Montana Senate approves measure to hold legislative session annually

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March 9, 2011

Jeff Essman introduced SB 261

HELENA, Montana: Instead of meeting every other year, state legislators are considering a proposal to meet annually, but for a shorter period of time. Ultimately, however, the final decision of this change of work schedule will be left up to voters if the proposal passes the Montana Legislature. If sent to the ballot, the measure would appear in the 2012 general election.

The measure being considered would shorten those legislative sessions from 90 days every other year, to 80 days combined over two years. The proposal was introduced in 2011 state legislative session by State Senator Jeff Essmann. The formal title of the proposal is Senate Bill 261[1][2]

On March 7, 2011, the Montana State Senate voted in favor of sending the measure to the ballot with 33 affirmative votes in that chamber. The measure will now need 67 affirmative votes from the Montana House of Representatives in order to earn ballot access in the 2012 general election. Section 8 of Article XIV of the Montana Constitution says that an affirmative roll call vote of two-thirds of all members of the Montana Legislature is required to refer an amendment to the ballot.[3]

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