Montana State Senate
|Montana State Senate|
|Term limits:||2 terms (8 years)|
|2015 session start:||Will not hold a regular session.|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Jeff Essmann, (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Art Wittich, (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 6, 2012 (26 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|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 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. 
Ethics and transparency
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 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.
- 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 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 eleciton, the total 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 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 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 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 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 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 have 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.
- Official website of the Montana Senate
- Official list of Montana State Senators (2009-2010)
- Montana Senate on Wikipedia
- Montana 2010 election results
- Population in 2010 of the American states, accessed November 22, 2013
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
- termlimits.org, "State Legislative Term Limits," accessed December 17, 2013
- Billings Gazette, " Legislature again prepare to debate divisive issues," January 6, 2013
- Montana Legislature
- Session information for Montana Legislature
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money "2012 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money: "Montana Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "2008 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "2006 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "2004 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "2002 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Follow the Money "2000 Montana State Senate Campaign Contributions"
- Montana State Constitution - Qualifications for running for legislature
- Montana Legislature "Montana Election Law"(Referenced Statute 5-2-402 (3) (a)-(c))
- Montana Legislature "Montana Election Law"(Referenced Statute 5-2-405 (1)-(2))
- State legislative term limits
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- 2009 Montana Senate Rules - Chapter 1 Administration
- Montana Senate leadership list
State of Montana
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