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Montana property tax initiative clears legal hurdle

Legal Gavel
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A Lewis and Clark County district judge has ruled that Montana’s attorney general and secretary of state did their due diligence in vetting a proposed constitutional initiative that if passed would cap property taxes.

The Montana Federation of Public Employees, two ranchers and a Helena realtor sued the two officials in January, saying they failed to adhere to a new state law requiring them to study a ballot initiative’s potential negative impacts on businesses before signature gathering begins.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen completed a legal analysis of the initiative, known as CI-121, but declined to analyze the potential negative impacts, saying the new law only applies to initiatives that amend state statutes. CI-121 would amend the state’s constitution.

Judge Christopher Abbott in Helena agreed with the attorney general’s conclusion.

Supporters for the ballot initiative must gather more than 60,000 signatures by June 17 to qualify the proposal for the 2022 ballot.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.