Montana Public Radio

Jill Cohenour

The way Montanans can participate in their state legislature has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. People have more virtual access, and in-person hearings in the Capitol look different than ever before.

At a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the Montana Capitol January 5, 2021 lawmakers wearing masks and those with bare faces sat next to each other. Some committee chairs are requiring participants to adhere to public health guidance, others aren't.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

A panel of Montana state legislative leaders adopted new guidelines Friday for holding the session during the coronavirus pandemic. The move came one day after a state lawmaker announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

Demonstrators gather outside the Montana Capitol January 6, 2021 in support of President Trump's debunked claims of fraud in the presidential election.
Shaylee Ragar / Montana Public Radio

Montana state political leaders issued statements condemning pro-Donald Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

A protestor's sign sits outside the House of Representatives gallery during the swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol, January 4, 2021.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Servic

Montana’s 67th Legislature convened Monday in the Capitol building in Helena where lawmakers remain split on how best to meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been clear that the 2021 legislative session at the Montana Capitol will look different amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it wasn’t clear how different until Wednesday. Republican state lawmakers are planning an in-person session, rejecting mask requirements and allowing lawmakers the option to tune in remotely.

The House chamber at the Montana Legislature during the 2019 session.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers debated Monday how they’ll hold the 2021 legislative session amid the coronavirus pandemic. The session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4. Lawmakers did not make any final decisions, but were deeply divided on how best to proceed. 

Montana House of Representatives.
MTPR

Montana lawmakers elected leaders Wednesday to shape legislative priorities during the 2021 session. Individual caucus meetings showed a stark contrast in how Republicans and Democrats will approach governing during the coronavirus pandemic.

MTPR’s Shaylee Ragar and YPR's Kevin Trevellyan covered the gatherings from the Capitol. They discuss their reporting.

Montana lawmakers were briefed on a draft legislative study about water rights in the age of climate change.

Montana may continue to see years or decades long droughts amid rising annual average temperatures, according to the study presented to the legislative Water Policy Interim Committee on July 13.

Legislature Passes 'Real ID' Compromise Bill

Apr 25, 2017

The Montana Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that offers a compromise on the 2005 federal “Real ID Act,” which standardizes state identification cards. At the end of this year, a Montana driver’s license would not meet the federal standards to be used for air travel or access to federal facilities.

Bill Would Provide Option For Montanans To Comply With Federal Real ID Act

Mar 24, 2017

Montana is facing a deadline at the end of this year to comply with a 2005 federal mandate called the 'Real ID Act,' which requires states to meet minimum security standards for identification cards used to access federal facilities or get through airport security.

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