Posted on

Legislative Roundup Week 1


First week of 68th Legislative Session Sees Legislators Sworn in, Plans to Lower Costs of Inmate Communication, and Update Livestock Laws.

By Caven Wade

UM Legislative News Service U of M School of Journalism

Lawmakers Take Oath, Elect Leadership

The 68th Montana Legislative Session kicked off on Monday, Jan. 2, in Helena. Senators and Representatives took an oath to uphold the constitution and were sworn in during simultaneous ceremonies in their respective chambers at the state Capitol.

Republicans hold a socalled “super majority” with 68 of the possible 100 seats in the House and 34 of the 50 Senate seats.

Republican Representatives chose Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalispell, to be the Speaker of the House for the session.

“I do not want us to shy away from debate. That is the one job we were sent here to do: To speak for your 10,000plus constituents,” Regier told the House the first day. “The bills that pass through this chamber will inevitably affect some of us as well as many Montanans across this great state.”

Republican Senators selected Sen. Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, to be the President of the Senate, along with Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls, as the Senate Majority Leader.

Democrats selected Sen. Pat Flowers, D-Belgrade, as the Senate Minority Leader. Rep. Kim Abbott, D-Helena, will retain her position from 2021 as House Minority Leader.

“Speaking on behalf of my caucus, we represent over 300,000 Montanans, and we’re here to come into the building and get to work every day to support our constituents,” Abbott told House membe...