3 0864 1004 3877 2
Persons associated with the Montana Advisory Council on Children and Youth (MACCY)
work to help bring about a quality life for Montana children and youth.
In the process, it became evident that many Montanans need help to overcome their "awe
and apathy barriers" and to develop their potential for Involvement. Then they can work
constructively with such decision-makers as: school board members, town and city councils,
county commissioners, state legislators and officials in local, state and national agencies
Therefore, through the help of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, this
publication has been prepared for you by . . .
Opal Winebrenner, Member
Montana Advisory Council on
Children and Youth (MACCY)
Gerry Fenn, Community Planning Coordinator,
Children and Youth Programs
MACCY member, Robin Evans, invented the logo and designed the cover photo for this
Information provided is based upon work done by MACCY members. Opal Winebrenner
and Jerry Dalton, who have monitored the Montana Legislature on children and youth issues.
Ideas also came from MACCY persons who participated in educational visits and action
during the 1972 Montana Constitutional Convention and during several sessions of the Mon-
Several other persons in MACCY and in government have generously and carefully reviewed
the material so it would be as helpful and accurate as possible. Since procedures change
rapidly, please make constant inquiries and pass the information along.
Anyone wishing to reproduce all or part of this material is welcome to do so if credit is
given to the Montana Advisory Council on Children and Youth. Additional copies are available
from the . . .
Children and Youth Unit
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND REHABILITATION SERVICES
P.O. Box 1723
Helena, Montana 59601
This handbook was published in November, 1973.
table of contents
Are We Kept Uninformed? 3
The Basics 5
Contacting Your Legislator 6
Means of Communication 8
By Telephone 9
Buttonholing: An Opportunity to Speak
Your Piece In Person 10
Legislative Leadership 11
Presiding Officers 11
Senate Leadership 11
House of Representatives Leadership 11
The Committee System 12
The Committee Hearing 12
Who Can Lobby? 16
Methods of Voting 17
Pairing of Votes 17
What Can I Do? 18
How a Bill Becomes Law 22
Sources of Information 25
The function of leadership is to structure issues so that people may under-
stand them — then decide.
'Knowledge is power. In every aspect of life, from the simplest to the most
complex, those who possess information can share it — and therefore
share power — or they can hoard information and thereby limit the
exercise of power and decision-making to themselves . . .
'In voluntary organizations, schools and communities, the need has never
been greater for leaders who are willing to accept their responsibility
to clarify the issues and to let those most affected share in determining
what to do about them ... A concomitant responsibility falls upon
the citizens — or members — to try to understand and to make wise
'The quickest way to exclude people, be they members or citizens, from
decision-making and power is to keep them uninformed. And the quick-
est way for citizens or members to exclude themselves is to neglect
the information and opportunities which are theirs."
Alice L. Beeman. General Director
erican Association of University Women
The elections are over and another Legislative Assembly has begun, and
here you are at the State Capitol. Scores of people are milling about,
there are numerous groups engaged in small talk. National Guardsmen, indi-
viduals loaded with reams of papers, citizens, students, lobbyists —
il— r all confusion to the first-time visitor.
Too often individuals who visit the Legislature and decide to
spend the day will sit in the balcony galleries
wondering what is going on, and pompously decide
the legislators must not be doing a thing as they
sit with their feet on a desk, stuffing down a
hamburger and reading a newspaper seemingly oblivious to their
surroundings. Full of misconceptions and with little understanding of
the process, these people return home disgusted at how their tax money is being spent.
This Legislative Handbook addresses itself to the need to provide basic information on
Montana's legislative process so that individual citizens can take a positive and active role
in the legislative process of their State. The 1972 Montana Constitution was framed with
the goal in mind that citizens of our State must be given the opportunity to play an active
and decisive role in determining the course toward which our State will head.
Montanans must now make a concerted effort to realize our individual potential by contribut-
ing in various ways our opinions and views to affect the legislative process, and in turn
the whole governmental system.
Individual citizens can make an impression on our State — the opportunities are there
— we need only take advantage of them. It's our responsibility, and if we fail to take it,
then we will not have any right to criticize the results of our apathy.
IS commonly said that in a democracy,
decisions are made by a majority of the people
It is not true.
Decisions are made by the majority of those
who make themselves heard . . .
a very different thing."
1948 AAUW JOURNAL
The Senate and House of Representatives Chambers
are located on the third floor of the Capitol Building
and are connected by a lobby containing two black-
boards, one for each house. The blackboards are used
to post committee hearing schedules. The hearings
and meetings are listed under the appropriate commit-
tee headings, in addition to the bills to be considered and the time and location for the
In 1973 to find out which bills would be considered by each house during the day's business
session, you could request a copy of the Daily Agenda from the respective Sergeant-at-Arms
Offices located near each chamber. In current efforts to reorganize and centralize related
functions under specific offices, this Daily Agenda will be available from the Secretary
of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House. If none are available, you will have to consult
the bill boards located inside the two chambers and easily viewed from the balcony areas
on the fourth floor. Information as to the subject matter of bills being considered may
be obtained from the Secretary of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House.
