Mont. gov signs property owner protections law

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has signed a law that aims to give landowners more say in eminent domain proceedings.

Bullock signed the bill Wednesday.

House Bill 417 was sponsored by Rep. Kelly Flynn of Townsend. It was the result of work the Republican did over two years to help out landowners angry with developments in eminent domain proceedings used by state agencies and public utilities.

The bill requires that an agency trying to buy a piece of property make a final written offer before beginning a condemnation action.

Bullock says the measure gives landowners more certainty. The governor says the measure helps balance private property rights against the demands of energy and other development.