Montana wildlife commissioners have given their approval to continue negotiations to buy seven properties across the state.

The state Legislature this session stripped Fish, Wildlife and Parks' authority to purchase land over the next budget cycle. But FWP director Jeff Hagener says the agency can still make acquisitions for projects in which talks were underway before the bill's passage.

The bill by Republican Rep. Dave Hagstrom of Billings appropriated money for governmental capital projects for the next two years, but disallowed FWP to buy land.

The Independent Record reports ( the agency can still enter conservation or access easements with landowners.

On Thursday, the Fish and Wildlife Commission endorsed the agency's continuing negotiations on four fishing access sites and additions to three wildlife management areas.