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Montana Legislature Overrides Gianforte's First Veto

The Montana Legislature has overridden Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s first veto. The bill in question provides the Legislature more power over state agency rulemaking.

House lawmakers overrode Gianforte’s veto with a bipartisan vote Monday, 89-11.

Senate Bill 227 gives lawmakers more power to respond to rules put in place by the governor that guide state programs when the legislature is not in session. Under the new policy, a simple majority of lawmakers in the subsequent session can repeal a rule with a joint resolution, which isn’t subject to a governor’s veto pen. Currently, lawmakers must pass legislation to repeal administrative rules.

“The bill is an appropriate additional measure to make sure that rules advance legislative intent," said Republican Rep. Bill Mercer of Billings.

In a veto message filed last week, Gianforte wrote that the policy unlawfully violates the separation of powers between state government branches.

The Senate unanimously overrode Gianforte’s veto Friday. A successful veto requires at least two-thirds support from lawmakers in both chambers.

Kevin Trevellyan is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report for America statehouse reporter.