In an 11 to 10 vote, the Montana House Judiciary Committee decided to table the controversial CSKT Water Compact bill today, April 13.

Republican Representative Matthew Monforton of Bozeman was one of the 11 votes to table the bill. He says that "lies" were at the heart of his decision.

"For me personally, it is the fact that there has been so much false information and so many lies that have been perpetuated by the proponents," Monforton said after the vote. "Lies that have been echoed by the Governors office, as well as the Attorney General's Office, that the tribes have aboriginal rights east of the divide that they will file if this compact fails."

Monforton says that any CSKT aboriginal claims east of the divide would merely be frivolous, and that the treaty, if passed, will be catastrophic for instigators near the reservation.

With the bill tabled, the CSKT Water Compact will be the issue of an arduous rules discussion that could lead to it being brought to the House Floor via a "silver bullet", a legislative tactic agreed on at the start of the 2015 session that allows each party to blast a select number of bills to the main floor. If the compact does get to the main floor, Monforton believes it will pass.

"If the compact goes to the floor, unfortunately, the proponents have enough votes to prevail," Monforton said. "That is largely because of lies and deceit with regard to, especially, legislators east of the divide who have been threatened to vote for this compact, because, supposedly, their farmers and ranchers will be targeted by lawsuits. It's all false, but unfortunately, false arguments are probably going to carry the day."

Monforton said the matter will likely be decided in the next two to three days.


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