The 2021 Montana Legislature has begun, and it looks different this year due to the part remote, part in-person arrangement adopted in response to COVID-19. Here's how you can stay informed and make your voice heard during the session.
The Montana Legislature website is a good place to start if you want to contact a legislator or find info on bills. The legislature site also provides live streaming video and audio for some committee meetings. Here are some tips for effectively contacting lawmakers.
New this session is the ability to participate remotely via video. You will be able to select from the bills that are currently scheduled for hearing for the next 3 days. By noon the day before the hearing, you will be able to submit your written testimony, write a brief message, or request a Zoom link to testify in the bill hearing. You do not have to testify in order to submit written comments. Rules supported by the Republican majority make clear that committee chairs are not required to take virtual testimony in the event of a technical difficulty. Learn more about remote participation.
You can still show up in person to talk to your representatives and testify on bills. For now, you'll be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. People testifying will have to wait in the hall if there are too many people inside the committee room.
You can find Montana legislative news from MTPR, Yellowstone Public Radio, and UM Journalism School reporters daily throughout the session. Or, listen to updates from Helena during our daily newscasts. You can also subscribe to our podcasts to get legislative news on demand.
Capitol Talk, our weekly legislative news and analysis program, airs every Friday throughout the session. The program features MTPR Senior News Analyst Sally Mauk, Lee Newspapers State Bureau Chief Holly Michels and UM Political Science Professor Rob Saldin. Listen on your radio Fridays at 6:44 p.m., on demand at our website, or wherever you get your podcasts.
The Session airs Mondays at 7:50 a.m., with a breakdown of the latest action we’re watching in the statehouse, produced by Montana Public Radio, Yellowstone Public Radio and Montana Free Press (where you can also find daily legislative news.) Subscribe to The Session wherever you get your podcasts.
Social Media can be a great place to find legislative news as it happens. Many legislators, journalists and citizens share news and discuss the Montana Legislature on twitter using the #mtleg and #mtpol hashtags.
For more details, contact the legislative staff at 406-444-4800.