Lawmakers prepare for last 30 days of legislative session

HELENA -- Montana's legislative session is now two-thirds of the way complete. 

Laws have been signed already this session by the Governor to enact new gun regulations for the state and protect small businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

The biggest hot-button issues of the session so far have revolved around abortion, transgender student-athletes, and setting the budget for the next two years. They are also working to decide how to spend about $900M allocated by the federal government, which sets itself up as the biggest deal for Montanans heading into the home stretch of the session.

"In a time where our economy is struggling and folks around the state have been out of work, this is a real chance to put people back to work and help them learn new careers," Rep. Emma Kerr-Carpenter (D-Billings) said.

Lawmakers are also working to sort out the state's rollout for marijuana legalization and changing the rules for how Montanans vote in upcoming elections. Speaking of voting rights, earlier today the House debated on a bill that would make voting more accessible on tribal lands.

"And the good-faith effort between the tribes and the county to provide this satellite office has been working,” Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D-Crow Agency) said. “It’s been bumpy at first, but we've been able to smooth out things as long as there is communication."

That bill passed on a 53-47 vote. There are bills in place that include ending same-day voter registration and tightening voter ID requirements, as well as altering polling place hour requirements across the treasure state.

As of now, the session is slated to end on May 11, but lawmakers reserve the right to change the schedule if they wish to.


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