In the House of Representatives, the bills to be considered are listed under the voting
machines located to the left and right of the Speaker of the House's rostrum. You will
also find the time that the House will convene for the business session posted. Since conven-
ing times can vary from day to day and between houses, it is necessary to check the times
if you wish to observe the opening of a session. In the Senate Chambers, the bills to be
considered will be posted on a large blackboard located near the Secretary of the Senate's
rostrum, along with the convening time.
Copies of any bills you may wish to look over can be purchased in the basement of the
Capitol at the Mail Room for a small fee. It would also be helpful to secure copies of
Status Sheets for both houses, which are published daily and are obtainable at the Mail
Room. Status Sheets contain a list of all the bills introduced with a concise summary of
the essence of each bill, and its status for that day, that is, whether it is in committee,
on second reading, being engrossed, and so forth.
You have free access to the balcony seating areas located on the fourth floor, from which
to observe the business proceedings and other activities of both houses. You will be requested
not to take camera shots of the Legislature in session if your camera uses flashbulbs as
this disturbs the legislators on the floor. It is permissible to eat and drink in this area,
but there is to be no smoking.
If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask someone — pages, guides, legislators,
the Information Desk, the Sergeant-at-Arms Offices — everyone is willing to help.
The most crucial and effective time to contact your
legislator(s) is before he or she is even elected to office.
Legislative candidates are more inclined to listen to
you and discuss their feelings on issues before elections
because of their desire to get out among the people to
secure support, and get a general concensus of what the
public is thinking and where their priorities are.
Such discussion will give you, the voter, a much broader and informed basis to choose
whom you'll support on election day, and there is also the possibility that one of your
concerns may become proposed legislation sponsored by your representative.
Contacting legislators at home before they are elected, after elected, before and after the
legislative sessions, will give both of you a more relaxed atmosphere to talk over issues.
While at the Legislature, most legislators have only a few minutes to talk to their constituents,
and both parties will be annoyed by the inevitable interruptions. This is not to say that
you should not contact your legislators during the legislative session. But only to serve
as a reminder that if you have a particular concern that you would like to see action taken
on, take the initial steps before the legislative session begins. Research and writing proposed
legislation takes time, so to insure a good bill with the best possibilities of passing into
law, action needs to be started before the sessions.
Contacting legislators before the legislative session will also give you an opportunity to
interview them on their feelings on specific issues and keep track of their responses. During
the legislative session, you will find such data very useful in showing the individual legislator
what he said a few weeks ago, compared to the action he is now taking in regard to a
Seating charts of both chambers will be available from the Information Desk located in
the Capitol Rotunda or by requesting one from the Sergeant-at-Arms offices near the two
chambers. If you arrive before the houses convene for business, you are free to enter
the two chambers and by utilizing your seating chart, you can locate your individual represen-
tative or senator. If someone is guarding the chamber entrances, it is advisable to ask
permission before entering.
One hour before the houses convene for the day's business session,
a sign will be posted at the entrances stating, "One Hour Rule
in Effect." This means that no one except legislators and authorized
persons are allowed free access to the chamber floors. The reason-
ing behind this rule is to allow legislators some time before conven-
ing to organize and prepare for the business session without being
interrupted by lobbyists and others.
If you wish to see your legislator while this rule is in effect or when the houses are in
session, write a note including your name and hometown, and briefly state your reason
for seeing the legislator. Pages, who are identifiable by their name badges, are usually
easy to find and you may request one to take your note into the chamber for your legislator.
If you should be unable to locate a page, go to the respective Sergeant-at-Arms Office
and ask for one to take your note in.
Your legislator will either come out to speak with you, write a return note, or request that
you be allowed onto the chamber floor. Unless you are escorted by a page or a legislator,
you will be requested to leave the floor.
If your legislator in the House of Representatives desires, he may ask you to remain on
the floor with him, either sitting next to him at his desk or in a seat along the sides of
the chamber. The Senate usually does not allow this, but as rules may vary from session
to session one should always ask. An opportunity to sit on the floor during a session should
be taken, as it allows you a chance to observe how business is carried out on a first-hand
basis with your legislator close by to answer your questions. If you do not receive the
opportunity to sit on the floor, you can observe all business proceedings of both houses
from the balcony seating areas located on the fourth floor.
For a half an hour after a house has adjourned its business session for the day, again
no one but the legislators and authorized personnel are allowed on the chamber floors.
