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Three proposals for Montana legislative special session fall short

Montana State Capitol
Posted at 1:49 PM, Jun 10, 2024

HELENA — Three separate requests to hold a special session of the Montana Legislature at the end of June have all fallen short.

The Montana Secretary of State’s Office reported Monday that none of the proposals received the required 76 votes – a majority of the 150 lawmakers.

The Secretary of State has to poll the Legislature by mail on whether they want to hold a special session, whenever at least ten lawmakers request it. Because the office received three requests close together in early May, they mailed all the polls together, and all of the ballots were due back last Friday. They all called for a special session to be held on June 24.

All three requests came from Republicans, and all the lawmakers who supported them were Republicans.

The request that received the most votes – 59 – was led by House Speaker Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalispell. It called for a special session to consider state-level action to “regulate illegal alien entry into Montana,” as well as distribution of revenue from marijuana taxes.

A request from the Montana Freedom Caucus and its chair Sen. Theresa Manzella, R-Hamilton, called for proposing an amendment to the Montana Constitution, to require a resident to provide “documentary proof of citizenship” in order to vote. It received 52 votes.

The third request, from Rep. Jane Gillette, R-Gallatin County, asked for a special session to consider a bill that would allow judicial candidates to run with political party labels – starting with the elections being held this year. It received 50 votes.

47 Republican lawmakers voted in favor of all three proposals, 18 opposed all three and 23 returned all their ballots unvoted or didn’t return them. The remaining 14 voted differently on at least one of the proposals.

35 legislative Democrats voted no on all three, and the remaining 13 didn’t vote on any of them.