2023 Legislative Session Preview
The 68th Montana Legislature convenes at noon on Monday, January 2, 2023. Over 3,000 bills had been requested by the first week of December, with more to come before the January 12 deadline for requesting general bills and the January 24 deadline for requesting bills with fiscal impact.
While it is estimated that one-third of the bills requested are introduced and one-third of those eventually become law, monitoring hundreds of proposals and the activity surrounding them is a substantial task.
OCHE has designated a team to track bills, hearings, amendments, and discussion, as well as monitor the budget as it impacts the MUS and the campuses. As the session begins, be on the lookout for the MUS Legislative Review, a weekly update on MUS-related legislation and budget items OCHE will send directly to interested subscribers.
For those interested in real-time updates, live discussions, and additional details regarding specific bills or bill subjects, the Legislature has made available to the public ways to keep tabs on all the moving parts.
- The Legislative Services Division maintains a searchable database called the Legislative Automated Workflow System (LAWS), which is continually updated as actions are recorded and reported. The service offers complete text of bills, current status of bills, hearing schedules and agendas, votes, and text of fiscal notes. A comprehensive guide to the functionality of LAWS, “How to Look Up a Bill,” is available on the Legislature’s website. A review of this guide is essential for a new user to get the most out of the service.
- Live and archived audio and video streaming of committee hearings, House and Senate floor sessions, and special events are just a couple clicks away. To view available streams, at the top of the Legislature’s website, click the “Watch & Listen” tab and click “Streaming Schedule.” The guide for this service is also provided on the tab.
- The Legislative Fiscal Division analyzes the budget, tracks revenue and expenditures, and serves the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the various joint budget subcommittees. Joint budget subcommittees review and amend specific sections of House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act. Joint Subcommittee E reviews education agency budgets and makes funding recommendations to the full committees, while Joint Subcommittee F (the Long Range Planning Subcommittee) considers funding for construction, alteration, repair, and maintenance of state-owned buildings and grounds, including those in the MUS. Budget subcommittee webpages share agendas, meeting materials, data analyses, and other information provided to the committees.
OCHE Legislative Contacts
Deputy Commissioner for Government Relations & Public Affairs
Communications & Legislative Assistant
State law requires the Legislature to convene on the first Monday in January of each odd-numbered year and the body has 90 days to complete its work. Deadlines for various processes are baked into the calendar, but it is important to note that the deadlines are based on “Legislative Day” rather than a calendar date, and legislative leadership has the authority to change what may be considered a legislative day. Bills can and do die because they fail to meet certain deadlines. Highlights from the latest draft calendar are listed below.
|January 2 (Leg Day 1)||Legislature convenes|
|January 17 (Leg Day 12)||Last day to request general (non-revenue) bills and resolutions|
|January 24 (Leg Day 17)||Last day to request revenue bills|
|March 3 (Leg Day 45)||Transmittal of general bills to the other chamber|
|March 4 - 8||Transmittal Break|
|April 7 (Leg Day 67)||Transmittal of revenue bills to the other chamber|
|May 10 (Leg Day 90)||Adjournment|
OCHE staff will be monitoring all bills that have the potential to impact the MUS, students, or employees, and legislation is likely to be assigned to committees such as Judiciary, Public Health, or State Administration in addition to the Education committees. The majority of MUS-related legislation will be deliberated in the Education committees and budget committees, the rosters of which are listed below.
House Education Committee
Anderson, Fred (R), Great Falls ‑ Chair
Reksten, Linda (R), Polson ‑ Vice Chair
Running Wolf, Tyson (D), Browning ‑ Vice Chair
Bergstrom, James (R), Buffalo
Bertoglio, Marta (R), Clancy
Deming, Lee (R), Laurel
Essmann, Sherry (R), Billings
Ler, Brandon (R), Savage
Matthews, Eric (D), Bozeman
Mitchell, Braxton (R), Columbia Falls
Romano, Melissa (D), Helena
Seekins‑Crowe, Kerri (R), Billings
Thane, Mark (D), Missoula
Senate Education and Cultural Resources
Salomon, Daniel (R), Ronan ‑ Chair
Tempel, Russ (R), Chester ‑ Vice Chair
McClafferty, Edie (D), Butte - Vice Chair
Emrich, Daniel (R), Great Falls
Fitzpatrick, Steve (R), Great Falls
Fuller, John (R), Kalispell
Hertz, Greg (R), Polson
O’Brien, Shannon (D), Missoula
Olsen, Andrea (D), Missoula
Regier, Keith (R), Kalispell
Webber, Susan (D), Browning
Appropriations/Finance & Claims Joint Subcommittee (Section E)
Bedey, Rep. David (R), Hamilton ‑ Chair
Salomon, Sen. Daniel (R), Ronan ‑ Vice Chair
Esp, Sen. John (R), Big Timber
Fuller, Sen. John (R), Kalispell
Jones, Rep. Llew (R), Conrad
Keogh, Rep. Connie (D), Missoula
Morigeau, Sen. Shane (D), Missoula
Windy Boy, Rep. Jonathan (D), Box Elder
Long Range Planning
Hopkins, Rep. Mike (R), Missoula ‑ Chair
Cuffe, Sen. Mike (R), Eureka - Vice Chair
Boldman, Sen. Ellie (D), Missoula
Fitzpatrick, Rep. John (R), Anaconda
Lang, Sen. Mike (R), Malta
Regier, Rep. Matt (R), Kalispell
Tuss, Rep. Paul (D), Havre