HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a measure Friday that he says would have allowed a way for anonymous political organizations to contribute to campaigns through religious groups.
House Bill 217 would have exempted religious organizations from campaign finance reports.
The measure would have given so-called “dark money” groups the opportunity to donate to campaigns through churches without any oversight or regulation, Bullock said in his veto letter.
The Democratic governor also vetoed 11 other bills Friday, including one that would have given the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission two more years to negotiate water rights with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Senate Bill 265 serves no purpose, Bullock wrote, adding the original tribal water compact was a reasonable settlement that provided protections for all water users in Montana.
The compact missed its 2013 deadline when the Legislature failed to ratify it.
Bullock also vetoed the following 10 bills:
• Senate Bill 125 would have reduced penalties when companies failed to meet renewable energy standards.
• Senate Bill 19 would have allowed for the development of water wells in close proximity to each other.
• House Bill 225 would have changed interest rates for payments in civil trials for the injured party.
• Senate Bill 337 would have revised water laws, allowing only those who have an existing water right to have access to a hearing in the Montana Water Court.
• House Bill 363 would have allowed the Board of Reality Regulation to expand and hire an executive director and legal counsel.
• House Bill 499 would have allowed leased or rented buildings on one tract of land to forgo local subdivision review.
• House Bill 509 would have required that local cellphone retailers to impose a 9-1-1 fee, instead of major network providers.
• House Bill 556 would have allocated $1.3 million to some services including library funds.
• House Bill 582 would have allowed the Montana Board of Accountants to hire its own staff.