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Members of the Montana Senate
Members of the Montana House of Representatives
Secretary of State Mike Cooney
Members of the Montana Supreme Court c/o Clerk of the Court Ed Smith

Call to the 56th Legislature
for a Special Session

WHEREAS, Article V, section 6, of the Montana Constitution and section 5-3-101, MCA, provide that the Legislature may be convened in special session by the Governor; and

WHEREAS, Article VI, section 11, of the Montana Constitution provides that whenever the Governor considers it in the public interest, the Governor may convene the Legislature; and

WHEREAS, Indian Tribes in Montana have claimed rights to use water within Montana that are implied from acts of Congress, treaties or executive orders establishing tribal reservations, which rights are known as federal reserved water rights; and

WHEREAS, in 1979 the Montana Legislature created the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission to negotiate water rights compacts with Indian Tribes, instead of litigating these complex and expensive cases in court; and

WHEREAS, to date water rights compacts have been reached between the State and the Fort Peck, Northern Cheyenne, and Rocky Boy’s Reservations; and

WHEREAS, the Crow Tribe and the State and Federal governments have been working cooperatively since 1994 to resolve water issues on the Crow Reservation, and in the fall of 1998 the Crow Tribe and the State began negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement that addressed water rights as well as a long-standing lawsuit over the State’s imposition of coal severance taxes; and

WHEREAS, after public hearings and the opportunity for public comment, the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission and the Crow Tribe have reached a proposed settlement on these issues; and

WHEREAS, the payment of settlement funds to resolve the coal severance tax litigation requires an appropriation from the Montana Legislature, and a water rights compact between the State and the Tribe must be ratified by the Montana Legislature; and

WHEREAS, it is in the public interest of all Montanans, in order to avoid further protracted litigation and negotiation of the water rights and coal severance tax issues with the Crow Tribe, to consider these issues at a special session of the Legislature;

NOW, THEREFORE I, Marc Racicot, Governor of the State of Montana, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the state of Montana do hereby call the Fifty-Sixth Legislature into Special Session in Helena, at O’Connell Hall at Carroll College at the hour of 9:00 A.M., the 15th and 16th of June, 1999, and hereby direct the Special Session of the Fifty-Sixth Legislature to consider action on the following:

  1. Legislation to implement the Crow-Montana reserved water rights compact and provide for the payment of funds to the Crow Tribe in satisfaction of the State’s obligations under the compact and in consideration of the Tribe’s agreement to release certain claims against the State.
  2. Any appropriations necessary for the legislative session.

Date this 1st day of June, 1999.
  IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Montana to be affixed. DONE at the City of Helena, this 1st day of June, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine.


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