At Home In Helena
If you should wish to contact your legislator at his Helena home address, a list of addresses
and phone numbers can be obtained by requesting a copy of the Montana Directory published
with the compliments of the Mountain Bell Company. Check at the Information Desk to
find out how these copies can be obtained.
means of communication.
Letters are an excellent and inexpensive method through which to contact
your legislator and let him know your feelings and opinions about
specific legislation and issues. Legislators do read their mail and need the input of individual
citizens to guarantee that the resulting legislation will be that which the people want.
Knowing when to write, whom to write and what to say are the most important factors
in effective letter-writing.
Some important points to remember are:
A. The Proper Address
1. Address your envelope: Senator (or Representative)
Helena, Montana 59601
2. Address your letter: The Honorable-
Senate Chambers (or House of Representatives)
Who To Write
1. First write to the Chief Sponsor of the particular bill you are interested in,
2. Then, send letters to the Committee Chairman and all the members of the Commit-
tee that will be studying the bill,
3. Lastly, write your own legislators.
When To Write
1. Write the Chief Sponsor, the Committee chairman and Committee members
before the Committee hearing on the bill takes place.
2. Write your own legislator before the bill reaches the Floor on Second Reading.
Most debate on a bill will occur on Second Reading, and usually if a bill passes
Second Reading it will also pass third reading.
What To Say
1 . Write your letter as an individual.
2. Identify the bill with which you are concerned by number and title.
3. Give the Chief Sponsor's name and the general essence of the bill.
4. Indicate your position on the bill, stating briefly your reasons for asking his
support or opposition on the measure.
5. Offer documented information for your case.
6. Request his consideration of your views.
7. Include your name, title or position and return address.
Form letters, duplicated letters and one letter with many people signing their names
will receive little or no consideration. If you care enough about the issue, you
should write your own letter.
Be courteous and gracious, and remember to thank your legislator for taking time
to read your letter.
For a fast and concise method to get your opinions known, send telegrams.
Use essentially the same pointers as suggested for letter-writing, only be more
brief and to the point.
In 1973 to telephone your legislator while he was at the Capitol, you could call the Legislative
Operator and request to speak to your representative. A page was sent out from the Operator's
Office to see if your legislator was in the chamber, or available to come to the phone.
If he was not able to come to the phone or could not be found, you could leave a message
that would be delivered to his desk by a page. As it was very easy for these messages
to become misplaced, it was a good idea to try to call again later, if you urgently needed
to reach him.
Under consideration is a procedure whereby legislators will be reached by message only,
unless an emergency exists. Plans include installation of more private WATS lines for legis-
lator's use. This will make it more convenient to return calls.
The best way to phone your legislator is to make a "person-to-person" call to the particular
representative you wish to speak to. This type of call is not charged to you unless you
speak directly to the person you requested. If your legislator cannot be contacted, you
are allowed to leave a message for him and will not be charged for the call.
It is also possible to call the appropriate Committee meeting room, if you know that your
legislator will be present there during a committee hearing or meeting. Many times if a
committee meeting is being held, you will be requested to call back, as it is usual practice
not to disturb or interrupt a meeting. However, if you leave a message at a committee
room, you have a much better chance of it reaching your legislator. It is more likely that
the legislator will call back immediately after the meeting is completed, using the committee
room phone. If the call is very urgent or an emergency, your call will be allowed through
Even if the committee is not in session, you can call the committee room of the committee
that you know your legislator is a member of and leave a message with that committee's
secretary. She will then give the message to him when he comes to attend a meeting.
It is important to realize that legislative phone numbers are subject to change from session
to session, as the phones are removed after a Legislative Assembly adjourns. If you wish
to call a particular committee room, for instance, it will be advisable to contact the Legislative
Operator first and request the correct phone number.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
1. Do your homework. Be as fully info
rmed about the bill
2. Know what arguments the oppositio
3. Anticipate questions.
YOU ARE AT THE CAPITOL:
Do not interrupt if the
Legislator is talking with someone else —
— no matter m
how anxious you are
talk with him.
SMILE!! Introduce yo
jrself and tell him where you are from.
State your reason for
engaging him in conversation.
If the Legislator asks
the answer to him.
a question you cannot answer, assure hi
you will get
Have written material
but don't push.
concerning your position available. Offer
t if he
Respect his view. His convictions may be as strong as yours.
THANK him for speaking with you.
For each Legislative Assembly, the Democratic and Republican legislative party caucuses
meet to choose leadership officers for the coming term. In both the Senate and the House
of Representatives, which ever political party elects the most members to a certain house
becomes the majority party of that house.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have a Majority Leader and a Majority
Whip, who are chosen by members of the majority party caucus in the respective house.
