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(1) The Secretary of State adopts and incorporates by reference ARM 1.3.102 and 1.3.205 through 1.3.233 relating to citizens' participation, noticing and hearing procedures, and declaratory rulings. A copy of the model rules may be obtained from the Secretary of State, Montana State Capitol, Helena, Montana 59620.

History: 2-4-201, MCA; IMP, 2-4-202, MCA; NEW, 1980 MAR p. 133, Eff. 1/18/80; AMD, 1981 MAR p. 1386, Eff. 1/1/82; AMD, 2008 MAR p. 66, Eff. 1/18/08.


This rule has been repealed.

History: 30-9-403, 30-13-217, 30-13-311, 35-1-1201, 35-2-1001, 35-12-521, MCA; IMP, 30-9-403, 30-13-217, 30-13-311, 35-1-1201, 35-2-1001, 35-12-521, 71-3-125, MCA; NEW, 1989 MAR p. 1342, Eff. 10/1/89; AMD, 1993 MAR p. 2248, Eff. 10/1/93; REP, 2008 MAR p. 2056, Eff. 10/1/08.


This rule has been repealed.

History: 2-15-405, 35-1-1307, MCA; IMP, 2-15-405, 35-1-1206, MCA; NEW, 1989 MAR p. 1342, Eff. 9/15/89; AMD, 2001 MAR p. 2472, Eff. 1/1/02; AMD, 2009 MAR p. 1687, Eff. 9/25/09; REP, 2014 MAR p. 856, Eff. 4/25/14.


This rule has been repealed.

History: 30-9A-526, 35-1-1307, 35-2-1107, MCA; IMP, 30-13-217, 35-2-1003, 35-12-521, MCA; NEW, 1989 MAR p. 1342, Eff. 9/15/89; AMD, 1993 MAR p. 2248, Eff. 10/1/93; AMD, 2006 MAR p. 2138, Eff. 9/22/06; AMD, 2009 MAR p. 1687, Eff. 9/25/09; REP, 2014 MAR p. 856, Eff. 4/25/14.


(1) Pursuant to Article II, section 9, of the Montana Constitution, and 2-6-1003, MCA, government documents and public information may be examined and copies provided to the public, with a few exceptions where privacy and security concerns outweigh the public's right to know.

(a) This rule pertains to public information made available or copied pursuant to the public's right to know.

(b) Fees charged for other services provided by the Secretary of State's office are not affected by this rule, including but not limited to document and record services provided by the Business Services Division, Administrative Rules Services, Notarial Services, and Records and Information Management Services.

(2) Requests to examine public information in the Secretary of State's Office will be granted by appointment. There is no charge for examination of public information in the office, but fees for research and preparing public information for examination or copying will be charged in accordance with (5).

(3) The Secretary of State shall maintain the integrity of original records. If in the opinion of the Secretary of State any requested record might be altered, stolen, or is irreplaceable, a staff person will supervise any examination or copying of that record.

(4) Requests to examine and/or for copies of public information will be processed and completed as soon as possible depending upon the workload and availability of staff. Agency staff will be responsible for gathering and providing the requested copies utilizing office equipment and resources.

(5) The Secretary of State will determine the form in which a copy of public information will be provided. In accordance with 2-6-1006, MCA, the Secretary of State is not required to alter or customize any public information to provide it in a form specified to meet the needs of any requesting person. A request for a customized record request response will be reviewed in accordance with 2-6-1006, MCA.

(6) In accordance with 2-6-1006, MCA, the Secretary of State will charge fees for fulfilling requests for public information, not to exceed the actual costs directly incident to fulfilling the request in the most cost-efficient and timely manner possible. The fees will include the staff time required to review and gather the public information, including but not limited to legal review, research, IT services, gathering, and copying. Payment of the fees will be required in advance in accordance with 2-6-1006, MCA, and will be as follows:

(a) photocopies, $.50 per page

(b) digital images, $.15 per page

(c) staff time to gather and prepare documents for copying – actual cost

(d) records recalled from offsite storage – actual cost

(e) staff time for gathering and copying electronic files – actual cost

(f) digital media – actual cost

(g) legal review – actual cost

(h) research / analysis apart from simple collection – actual cost

(i) additional services required of Information & Technology Services Division – actual cost

(7) Agency staff will record and document all time and expenses associated with a public information request, and a fee for staff time will be charged only when it exceeds one-half hour of time.


