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House Lawmakers To Enter Session Without New Rules

The House chamber at the Montana Legislature.
Nick Mott
Montana Public Radio
The House chamber at the Montana Legislature.

Montana state representatives voted down a proposed set of rules Tuesday to govern the 2021 legislative session. This will leave House lawmakers either scrambling to create new rules once the session begins in January or leave last session’s rules in place.

Some Republican members of the House Rules Committee, which is charged with approving new rules, joined Democrats in voting down the proposed set of regulations for House lawmakers during the upcoming session.

The vote came after the proposed rules were stripped of stipulations that would have given more power to Republicans in the majority.

Rep. Brad Tschida, a Republican of Missoula, took issue specifically with the removal of a proposed rule that would have given Republican committee chairs discretion over which bills get a hearing.

“So those things that were stricken from 101. ATE [the proposed amendment] seem to take an awful lot of the strength out of the proposed rule changes,” Tschida said. 

Another proposal removed would have given more power to the Republican Speaker of the House.

Tschida voted against the proposed set of rules with three other Republicans and all of the Democrats on the committee. TheDemocrats voted againstit saying it would give the majority too much power.

A separate committee of House and Senate lawmakers agreed last week to hold the 2021 legislative session in-person with optional online participation. Lawmakers are still on track to vote on that hybrid model for the upcoming session when they gavel in Jan 4, and House lawmakers could put forth new proposed rules then.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.