Montana Public Radio

Jill Cohenour

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.
Montana Public Radio

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.

PD

A bill in the Montana Legislature would ask voters to decide whether the Montana Constitution should establish hunting, fishing and trapping as "a right essential to pursuing life’s basic necessities."

Democrats Hope To Shrink GOP Majorities In Montana Legislature

Oct 20, 2014

From the seat of his combine in the Helena Valley, Republican Senate candidate Joe Dooling talked about why he decided to run for the Legislature.

“I’m just wondering where all the grownups are,” he said.

The 2013 legislative session was marked by a split between conservatives and moderates in the Republican majority, at least one day of banging on tables and more than 70 vetoes from Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat. Dooling said he was frustrated by all of it.

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