The Montana Legislature Is At The Mid Way Point- What Does It Mean
Transmittal Day is Friday March 3rd. If your bill is still in committee, that means it is tabled and will not pass this legislative session, unless it is an appropriations bill, then it might still have a chance.
Rachel Cone, Director of State Governmental Affairs for Montana Farm Bureau Federation talked about some of the bills that MFBF has been following.
There are two bills on that topic. One was in the House and one was in the Senate. Those bill numbers are House Bill 475 and Senate Bill 347, both heard in their respective committees. On Tuesday, both committees took action on those bills and they were tabled (effectively killing them).
Conservation Districts SB28
We've talked about that a little bit. Senate Bill 28 is one of them that talks about funding for conservation districts, and we know that will be heard on the floor. And of course, we're working with legislators to ensure they know why that's a good bill and why it should be passed through the Senate floor and transmitted to the House.
Contact Your Legislators
You are still are very much encouraged to be in touch with the legislators via email or phone.
Be in touch with your legislators and you can continue to advocate how you feel about a bill, whether it's in support or opposition, and can always keep track of what's being scheduled for each day through the legislative website. And I think they appreciate hearing from their constituents about how they feel about bills. And it's a big stack of things for them to go through. So having some background about each bill is really helpful. So you can work with your legislators through that kind of communication.
Testifying Is Closed, For Now
Being able to testify on a bill, whether in person or on Zoom is not an option this week once there's a transmittal break. And that is the time when there's a lot of processing happening at the Capitol with legislative staff to get bills that have been transmitted, that have passed out of whatever team really started to and transmitted to the next. They get processed and then referred to whatever committee and then they'll be heard again in the next chamber. So the break will be until next Thursday (3-9-23). The legislators will come back next Thursday and have a legislative day.
Break Time, Now What
I think a lot of legislators go home and take that time as an opportunity to meet with their constituents. We heard from multiple legislators that they already have lots of plans to get back and go to different whether it's events that their community is hosting, for them to give an update or to just meet with people, be able to answer questions. Of course, legislators take some of this time to work on some of the things that they have at their own jobs outside of the legislature and get caught up with that.
It's a great opportunity for people in the different respective districts to meet with their legislators and ask them how things are going up here and talk to them about different bills and get an update, right from the source.
If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org