Looking Forward: State Representative Wylie Galt

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

Wylie Galt’s new job has him starting as soon as he possibly can in 2017: The newly elected representative for House District 30 has to be in Helena next Monday, and on the job at noon. The Central Montanan is ready, though, and has already started outlining his goals for the 2017 legislative session.

Legislative committees have been assigned, and Galt is excited about the outcome: he will sit on the Taxation, Natural Resources and Legislative Administration committees.

“I chose taxation because I like to keep a close eye on the taxes, especially being a landowner,” he said.

Galt feels this committee will play a crucial role in the coming year, as a decrease in tax revenues has left legislators scrutinizing the state budget.

“The state doesn’t have any money this biennium, so it’s going to be tax increases or budget cuts,” he said. “I’m hoping for budget cuts where money doesn’t have to be spent.”

While the Natural Resources Committee might see less action than taxation, Galt is still glad to hold one of its seats.

“Natural resources deals with not only the harvest of natural resources around here, but water rights as well,” he said. “Being a water rights holder, I felt having one on the committee would be beneficial.”

Galt has also looked beyond his committees, and he has set a goal dealing with something he has experienced as a rancher.

“I’m planning on changing some brand inspection laws regarding grazing permits,” he said.

According to Galt, the current law requires ranchers grazing beyond surrounding counties to get brand inspections when cattle are transported to and from the grazing area. At a dollar a head, the inspections can take a toll.

“The grazing permits right now only allow you to go to adjoining counties,” he said. “I’m hoping to change that so you could go from deeded areas to deeded acres, allowing you to go across the state.”

Galt explained some ranchers were facing a pricey problem.

 “It can get costly quickly,” Galt said.

He wants to eliminate the inspections when ranchers are moving their herd between lands they own, whether those areas are in the surrounding counties or not.

Outside of his agenda, Galt predicts a quiet session with only one or two issues raising any concern.

“From everything I’m hearing and seeing, I think it’s going to be a pretty quiet session,” he said. “There shouldn’t be as much infighting and head butting because there are no really big issues that I see.”

In the next few days, the representative plans to wrap things up at home before heading to Helena.

“I’m trying to get all of the cows caught up, at least until calving, so they’re fairly easy to take care of for everyone that I’m leaving behind,” he said. “It goes from Carhartts to suits here in a few more days.”

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