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Montana Legislature Clarifies Ownership Rights of Fossils

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Excellence in Voting                   March 24, 2019



The Montana Legislature unanimously passed a bill Friday to clarify that fossils are part of a property’s surface rights, not its mineral rights, unless a contract separating those rights says otherwise.

The state Senate passed the bill 50-0 after it passed the House 100-0 in February. It now goes to Gov. Steve Bullock for his signature.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Brad Hamlett, was prompted by a legal challenge over the ownership of valuable dinosaur fossils unearthed on an eastern Montana ranch in 2006.



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