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Secretary Jacobsen: Supporting public lands while following the law

| July 18, 2023 7:00 AM

As a proud defender and lover of public land, I have cast deciding votes for Montanans to hike, fish and hunt some of the largest expansions of public land in decades while keeping Montana farmers and ranchers on the landscape.

I was recently made aware of a social media campaign soliciting money claiming to fight for interests that I support and will continue to support: local control and public lands.

In reality, this campaign would only line the pockets of liberal lawyers to sue me in a case that deserves immediate dismissal. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on these lobbyists’ deception.

For those not familiar, here’s the background: on the last day of the legislative session, a bill supported by various public land lobbying groups was vetoed. Like all of the other bills vetoed during the session, the bill was sent back to the Legislature, not the Secretary of State.

The law and our Constitution are clear: I only conduct a poll when the Legislature is not in session for qualifying bills I have received from the Governor.

However, I was asked and pressured by various groups to break the law and poll the Legislature on the bill that I did not and have not received.

The last-ditch efforts from these groups came in the form of a lawsuit asking the Court to sidestep the laws that apply to vetoed bills. I have appropriately filed for dismissal from the case.

I stand up for all Montanans’ rights to access public land. My actions produce results that expand public lands for hunters, anglers and recreationists to access.

Regardless of my opinion on any legislative bill, I faithfully execute the laws of the State of Montana. That’s exactly what I have done and that’s what I will continue to do.

I will not engage in these political games that do not belong in Montana. I will follow the law Montanans have entrusted me to uphold.

Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen