Happy Birthday to us! This week’s blog marks the beginning of our second year in the blogosphere.
Today also marks Day 23 of the 63rd Session of the Montana Legislature. As of today, 633 bills have been introduced. Eight-two of those have been tabled, 92 have been transferred, 6 (in addition to the “feed bill”) have been passed by the legislature. 1131 additional bills are in some stage of the drafting process and could still be introduced.
The Montana Legislature meets biannually for 90 days and over the next 77 days you can follow along with the work they do. The Montana Legislature’s website allows you to follow bills, contact legislators, see what other events are going on at the Capitiol, even watch or listen to committee meetings and floor debate.
Curious to see what the legislature is considering this session or want to follow a specific bill? Through the LAWS database you can read bills, check their status, and link to recordings of hearings. To see a list of all bills, click on the “List All Introduced or Unintroduced Bills” link. Search options include bill number, drafting number, subject, and keyword. Information available for each bill includes bill text, committee and hearing information, current bill status, and links to audio and video recordings of committee hearings.
TVMT provides cable-television coverage of both floor sessions and committee meetings. TVMT is carried across Montana; for the list of cable channels, check the TVMT page on the Legislatures’ website. In addition to broadcast coverage of legislative activity, the Legislature also provides specific coverage of individual committee meetings and floor sessions that allows you to watch or listen to the debate on bills you are interested in over the Internet. Recordings are archived so you can watch when you have time.
Make sure your voice is heard this legislative session by contacting your elected representatives. The Contacting Legislators page provides information for phoning, faxing and mailing legislators, as well as an online message form you can use to send a message to individual legislators or the members of one or more committees.
The Montana Legislature meets only every-other-year for 90 days. The work they do affects every Montana citizen and it is important that we all participate. The Legislature’s website is a great place to start. Enjoy the 63rd Session of the Montana Legislature!