An effort long championed by access groups to increase fines for illegally blocking public roads made its return to the Legislature on Friday with a bill that could raise fines to up to $500 per day.
Rep. Paul Green, R-Hardin, brought House Bill 486 to the House Transportation Committee. The bill would amend Montana law on encroachments, such as a gate, fence or other obstruction, on public rights of way. The law would allow an individual to file a petition with the county to have the encroachment removed from a public highway. Fines for failing to remove the encroachment would rise from $10 per day to $100-$500 per day.
“Large swaths of Montana’s lands are being swallowed up by out-of-state interests, large corporate ranches desiring secluded hunting on public land as well as their own private property,” Green told the committee. “A $10-per-day fine has been so anemic that I could not find a single instance where someone has been fined.”
Read more from the Helena Independent Record here...