Montana Senate approves bill enhancing Aquatic Invasive Species Act

Lawmakers are trying to ramp up the state’s efforts to keep invasive mussel species out of Montana waterways.

The 2009 Legislature passed the Aquatic Invasive Species Act to establish an awareness and prevention campaign.

Now, some lawmakers want to take that a step further by increasing the authority of inspectors to establish check stations.

The stations would prevent boats carrying the species from getting anywhere near Montana waters.

But, not all Senators are completely on board.

Senator Kendall Van Dyk (D-Billings) said he supports the bill, but hesitantly, because of other areas that could use the money.

“I believe in spending money to take care of the fish and money to take care of our habitat because we want to preserve it for future generations, but I also strongly agree with taking care of the kids.  In a time when $160-million has been taken from DPHHS, I want us all to think about what kind of message that sends,” he said.

The bill passed its second-reading on a vote of 44-4.


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