Difference between revisions of "Montana State Legislature"

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The 61st session of the Montana legislature convened on [[BC2009#January|January 5, 2009]] and adjourned on [[BC2009#April|April 25, 2009]].
The 61st session of the Montana legislature convened on [[BC2009#January|January 5, 2009]] and adjourned on [[BC2009#April|April 25, 2009]].
{{Transparency card|State=Montana|Grade=C}}
==Montana state legislature and initiative rights==
==Montana state legislature and initiative rights==

Revision as of 16:49, 17 June 2013

Montana State Legislature

Seal of Montana.jpg
General Information
Type:   State legislature
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years) in Senate, 4 terms (8 years in House)
2015 session start:   January 7, 2013
Website:   Official Legislature Page
Senate President:   Jim Peterson (R)
House Speaker:  Mike Milburn (R)
Majority Leader:   Jeff Essmann (R) (Senate),
Tom McGillvray (R) (House)
Minority Leader:   Carol Williams (D) (Senate),
Jon Sesso (D) (House)
Members:  50 (Senate), 100 (House)
Length of term:   4 years (Senate), 2 years (House)
Authority:   Art V, Sec. 2, Montana Constitution
Salary:   $82.64/day + per diem
Last Election:  November 6, 2012
25 seats (Senate)
100 seats (House)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:  Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission has control
The Montana State Legislature is the state legislature of the state of Montana. It is composed of the 100-member Montana House of Representatives and the 50-member Montana State Senate.

The Montana Constitution dictates that the legislature meet only on odd numbered years, and for 90 day periods. However, the Legislature did meet annually briefly from 1973 to 1975. The primary work of the legislature at these times is to pass a bi-annual budget which must then be approved by the Governor.

As of April 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 Legislature 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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 7 to April 27.

Major issues

Legislative leaders say they will focus on economic development, increased natural resource development and reforms to how the state funds education. While Republicans have a clear majority, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has said he will veto bills that are out of the mainstream.[1]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Legislature was not in regular session.


In 2011, the Legislature was in session from January 3 through April 28. [2]


In 2010, the Legislature was not in session.[3]


The 61st session of the Montana legislature convened on January 5, 2009 and adjourned on April 25, 2009.


See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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 was 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.[4]

Montana state legislature and initiative rights

In May 2007, Montana Senate Bill 96 (2007) became law. SB 96 restricts initiative rights by making it illegal for a person who does not live in Montana to ask a Montana voter to sign an initiative petition. The new law also makes it illegal to pay a person anything of value based on how many signatures that person collected.


Each member represents an average of 19,788 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[5] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 18,044.[6]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 21
     Republican Party 29
Total 50


Each member represents an average of 9,894 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[7] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 9,022.[8]

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 41
     Republican Party 59
Total 100


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.[9]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Montana legislators assume office the first Monday of January following the election. If a senator is elected to fill a vacancy, the term of service begins the day after the election.

Party split

Since the beginning of statehood for Montana, the Legislature has been split along party lines fairly consistently and evenly. Since adoption of the new state constitution in 1972, which mandated single-member legislative districts for the first time in the state's history, the Montana Senate has been controlled by Democrats in 10 sessions, and Republicans in 10 sessions. During the same period of time, the Montana House has been controlled by Democrats in 11 sessions and Republicans in 9 sessions. There have been several ties between the parties in each chamber. However, in such an instance, control goes to the party of the sitting Governor according to Montana law.

Following the 2010 elections, Republicans took a 34-seat majority in the House and a six-seat majority in the Senate.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Montana’’
Partisan breakdown of the Montana legislature from 1992-2013

Montana State Senate: 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.

Montana State House of Representatives: From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Montana State House of Representatives for one year while the Republicans were the majority for 17 years, including the last five years.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Montana, the Montana State Senate and the Montana House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Montana state government(1992-2013).PNG


See also: Article XIV, Montana Constitution

The legislature can put a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the ballot, according to Section 8 of Article XIV. Any member of the legislature can propose an amendment. The amendment must then be adopted by an affirmative roll call vote of two-thirds of all members of the legislature.

Joint legislative committees

There are six joint appropriations subcommittees between the House and the Senate:

External links