Montana House Votes to Pass CSKT Water Compact 53 – 47 [YouTube]
There were passionate arguments both for and against the CSKT Water Compact on the floor of the Montana House on Wednesday.
After numerous amendments were offered, any one of which would have effectively killed the bill, the House voted 53-47 to approve the compact. The debate lasted nearly three hours. Speaking against the compact was Theresa Menzella (R) House District 85.
"This thing (the compact) reeks of private property assault and big government overreach," Menzella said. "It's being promoted by big-government lovers which is being clearly demonstrated through their voting records this session. I might just be a simple cowgirl, but here's what I know. With the Simi Valley as our example. No water...no crops. No crops...no food. No water...no crops..no life. Private Property values will be destroyed This will go to court either way, so the argument we have to pass it to avoid costly litigation is completely invalid. When it does, I believe it will be found to be a regulatory taking and deemed unconstitutional. My answer is no, Say no to the big government takeaway."
Speaking on behalf of the compact was Steve Fitzpatrick (R) House District 20.
"This is an important bill," Fitzpatrick said. "Like I said at the beginning, this is the most important property rights bill if the session, and the vote to protect property rights is a yes vote, and I would encourage you to press the green button for a yes vote and move this bill forward."
The final vote after a second reading was 53-47.