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Senate backs annual Legislature referendum

 


Senate backs annual Legislature referendum

STEPHEN DOCKERY, Associated Press

HELENA — The Senate is backing a constitutional referendum to have the Montana Legislature meet every year, rather than every other year.

The measure calls for voters to decide if lawmakers should continue meeting for 90 days every other year or for 80 days spread over two annual sessions.

Supporters say the annual meetings would make the Legislature more efficient and more open to the public.

Those opposing the measure say annual sessions would expand the role of government, which they say Montanans do not want.

The proposal received 33 votes in the Senate Monday. The measure needs another 67 votes from the House to pass, but it may be a doable task given the bills bipartisan support from the majority and minority leadership in both chambers.

HELENA — The Senate is backing a constitutional referendum to have the Montana Legislature meet every year, rather than every other year.

The measure calls for voters to decide if lawmakers should continue meeting for 90 days every other year or for 80 days spread over two annual sessions.

Supporters say the annual meetings would make the Legislature more efficient and more open to the public.

Those opposing the measure say annual sessions would expand the role of government, which they say Montanans do not want.

The proposal received 33 votes in the Senate Monday. The measure needs another 67 votes from the House to pass, but it may be a doable task given the bills bipartisan support from the majority and minority leadership in both chambers.

Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, voted for the measure. Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, voted no.

 

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