Breaking News: Ballotpedia partners with White House and Congressional leadership to sponsor Affordable Stare Act (ASA)

Difference between revisions of "Montana State Senate"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 10: Line 10:
<!--Level 3-->
<!--Level 3-->
|Senate president = [[Jim Peterson]], (R)
|Senate president = [[Jim Peterson]], (R)
|Majority leader = [[Jeff Essmann]], (R)
|Majority leader = [[Art Wittich]], (R)
|Minority leader = [[Carol Williams]], (D)
|Minority leader = [[Jon Sesso]], (D)
<!-- Level 4-->
<!-- Level 4-->
|Members = 50
|Members = 50

Revision as of 09:54, 11 July 2013

Montana State Senate

Seal of Montana.jpg
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   2 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   January 7, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Jim Peterson, (R)
Majority Leader:   Art Wittich, (R)
Minority Leader:   Jon Sesso, (D)
Members:  50
   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 6, 2012 (26 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Redistricting:   Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission
Meeting place:
The Montana Senate is the upper house of the Montana State Legislature. It consists of 50 senators representing districts with an average of 19,788 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 18,044 residents.[2]

Jim Peterson, a Republican, is the Montana Senate's president.

Montana state senators serve for four-year terms subject to a term limit of no more than two terms in office. Twenty-five of the state senate seats are up for election each even-numbered year.

There are 17 standing Senate committees which consider legislation on specific areas.

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 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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 7 through April 27.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included economic development, increased natural resource development and reforms to how the state funds education.[3]


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. [4]


In 2010, the Senate was not in session.[5]


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

Ethics and transparency

Open States Transparency

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.[6]



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.

Montana state senators are subject to term limits, and may not serve more than two four-year terms. In 2012, 8 state senators were termed-out.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Montana State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Montana State Senator were held in Montana on November 2, 2010.

The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 15, 2010. The primary election day was June 8, 2010.

Of Montana's 50 total seats, 25 were up for election. The 25 seats are representative of districts 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 23, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 48, and 49.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $993,331 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [7]


To be eligible to serve in the Montana State Senate, a candidate must be:[8]

  • 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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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[9]. Any person selected to fill a Senate seat serves until the next scheduled general election[10].

Term limits

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.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1992 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 2000.[11]



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.[12]

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 21
     Republican Party 29
Total 50

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Montana State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Montana State Senate.PNG


At the beginning of each regular legislative session the Senate elects the President and President pro tempore. It then chooses its other officers.[13][14]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Montana State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Jeff Essmann Ends.png Republican
State Senate President Pro Tempore Debby Barrett Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Eric Moore Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Janna Taylor Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Whip Llew Jones Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Robyn Driscoll Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Cliff Larsen Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Members of the 2009 Montana Senate, Photo by George Lane from the Montana Senate website
Current members, Montana State Senate
District Representative Party Assumed office
1 Chas Vincent Ends.png Republican 2011
2 Dee Brown Ends.png Republican 2013
3 Bruce Tutvedt Ends.png Republican 2009
4 Jon Sonju Ends.png Republican 2011
5 Verdell Jackson Ends.png Republican 2007
6 Janna Taylor Ends.png Republican 2013
7 Jennifer Fielder Ends.png Republican 2013
8 Shannon Augare Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
9 Rick Ripley Ends.png Republican 2009
10 Brad Hamlett Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
11 Anders Blewett Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
12 Mitch Tropila Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
13 Edward Buttrey Ends.png Republican 2011
14 Llew Jones Ends.png Republican 2011
15 Jim Peterson Ends.png Republican 2007
16 Jonathan Windy Boy Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
17 Greg Jergeson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
18 John Brenden Ends.png Republican 2009
19 Matthew Rosendale Ends.png Republican 2013
20 Frederick "Eric" Moore Ends.png Republican 2011
21 Sharon Stewart-Peregoy Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
22 Taylor Brown Ends.png Republican 2009
23 Alan Olson Ends.png Republican 2011
24 Roger Webb Ends.png Republican 2013
25 Kendall Van Dyk Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
26 Robyn Driscoll Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 Elsie Arntzen Ends.png Republican 2013
28 Jeff Essmann Ends.png Republican 2005
29 Edward Walker Ends.png Republican 2011
30 Jason Priest Ends.png Republican 2011
31 Ron Arthun Ends.png Republican 2011
32 Larry Jent Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
33 Mike Phillips Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
34 Scott Sales Ends.png Republican 2013
35 Art Wittich Ends.png Republican 2011
36 Debby Barrett Ends.png Republican 2009
37 Jon Sesso Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
38 Jim Keane Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
39 Terry Murphy Ends.png Republican 2007
40 Mary Caferro Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
41 Christine Kaufmann Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
42 Dave Lewis Ends.png Republican 2005
43 Gene Vuckovich Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
44 Scott Boulanger Ends.png Republican 2013
45 Fred Thomas Ends.png Republican 2013
46 Sue Malek Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
47 Dick Barrett Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
48 Tom Facey Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
49 David Wanzenried Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
50 Clifford Larsen Electiondot.png Democratic 2009

Standing Senate Committees

See also: Joint legislative committees, Montana State Legislature

The Montana State Senate has 17 standing committees:


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

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 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

External links