History: 2-6-1006, 2-15-405, MCA; IMP, Article II, section 9, Montana Constitution, 2-6-1003, 2-6-1006, MCA; NEW, 2011 MAR p. 1558, Eff. 8/12/11; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 2436, Eff. 12/24/16; AMD, 2017 MAR p. 1677, Eff. 9/23/17.


(1) The following fees will be charged for insufficient funds checks, checks returned from the bank unpaid, and returned e-checks:

(a) first returned check $15.00

(b) each subsequent returned check by the same payer 25.00

(2) The returned check service fees apply to checks returned because of insufficient funds, closed accounts, stop payments, incorrect date, inconsistency in amounts, incorrect signature, and/or lack of signature.

(3) The following exceptions apply:

(a) the payer of the check presents the secretary of state with written confirmation by the payer's financial institution that the check was returned to the secretary of state by the financial institution due to an error on the part of the financial institution; or

(b) the check is a returned e-check from the secretary of state's online payment processor that states the customer entered an invalid routing/account number.

History: 2-15-405, MCA; IMP, 2-15-405, 27-1-717, MCA; NEW, 2014 MAR p. 2179, Eff. 9/19/14.


(1) Effective early in 2016, the business services division of the Secretary of State's office will begin accepting business filings electronically.

(2) Electronic signatures contained in the electronic records referenced in (1) must meet the definition set forth in 30-18-102, MCA.

(3) Any documents not filed electronically with the business services division must be on paper or by facsimile and must be signed by the person executing the document.

(4) Electronic signatures, as defined in 30-18-102, MCA shall be accepted by the business services division if they meet the following criteria. The electronic signature shall:

(a) be unique to the person using it;

(b) either have an electronic authentication process attached or must be logically associated with the document;

(c) be capable of verification so that the acceptor of the electronically signed document can verify that the document was electronically signed by the person;

(d) be under the sole control of the person using it; and

(e) be linked to the data in such a manner that if the data are changed, the digital signature is invalidated.

(5) The name and title of the person signing digitally shall also be provided.

History: 30-18-118, MCA; IMP, 30-18-117, MCA; NEW, 2012 MAR p. 133, Eff. 1/13/12; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 594, Eff. 4/9/16.


(1) Pursuant to 2-15-401 and 2-15-404, MCA, the Secretary of State has developed and partially implemented a statewide electronic filing system (system) to allow the online filing of many business documents required to be filed with the Secretary of State.

(2) The system is hosted in a PCI (payment card industry) compliant data center and day-to-day operational and security management is the responsibility of a contracted vendor.

(3) The system is built to accept and store properly entered data, allow later search capability of the system, and provide standardized reporting.

(4) System users are required to set up an account through ePass (the state of Montana's online access portal), which identifies them for the purpose of authentication, unless the Secretary of State is granted an exception from complying with ePass policies or standards.

(5) Password complexity for online users is consistent with Department of Administration standards.

(6) State and federal law governing the filing of lien notices does not require signatures if the document is filed online.

(7) The system generates an image based on the information entered by the online user which contains a unique filing number and filing date/time and may be printed for the user's records.

(8) Users submitting a business filing that is rejected by the Secretary of State have 100 days to resubmit the document or it will be removed from the electronic repository that holds documents during the working stage of the filing process.


History: 2-15-401, 2-15-404, MCA; IMP, 2-15-401, 2-15-404, MCA; NEW, 2015 MAR p. 1764, Eff. 10/16/15; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 594, Eff. 4/9/16; AMD, 2017 MAR p. 1678, Eff. 9/23/17.