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Laws governing local ballot measures in Montana

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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Montana Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVSchedule
All Montana incorporated local governments have a mandated initiative and referendum process for local ballot measures.

This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Montana. It explains:

  • Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
  • How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
  • An overview of laws governing local recall elections.

Note that Montana is one of twenty-four states that allow the initiative process at the statewide level.

Types of local government

Local government in Montana consists of:

  • 129 city governments.
  • 56 county governments. (This includes the consolidated city-counties Anaconda with Deer Lodge County, and Butte with Silver Bow County)
  • In addition, there are 736 special districts and 321 independent school districts.[1]

City classifications:

Cities in Montana may be classified as:

  • Charter city: of which there are 32
  • General law city: of which there are 97

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in Montana

School bond and tax elections in Montana are required for:

  • Issuance and sale of new bonds.

Local recall rules

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The citizens of Montana are granted the authority to recall politicians by the Montana Recall Act. All state officials in Montana are subject to recall.
For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Montana

Initiative process availability

The local units of government in Montana that make the initiative process available are:

  • General law cities, which have a state mandated initiative and referendum process for ordinances. There are 97 such cities.
  • Charter cities, which have the same state mandated initiative and referendum process for ordinances, as well as for charter amendment. Unlike in some other states, charter cities may not differ from the general law initiative requirements. There are 32 such cities.
  • General law counties, which have a state mandated initiative and referendum process for ordinances. There are 51 such counties.
  • Charter counties, which have a state mandated initiative and referendum process for ordinances and charter amendments. There are 3 such counties.[2]

Authority

Ballot Law Portal
Laws Governing Ballot Measures

Constitution

Montana Constitution, Article XI, Section 5 and 6 authorize local governments (cities and counties) to adopt home rule charters.

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

(1) The legislature shall provide procedures permitting a local government unit or combination of units to frame, adopt, amend, revise, or abandon a self-government charter with the approval of a majority of those voting on the question. The procedures shall not require approval of a charter by a legislative body.(2) If the legislature does not provide such procedures by July 1, 1975, they may be established by election either:(a) Initiated by petition in the local government unit or combination of units; or(b) Called by the governing body of the local government unit or combination of units.(3) Charter provisions establishing executive, legislative, and administrative structure and organization are superior to statutory provisions.

Article XI, Section 8 mandates the power of local initiative and referendum to all local governments.

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

The legislature shall extend the initiative and referendum powers reserved to the people by the constitution to the qualified electors of each local government unit.

Statutes

Montana Code Section 7-3-103 mandates local initiative for charter amendments.

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

An amendment to a self-government charter or an adopted alternative form of government may be proposed by initiative by petition of 15% of the electors registered at the last general election of the local government or by ordinance enacted by the governing body. The question on amendment of a charter or an adopted alternative form of government must be submitted to the electors at the next regular or primary election.

Montana Code Section 7-3-709 states "A charter may be amended only as provided by state law."

Montana Code Section 7-5-131 mandates local initiative and referendum powers to citizens of all local governments.

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

(1) The powers of initiative and referendum are reserved to the electors of each local government. Resolutions and ordinances within the legislative jurisdiction and power of the governing body of the local government, except those set out in subsection (2), may be proposed or amended and prior resolutions and ordinances may be repealed in the manner provided in 7-5-132 through 7-5-137.

Montana Code Section 7-3-708 states that charters may not differ from the general law initiative process.

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

Limitations on charter provisions. (1) Charter provisions may not conflict with the provisions of part 1, chapter 1, which establish statutory limitations on the powers of self-government units. (2) Charter forms are subject to state laws establishing election, initiative, and referendum procedures; and charters shall not contain provisions establishing election, initiative, and referendum procedures. (3) The charter shall not contain provisions establishing or modifying local court systems.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Montana Code, Title 7

A guide to local ballot initiatives
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Initiative process features for all local governments

The initiative and referendum process for local governments can be found in Montana Code 7-5-131 through 7-5-137.[3]


Initiative process features for amendment of local government charter

Charter cities are subject to the above provisions for ordinance initiative. Citizens in charter cities may also use initiative for charter amendments, as authorized by the Montana Code 7-3-103.[5]


Local I&R Laws in the 50 States
Laws governing local ballot measures in WashingtonLaws governing local ballot measures in OregonLaws governing local ballot measures in CaliforniaLaws governing local ballot measures in NevadaLaws governing local ballot measures in ArizonaLaws governing local ballot measures in AlaskaLaws governing local ballot measures in HawaiiLaws governing local ballot measures in UtahLaws governing local ballot measures in IdahoLaws governing local ballot measures in MontanaLaws governing local ballot measures in WyomingLaws governing local ballot measures in ColoradoLaws governing local ballot measures in New MexicoLaws governing local ballot measures in TexasLaws governing local ballot measures in OklahomaLaws governing local ballot measures in KansasLaws governing local ballot measures in NebraskaLaws governing local ballot measures in South DakotaLaws governing local ballot measures in North DakotaLaws governing local ballot measures in MinnesotaLaws governing local ballot measures in IowaLaws governing local ballot measures in MissouriLaws governing local ballot measures in ArkansasLaws governing local ballot measures in LouisianaLaws governing local ballot measures in MississippiLaws governing local ballot measures in TennesseeLaws governing local ballot measures in AlabamaLaws governing local ballot measures in FloridaLaws governing local ballot measures in GeorgiaLaws governing local ballot measures in South CarolinaLaws governing local ballot measures in North CarolinaLaws governing local ballot measures in KentuckyLaws governing local ballot measures in VirginiaLaws governing local ballot measures in West VirginiaLaws governing local ballot measures in WisconsinLaws governing local ballot measures in IllinoisLaws governing local ballot measures in IndianaLaws governing local ballot measures in MichiganLaws governing local ballot measures in MichiganLaws governing local ballot measures in OhioLaws governing local ballot measures in PennsylvaniaLaws governing local ballot measures in MarylandLaws governing local ballot measures in MarylandLaws governing local ballot measures in DelawareLaws governing local ballot measures in DelawareLaws governing local ballot measures in ConnecticutLaws governing local ballot measures in New JerseyLaws governing local ballot measures in New JerseyLaws governing local ballot measures in New YorkLaws governing local ballot measures in ConnecticutLaws governing local ballot measures in MassachusettsLaws governing local ballot measures in Rhode IslandLaws governing local ballot measures in MassachusettsLaws governing local ballot measures in VermontLaws governing local ballot measures in New HampshireLaws governing local ballot measures in MaineLaws governing local ballot measures in New HampshireLaws governing local ballot measures in VermontLocal I&R 50 states Map.png
Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns

Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Montana
City[7] Population City Type Next election
Billings 105,636 Charter N/A
Missoula 67,290 Charter N/A
Great Falls 58,950 Charter N/A
Bozeman 38,025 Charter N/A
Butte 33,704 General law N/A
Helena 28,592 Charter N/A
Kalispell 20,008 General law N/A
Havre 9,600 General law N/A
Anaconda 9,299 General law N/A
Miles City 8,438 General law N/A

In Montana, all local governments must follow the initiative requirements as provided above.



External links

References