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Montana Legislature Attacks Hobby Bee Keepers

Montana Legislation will force private apiary operations to quit raising bees

Montana Legislature Attacks Hobby Bee Keepers

Montana Legislature Attacks Hobby Bee Keepers

By Tim Ravndal

Montana Legislature took another step on moving forward HB443.  The legislation forces hobby apiaries into a commercially regulated industry by the Montana Department of Agriculture.

On April 11th 2019 a new fiscal note was delivered to the sponsor for signature.  The original fiscal note that was signed by Representative Fitzgerald in part compromised with the department under Montana law the ability to cover costs of enacting the new law.

Rep. Ross Fitzgerald (R)

As of time of publication of this legislative update on HB443, Montana Representative Ross Fitzgerald that is sponsoring the legislation, still has not signed the new fiscal note.

Based on assumptions, the Department of Agriculture estimates that the new law will bring in approximately 1000 new registrations under HB443.  The revenue generated from the additional registrations will be used to enforce the new law with inspections and compliance rules that will need to be adopted.

In the case of hobby apiaries, the purported problem is that they are responsible for bringing disease and problems to the bee industry here in Montana.  What the legislation does not readily disclose is the 5732 registered commercial apiaries are regulated.  Hobby apiary owners are very limited in availability of bees and bee keeping supplies.

Senator Mike Lang (R)

Many of the private bee hobbyists are concerned about the loss of private property rights with the passing of this law.  The lack of due process infringes on the 4th Amendment rights of the citizens.

Private citizens we spoke to, that keep bees for multiple reasons, have asked Representative Ross Fitzgerald to pull the bill from consideration.  The Senate Agriculture Committee failed to table the bill.

The committee just concurred on the bill.   Senator Mike Lang will carry the bill before the full Senate for Second reading.

Many of the hobbyist back yard bee keepers that we spoke to are hoping the Montana Senators will fail to pass the bill.

The members of the Montana Senate can be contacted here:

MONTANA SENATE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


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5 Comments on Montana Legislature Attacks Hobby Bee Keepers

  1. Get rid of the rino republicans, hell, all republicans and democrats. Why do we need to pay for a legislature every two years? If they met every ten years, that would be too much. I graduated from a Montana high school in 1974, and the state got along pretty good back then, without the thousands and thousands of laws they have passed since. All they have succeeded in doing is eat away our freedoms a little bite at a time. If they want to pass a law, how about, “For any new law to take effect, ten laws must be removed from the Statutes.

  2. More infringement on our rights! If you really cared about beef populations you would stop this ridiculous bill! This is about pushing out the thousands of hobby bee keepers around the state in lieu of huge corporations! Greed and lies are the best we can expect from this lot of clowns.

  3. Is anyone actually fighting back against this tyrannical BS?? The article only says, “Many of the hobbyist back yard bee keepers that we spoke to are hoping the Montana Senators will fail to pass the bill.” I hate to quote Hillary Clinton here (but even a stopped clock is right twice per day, as the saying goes), but “hope is not a strategy.” I’m guessing they probably are, but thought I would ask regardless.

    • We are following this violation of the rights of the people. In our observations, we are seeing government actors standing up for the bill because when passed, the commercial apiaries will maintain control over the industry with the help of Montana law.

      As for opposition the clock may be right on that 2 times a day, but the hobby bee keepers are not engaged in this as we would expect. There is some talk that there will be a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the law if passed.

      We will continue to track the bill and as the author of this story, I urge everyone that is concerned about the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States to chime in even if you don’t grow bees.
      Tim Ravndal

      • Tim, that is so unfortunate, but thanks for the info. It is much easier to stop a bill than to try to litigate it after passage.

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