Montana State Senate
|Montana State Senate|
|Term limits:||2 terms (8 years)|
|2015 session start:||January 5, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Debby Barrett (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Matthew Rosendale (R)|
|Minority leader:||Jon Sesso (D)|
Democratic Party (21)
Republican Party (29)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art V, Sec. 2, Montana Constitution|
|Salary:||$82.64/day + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (25 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (25 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Term limits
- 5 Senators
- 6 Standing Senate Committees
- 7 History
- 8 External links
- 9 References
There are 17 standing Senate committees which consider legislation on specific areas.
As of March 2015, Montana is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
Article V of the Montana Constitution establishes when the Montana State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 6 of Article V states that the Legislature is to meet in every odd-numbered year in a regular session of at most ninety legislative days. However, Section 6 allows any Legislature to increase the limit on the length of any subsequent session. Section 6 also allows for the Legislature to meet in special session when convened by the Governor of Montana or when a special session is requested by a majority of the Legislature's members.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the Legislature is projected to be in session from January 5 through late April.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include Medicaid expansion, funding for preschool programs, infrastructure, charter schools and the Flathead Water Rights Compact.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature will not hold a regular session.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through April 27.
Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included economic development, increased natural resource development and reforms to how the state funds education.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was not in regular session.
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 3 through April 28.
Role in state budget
- See also: Montana state budget and finances
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in early August of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
- Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in early September.
- Agency hearings are held in September.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in November.
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in April. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The biennium begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Montana was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Montana received a grade of B and a numerical score of 86, indicating that Montana was "advancing" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Montana was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014, and a general election took place on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for major party candidates wishing to run in this election was March 10, 2014; minor party and independent candidates had until June 2, 2014, to file.
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2012
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate were held in Montana on November 6, 2012. A total of 25 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was March 12, 2012 and the primary date was June 5 2012.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Montana State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 10||Brad Hamlett||2.1%||7,985||Wendy McKamey|
|District 27||Elsie Arntzen||2.8%||6,639||Gary Branae|
|District 24||Roger Webb||3.1%||9,015||Wanda Grinde|
|District 17||Greg Jergeson||6%||7,214||Don Richman|
|District 2||Dee Brown||6.7%||9,796||David Fern|
|District 6||Janna Taylor||14.1%||9,780||Nancy Lindsey|
|District 43||Gene Vuckovich||15.1%||7,536||Jonathan Arnold|
|District 26||Robyn Driscoll||17.3%||6,271||Malcolm Long|
|District 37||Jon Sesso||19%||9,108||Daniel O'Neill|
|District 46||Sue Malek||19.7%||9,914||Kevin Blackler|
During the 2012 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $907,978. The top 10 contributors were:
|2012 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Roberts, Rollan II||$32,626|
|Arnold, Jonathan L.||$7,241|
|Long, Malcolm D. (Mack)||$5,412|
|Mowbray, Carmine M.||$4,816|
|Yellowstone County Democratic Central Committee||$3,900|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2010
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate were held in Montana on November 2, 2010. A total of 26 seats were up for election.
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 15, 2010. The primary Election Day was June 8, 2010.
During the 2010 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $993,331. The top 10 donors were:
|2010 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Priest, Jason S||$17,873|
|Comstock, Michael B||$9,416|
|Page, Julia L||$3,720|
|Henry, Teresa K||$3,468|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2008
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 3, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008. Twenty-five seats were up for election.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $744,742. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Zinke, Ryan K.||$15,491|
|Windy Boy, Jonathan||$6,986|
|Brenden, John C.||$6,240|
|Hartelius, Channing J.||$6,171|
|Sands, Jack E.||$5,500|
|Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee||$3,300|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2006
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006. Twenty-five seats were up for election.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $687,206. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Noennig, Mark E.||$20,000|
|Loranger, Donald E.||$5,870|
|Woerner, Dr. Don||$5,423|
|Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee||$3,750|
|McDonald, Clay Scott||$3,148|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2004
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 3, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004. Twenty-five seats were up for election.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $600,450. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Lind, Greg H.||$18,122|
|Cyr, Larry Jr.||$4,750|
|Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee||$3,800|
|Navratil, Gerald J.||$3,475|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2002
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2002, and a general election on November 7, 2002. Twenty-five seats were up for election.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $521,540. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Fox, Mary Jo||$52,654|
|Perry, Gary L.||$25,515|
|Gibson, Harriet (Hattie)||$13,200|
- See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2000
Elections for the office of Montana State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 6, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000. Twenty-six seats were up for election.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $395,126. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Montana State Senate|
|Butcher, Edward B.||$10,800|
|Glaser, William E.||$7,474|
|Montana Education Association Montana Federation Of Teachers||$3,800|
To be eligible to serve in the Montana State Senate, a candidate must be:
- A resident of the state for at least one year next preceding the general election
- A resident of the county for six months preceding the general election if it contains one or more districts or of the district if it contains all or parts of more than one county.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, the Board of County Commissioners that represent the vacant seat must select a replacement. The Secretary of State must notify the Board of Commissioners and the county central committee of the political party that holds the vacant seat no later than seven days after the vacancy happened. The county central committee has 45 days after receiving notice from the Secretary of State to provide a list of candidates to the Board of County Commissioners. The board must select a replacement no later than 15 days after receiving the list of candidates. If the Senate is in session, the selection must be made no later than five days after receiving a candidate list. Any person selected to fill a Senate seat serves until the next scheduled general election.
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
The Montana legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Montana Term Limits Act in 1992. That initiative said that Missouri senators are subject to term limits of no more than two four-year terms, or a total of eight years.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Montana legislature are paid $82.64/day. Per diem is $105.31/day.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of March 2015|
List of current members
Standing Senate Committees
The Montana State Senate has 17 standing committees:
- Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation
- Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs
- Committee on Committees
- Education and Cultural Resources
- Energy and Telecommunications
- Finance and Claims
- Fish and Game
- Highways and Transportation
- Legislative Administration
- Local Government
- Natural Resources
- Public Health, Welfare, and Safety
- State Administration
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Montana State Senate for seven years while the Republicans were the majority for 15 years, including the last five years.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Montana state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Montana had Republican trifectas from 1995-2004. Montana's lowest SQLI ranking, finishing at 41st, occurred during those Republican trifectas, from 1999-2001. The state's two highest rankings came in the final five years while under divided government.
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001
- termlimits.org, "State Legislative Term Limits," accessed December 17, 2013
- Associated Press, "Montana Legislature: Top issues for 2015 session," January 22, 2015
- Billings Gazette, "Legislature again prepare to debate divisive issues," January 6, 2013
- Montana Legislature, "2011 Regular Session," accessed June 2, 2014
- Montana Legislature, "Past Sessions," accessed June 2, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," accessed June 2, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2012 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2010 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2008 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2006 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2004 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2002 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Montana 2000 - Candidates," accessed June 2, 2014
- Montana Legislative Services, "Constitution of Montana," accessed March 6, 2014 (Referenced Art. V, Sec. 4)
- Montana Legislature, "Montana Election Law," accessed June 2, 2014 (Referenced Statute 5-2-402 (3) (a)-(c))
- Montana Legislature, "Montana Election Law," accessed June 2, 2014 (Referenced Statute 5-2-405 (1)-(2))
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Montana Legislature, "Senate Rules," accessed June 2, 2014
- Montana Legislature, "Senate, 2013," accessed June 2, 2014
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