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Override Poll For Gianforte’s Veto Bill Fails


After Republicans’ threat not to participate, 68 lawmakers don’t return their ballot BY: BLAIR MILLER - Daily Montanan

Nearly a year after Gov. Greg Gianforte vetoed a widely supported, bipartisan bill to redistribute Montana’s marijuana revenue and send millions to fund county road projects just as the Senate adjourned for the session, the veto will stand.

Lawmakers failed to override the veto of Senate Bill 442, according to polling results released Friday by the Secretary of State’s Office. Just 24 senators and 41 representatives voted in favor of overriding the veto, which needed the support of two-thirds of both chambers in order to pass, and 68 lawmakers did not cast a ballot.

Though the bill received approval from 130 of 150 lawmakers in the legislature, led by a Republican supermajority, upon its final passage last May, the result was not unexpected, as most Republicans revolted in March and said they would not participate in the poll because leadership believes the Montana Supreme Court wrongfully stepped in and ordered the poll to be conducted.

The Secretary of State’s Office said Friday it received ballot packets back in which lawmakers said they refused to participate, while other packets were not claimed by lawmakers at all.

Sen. Mike Lang, R-Malta, hugs lawmakers of both parties who came to a press conference on April 1, 2023, to show their support for his Senate Bill 442.

But the result marks a disappointment for Sen. Mike Lang, R-Malta, who is retiring, and for counties and conservation groups who had helped craft the bill, draw widespread support across various industries in Montana, and then successfully challenged Gianforte’s veto of the measure in court to force the override poll.

The group — the Montana Association of Counties, Wild Montana, and the Montana Wildlife Federation — said after the results came down Friday that they would bri...