Lawmakers hear bill to increase fines for illegally blocking roads

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...

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