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Montana 2021 Legislature

Montana Legislature Will Continue Allowing Online Participation

Lawmakers participate online during a joint House & Senate Rules Committee meeting, December 16, 2020.
Montana Public Affairs Network
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Lawmakers participate online during a joint House & Senate Rules Committee meeting, December 16, 2020.

Montana lawmakers will continue allowing remote participation in legislative committee meetings between legislative sessions.

During the 2021 legislative session, Montanans were able to give testimony on policy proposals by calling or video-chatting into meetings for the first time ever, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Legislative Council, charged with creating rules for interim committees, voted unanimously Monday to continue the practice for both legislators and the public.

Twenty interim committees will meet over the next two years, each covering a specific topic. Lawmakers passed 28 study bills during the session that will require committees to research and publish reports.

For example, the Law and Justice Interim Committee will study criminal justice data, the Energy and Telecommunications Interim Committee will study the state’s electric grid capacity and the Revenue Interim Committee will study residential property taxes.

During Monday’s meeting, Susan Fox, director of the Legislative Services Division, told lawmakers the Division was busy last session.

“On paper, one would never know that there was a pandemic."

Fox says she estimates 724 bills will become law, which is 90 more than those passed during the 2019 session.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.