additional sites; study brown
trout, grayling, cutthroat,
whitefish, and Kokanee salmon;
evaluate impacts of disease on
fish populations other than
Study natural resistance to
Through field studies and
laboratory research, identify
species that are biologically
resistant and study behavior
factors that may impact
Examine tubifex worm and its
role in parasite's life cycle.
Compare habitat, genetic charac-
teristics, and density of tubi-
fex worms in infected and unin-
Pursue "dual-track" scientific
Follow through on five specific
study proposals the task force
has received and endorsed;
construct self-contained labora-
tory dedicated to wild trout
The science subcommittee and the task force, in conjunction with
Montana State University, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 23
private foundations have already begun to address many of these issues,
and, as mentioned earlier, construction of the laboratory is well underway.
2. Fishery Management
The task force recommended in its report that "fisheries management
should emphasize learning so that incrementally more informed management
decisions may be made as time passes." The following three
management goals are identified in the report:
1 . Conserve surviving wild trout populations in infected waters.
2. Control the spread of whirling disease.
3. Minimize impacts of the disease on recreational fishing
These goals are listed with the caveat that despite Montana's best efforts
at control, the disease will likely spread to every watershed in the state
with trout and tubifex worms. In spite of this dour prediction, the task
force asserts that slowing the proliferation of the parasite will enable
scientists to develop long-term solutions and methods of living with
The task force charged FWP with the primary responsibility of public
education and information dissemination, a critical link in controlling the
spread of whirling disease, as humans have been identified as one of the
parasite's vectors. M. cerebralis can cling to boats, anchors, axles, and
waders, and the spore will survive for decades in dry mud. The
common practices (now prohibited) of dumping fish guts in the water and
using sculpins as bait release even more spores and provide the parasite
with a free ride downriver.
Effective communication will also help preserve Montana's reputation as
a superior fishing destination and prevent significant loss of tourism dollars
associated with a belief among anglers that fishing in Montana is forever
ruined. The task force stressed that while whirling disease is a serious
threat that must be addressed, the public should be informed that "the
sky is not falling".
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 24
In light of the discovery of whirling disease in Montana, the 1995
Legislature adopted measures to better regulate private fish ponds and the
transportation of live fish. FWP plans to approach the 1997 Legislature
with at least three additional proposals intended to help control the spread
of whirling disease:
1. FWP will request authorization for an FTE to satisfy some of the
research needs outlined in the task force's report.
2. Currently, whirling disease has not been identified in any of
Montana's fish hatcheries. Open springs feed two of these
hatcheries - Big Spring near Lewistown and Giant Springs in
Great Falls - and tubifex worms thrive in both springs. FWP
plans to request $3 million to modify the hatcheries, change the
water sources, and maintain the hatcheries' disease-free status.
3. FWP is currently reviewing its private fish pond licensing program.
The Department has licensed over 400 private ponds in the last
two years, and statutes may need to be revised to reflect the
latest research into the relationship between these ponds and
A microscopic drama is played out every day in Montana's rivers and
streams. Resembling scenes from a bad science fiction movie,
Triactinomyxon spores invade the vulnerable bodies of young trout and eat
away at developing bones. The results of this unwelcome assault are
disfigurement, black tails, malformation of the spine, and impaired
equilibrium. A fish unable to swim straight will not be able to escape
its predators, nor will it be able to effectively feed. Fish that are able
to control equilibrium may merely succumb to the stress of fighting
Efforts to control the disease are focusing not on eliminating M. cerebralis
(although nobody would complain if the pest simply disappeared from the
face of the earth), but rather on identifying and studying strains of fish
that successfully resist infection or avoid the ill effects of infection.
Researchers seem resigned to the fact that the whirling disease parasite
is here to stay, but hope, through aggressive research and public
education, that it does not decimate Montana's revered wild trout
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 25
UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED,
ALL ROOM DESIGNATIONS ARE IN THE CAPITOL.
September 2, Labor Day, holiday
September 9, Postsecondary Education Policy and Budget Committee,
Room 104, 9 a.m.
September 9 and 10, Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Study
Commission, Room 437
September 11 and 12, Subcommittee on the Foreign Investment
Depository, Room 437
September 12, Legislative Audit Committee
September 12, EQC Compliance and Enforcement Subcommittee, Room
September 12, EQC MEPA Subcommittee, Room 312-3, 1 p.m.
September 12 and 13, Legislative Council, Room 104
September 13, Environmental Quality Council, Lincoln
September 13, Committee on Indian Affairs, Room 437, 9:30 a.m.
September 16, Oversight Committee on Children and Families, Room
437, 8 a.m.
September 18, LFC/EQC Subcommittee on the Resource Indemnity
Trust, Room 104
September 19, Joint Legislative Finance Committee/Revenue Oversight
Committee, Room 325, 9 a.m.
SEPTEMBER 1996 THE INTERIM 26
September 19, Legislative Finance Committee, Room 104, 1 p.m.
September 20, Legislative Finance Committee, Room 104, 8 a.m.
September 19 and 20, Revenue Oversight Committee, Room 108
October 7, Postsecondary Education Policy and Budget Committee,
Room 104, 8 a.m.
October 14, Columbus Day observed, holiday
November 5, Election Day, holiday
November 7 and 8, Committee on Public Employee Retirement
Systems, Room 104, 8 a.m.
November 28, Thanksgiving, holiday
360 copies of this public document were published at an estimated
cost of 55c per copy, for a total cost of $198.00, which includes
$142.00 for printing and $56.00 for distribution.
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