The Montana Board of Livestock is currently awaiting a response from the Montana Attorney General’s office on a legal opinion request regarding a recent decision by Governor Steve Bullock.
The Department of Livestock received communication from the governor stating that since the Board of Livestock was unable to come to agreement with the FWP regarding the management change to the IBMP to incorporate year round tolerance for bison in West Yellowstone and Gardiner, that the governor would made the final decision and sign it for them.
According to the letter sent on April 19, “The IBMP partners have verbally adopted my decision, and the final document that reflects this approval is being prepared and will be signed by those partners. I will sign on behalf of the State of Montana.”
The Montana Board of Livestock has sent a request to the Attorney General’s office asking for a ruling on the decision by the governor.
Mike Honeycutt, Director of the Department of Livestock noted “We certainly have codes that give FWP responsibility, the Department of Livestock responsibility, the governor’s office responsibility. I think the letter [to the AG’s office] addresses it in a way that answers where is the ultimate authority in that debate about wild bison and their management as a species in need of disease management and where does that ultimate authority align within state government for the various codes and policies that have been put into statute.”
“It is in a research phase and is on a desk on the AG’s office. They expect to have a response to us in one to two weeks” was stated by Mike Honeycutt during the March 20th Board of Livestock meeting.
Concern was expressed during the meeting that the governor could sign on behalf of the Department of Livestock before a legal opinion has been given by the AG’s office.
The next Board of Livestock meeting will be held on May 11 and a link to a live video feed of the meeting will be made available HERE before the meeting.
© Northern Ag Network 2016
The Governor's letter to the Department of Livestock and FWP is shown below. The letter from the Department of Livestock to the Attorney General's office is also attached.