Senate Votes to Move CSKT Water Compact to 2nd Reading on Senate Floor


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shelby DeMars

Senate Votes to Move CSKT Water Compact to 2nd Reading on Senate Floor

(Helena, Mont.)–The Montana State Senate voted 33-17 to move the CSKT Water Compact out of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and on to the Senate floor for a 2nd reading debate and vote tomorrow, Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

The vote to blast SB 262 out of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee comes after a member of the committee attempted to make last minute amendments to the bill. The bill was tabled so that the negotiated agreement could be brought forward onto the Senate floor as all parties involved in the negotiations had agreed on.

The committee hearing was strictly on the fiscal note of the legislation.

Senator Chas Vincent, bill sponsor and former Chair of the legislative Water Policy Interim Committee, referenced the extensive negotiations that went into the Compact that is now under consideration by the legislature, citing that it has taken decades of negotiations to construct the current Compact, and last minute changes would only undermine the strong agreement that has been formed and is before the Legislature for approval.

“The Compact is more than just a bill—it is a negotiated agreement, a settlement—that took time, dedication, and sacrifice to complete. The end result is a Compact that protects existing water rights, ensures that water users across Montanan have access to the water resources they need, and makes our state stronger,” said Senator Chas Vincent. “The alternative to passing the Compact is that people across Montana will be exposed to litigation that could span decades. I think all of my colleagues in the Senate deserve the opportunity to vote to protect their constituents from that outcome by passing the Compact as it was negotiated.”

The vote to move the Compact to the Senate floor confirms that those who have read and researched the Compact know that it is a negotiated agreement is in the best interests of all Montanans for the Senate to vote on the Compact as it was recommended to them by the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission.

“As the facts behind the Compact are reviewed and discussed, support for the Compact continues to grow,” said Shelby DeMars, spokesperson for Farmers And Ranchers for Montana (FARM), a coalition of farmers, ranchers, and water users that support the Compact. “The Compact will benefit all Montanans and protect water users across the state and we believe that support will continue to grow as people find out for themselves the beneficial impact it will have for our state.”

It is anticipated that the 2nd reading floor debate and vote on SB 262 will be on Wednesday, February 25th during the 1:00 pm Senate floor session.

Farmers And Ranchers for Montana (FARM) is a coalition of hundreds of farmers and ranchers, united with local leaders, tribal governments, businesses, water-users, and other Montanans who support the approval of a Water Compact.

For more information please visit