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By Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press

A pair of bills seeking to restrict nonprofit groups’ access to litigation by changing how they’re taxed and how they can use the Montana Environmental Policy Act cleared the Montana Senate this week.

Flathead-area Republicans are sponsoring both bills, which were unanimously opposed by Senate Democrats. Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, is sponsoring Senate Bill 524, which would tax a nonprofit’s expenditures related to litigating or commenting on proposals before agencies like the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Sen. Mark Noland, R-Bigfork, is sponsoring Senate Bill 557, which seeks to change how nonprofit groups can use MEPA, the section of state law that directs state agencies to study and disclose environmental impacts when reviewing major projects.

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