Big Sky Roundup

Montana Legislature tweaks upcoming deadlines citing large number of bills

By: - April 5, 2023 6:12 pm

The grand staircase in the Montana Capitol in Helena (Photo by Darrell Ehrlick of the Daily Montanan).

The Montana Legislature on Wednesday moved several upcoming deadlines in the final third of the 2023 session, citing a large number of bills still in process.

“As you know, we are experiencing a voluminous number of bills this session, so we’re going to move a few transmittal deadlines to help us process the bills,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick R-Great Falls.

Tuesday was the transmittal deadline for appropriations, revenue and constitutional amendment proposal bills – the 67th day of the session.

There are upcoming transmittal deadlines for general bills to be amended; for amendments to appropriations, revenue and referendum bills; for amendments to the revenue estimate to be used for the state’s biennium budget; and for interim study resolutions.

Both chambers moved three of those deadlines back on Wednesday and one ahead a day. Barring further calendar changes, the new deadlines are:

  • Transmittal of amendments to general bills moved from Day 73 (April 13) to Day 76 (April 17)
  • Transmittal of amendments to appropriation, revenue, and referendum bills moved from Day 80 (April 21) to Day 82 (April 24)
  • Transmittal of amendments to revenue estimating joint resolution moved from Day 82 (April 24) to Day 83 (April 25)
  • Transmittal of interim study resolutions moved from Day 85 (April 27) to Day 84 (April 26)

There have been 1,640 bills, joint resolutions and resolutions introduced so far this session, including 970 House bills and 566 Senate bills. That is compared to 1,313 total bills in 2021, 1,309 in 2019, and 1,188 in 2017.

The total number of introduced bills this session is the most in any session dating back to 1999, according to the Montana Legislative Branch.

The only regular session that came close was when 1,526 bills were introduced in the 2007 session, when Republicans held a one-seat 50-49-1 House majority (Rep. Rick Jore of Ronan was a member of the Constitution Party) and Democrats had a two-seat 26-24 majority in the Senate.

Should the legislature use all 90 days of the session and not make further changes to the calendar, the last day of the session would be Thursday, May 4.

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Blair Miller
Blair Miller

Blair Miller is a reporter based in Helena who primarily covers government, climate and courts. He's been a journalist for more than 12 years, previously based in Denver, Albuquerque and mid-Missouri.