Montana Legislature Recovers Co-Equality Status | 406 Politics

“I haven’t found much appetite for this in the conversations I’ve had with colleagues,” Abbott said. “I think right now we can do the job to stay informed, monitor and adjust as needed.”

Blasdel also said it was not clear what the future might bring.

“There is still a mixture of feelings about it, although there are valid points to be made,” said Blasdel. “I think we should really gain the trust of the public.”

There are many benefits to generate some interest: a legislature more agile to respond to emerging issues, such as a global pandemic that sends billions in federal aid to the state or a breathtaking fire season; separate sessions to focus only on policy and budget; a more pronounced visibility and an oversight on the other branches.

The Montana State Capitol building in Helena.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Disc

But the Legislature claims some credibility as a citizen Legislature, rather than a population of professional politicians. The move to annual sessions could also change the demographics of candidate for election – it may be easier for young people to get involved in shorter annual sessions than an extended biennial session.

Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 310 in 2019 which, among other elements, required the Legislative Council to consider annual sessions and make a recommendation to the Legislature. In early 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic set in and the study largely fell to the side.

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Jacob C.

The author Jacob C.

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