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Top 4 Administrative Law Issues In Montana


Administrative law focuses on the actions of governmental agencies, such as licenses and applications. In Montana, Administrative law may encompass federal programs such as Medicare and Social Security or state agencies such as wildlife regulations, firearm control, and liquor licenses. Below are some common Administrative law issues that may arise in the Treasure state:

Lawyer Reviewing DocumentsFishing and Hunting Licenses

Montana is famous for its outdoor wildness, including the Yellowstone National Park, and Montana’s trout fisheries, lakes, and rivers which draw in numerous tourists each year. Montana also has a number of wild game that draw in outdoors men and hunters, including elk, antelope, moose, deer, bears, mountain lions, and bison. However, such hunting is regulated by the state’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department (FWP). You may need the assistance of an administrative law attorney if you have any difficulty in obtaining a license from the FWP.

Montana Water Court

Water rights have long been a major issue in Montana. These rights were contested so heavily that the state legislature in 1979 created the Montana Water Court to adjudicate statewide laws regarding water rights, including disputes among Native American and Federal reserved water right claims. The Montana Water Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all water right claims in the state. All decisions by the Montana Water Court can be appealed directly to the Montana Supreme Court. However, the Montana Water Court is set to terminate at the end of 2028. The state legislature is still debating whether to continue the Montana Water Court or permit it to expire.

Public Benefits in Montana

The Department of Public Health and Human administers public benefits in Montana. Such benefits may include Medicaid as well as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). If an agency denies a public benefit, the petitioner may appeal the agency’s denial by filing a claim in the respective court. A judge will then review the case to determine whether the denial was justified.

Birth Certificates

A recent controversy arose in mid-2022 when the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) enacted an emergency rule that barred transgender persons from changing their sex on their birth certificates. The rule states that a person’s sex assigned at birth “immutable” and cannot be changed except by evidence of a data entry error at the time the form was filled out or genetic testing that the originally listed sex is inaccurate. State courts had ordered the Department to continue allowing transgender persons to amend their sex on their birth certificates while the cases were pending in the legal system. However, the DPHHS has given no indication that they will comply with the court orders.

Do I Need an Administrative Law Attorney In Montana?

Administrative law can be very difficult for laypersons to navigate as the rules and laws involved can be archaic and nuanced. If you need assistance appealing a denial of a license, social security benefits, tax decision, or other administrative law matter in Montana, a government lawyer may be able to represent you.


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