Montana Public Radio

Todd Everts

Montana lawmakers Friday were briefed on potential options to work remotely or at the Capitol during the 2021 legislative session amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Staff presented the Legislative Council Rules Subcommittee with two potential scenarios to bolster lawmaker, staff and public safety during the upcoming session, scheduled to begin in January.

The first option calls for lawmakers and the public to conduct the session remotely, while the second also allows in-person work at the state Capitol in Helena.

Montana lawmakers are working out plans for what their 2021 session will look like and there’s still plenty up in the air, like whether they’ll be required to wear face masks.

Legislative staff have explored whether local or state health rules, like Gov. Steve Bullock’s statewide mask mandate, apply to legislators in the Capitol building. Staff told lawmakers during an interim planning committee meeting Monday that there’s no clear answer.

Montana lawmakers on June 9 formed a bipartisan working group to consider the possibility of a remote 2021 legislative session. Legislators also sparred over the importance of wearing face masks during physical meetings amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Montana legislation seeking to change the definition of “wild bison” is in limbo as the governor and secretary of state disagree over whether the bill has become law.