The Majority Leader, essentially an administrative official, is responsible for planning and
controlling the order of business to be considered by the house. This is carried out from
a party-oriented point of view. The Majority Whip assists the Majority Leader as needed,
and is responsible for securing the attendance of the party members for important legislative
votes and informs the members of the wishes of the party leadership.
Both houses also have a Minority Leader and a Minority Whip, chosen by the minority
party caucus, who carry out essentially the same tasks as the majority leadership with
the exception that they do not possess either the power or the influence of the majority.
President of the Senate
President Pro Tem
House of Representatives Leadership ■
Speaker of the House I
Speaker Pro Tem ■
Majority Leader m
Majority Whip m
Minority Leader H
Minority Whip _^^^^^^^^^^B
In the Senate, the President presides over the Senate proceedings with the President Pro
Tem, serving in his absence. In the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House
and the Speaker Pro Tem are the presiding officials. All four officers are chosen from
the membership of their respective houses by the majority caucus.
The presiding officers have numerous responsibilities including such areas as: to interpret
and apply rules when there is a question of proper procedure, to refer introduced bills
to standing committees for study and action, and to name members to any special committees.
(Note: New functions and responsibilities are being considered for these presiding officers.
Check on it.)
Presiding officers can be powerful and influential individuals depending on their personality
and the amount of respect they can command from their respective house memberships.
To the observer of a legislative business session,
it often appears that the legislators are obliv-
ious to their surroundings only coming to life when
required to vote. It is very easy to be filled with
misconceptions concerning the Legislature by only
attending a business session.
The majority of legislative work is carried out
through the Committee System, as becomes very
apparent by attending committee hearings and meetings.
There are four basic types of committees:
A. Standing Committees: permanent groups that continue from one session of the
Legislature to another.
B. Select Committees: consist of a special or temporary group created for a particular
C. Joint Committees: consist of committees composed of members drawn from both
the House of Representatives and the Senate.
D. Conference Committees: special committees generally composed of a part of
the membership of a House committee and a part of the membership of its
counterpart committee in the Senate which meets for the particular purpose of
settling differences in a bill passed by one of the houses and amended by the
other house. The purpose of this conference is to iron out differences and reach
a common bill acceptable to both the Senate and the House.
Each standing committee is assigned jurisdiction over specified subjects of legislation.
For example, the Education Committee will have jurisdiction over all bills introduced related
to education such as curriculum and teacher certification.
Every legislator is a member of at least two committees with some members serving on
more. Each committee has a chairman, usually of the majority party, who presides over
the meetings and hearings. A vice-chairman is named who presides in the absence of the
Under the 1972 Montana Constitution, all Montana citizens have the right to attend any
committee meeting or hearing. This opens up the legislative process, allowing the citizenry
to keep tabs on the legislators and the Legislature.
The Committee Hearing
To aid in clarifying the procedure of a committee hearing, it will be helpful to go through
the process with a hypothetical example. "The bill to be considered is House Bill 2189
(HB-2189) which would lessen the number of compulsory hours in a school day. The bill
has been introduced in the House of Representatives and assigned to the Education Standing
Committee for further study and recommendations.
The Education Standing Committeeof the House of Representatives has called a committee
hearing for Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. The Committee Room is set up with a long table in the
middle of the room around which the members of the Committee will sit. The chairman,
vice-chairman and the secretary are usually seated together at one end of the table. Some
chairs are provided around the sides of the room for the use of testifiers and observers.
On the table for each Committee member is a booklet containing various information
and copies of the bills that are to be considered by the Committee.
"Before the meeting is brought to order, all those people who wish to testify will sign
in with the Committee secretary. The Committee secretary supplies the testifiers with a
paper on which they fill in their name, whom they represent, which bill(s) they are interested
in and whether they are "for" or "against" the bill. If a testifier is presenting written testimony,
it may be attached to or written on this sheet. These sheets are returned to the secretary
who puts them in order as to bill number and those in support and those in opposition.
"The Committee chairman calls the meeting to order, the secre-
tary calls the roll and the official business begins. The bills
to be discussed are usually taken in the order they were
posted on the Committee Hearing-Meeting Schedule Board.
The Committee chairman can, however, alter this sequence.
Due to this possibility it is always essential to be present
at the beginning of the meeting or hearing even though your
bill is at the bottom of the list of those to be considered.
"The first bill on the agenda, House Bill (HB) 2189, would lessen the number of compulsory
hours in a school day. The Sponsor of the bill is called upon to introduce his bill with
a concise summary of its contents and intent.
"Next the proponents or supporters of the bill are asked to present their testimony, and
after them come the opponents or non-supporters who present their testimony against
the bill. When all the testimony is completed, the Sponsor of the bill is allowed a short
time to present rebuttal to any of the opponents' testimony and clarify any points. The
Committee chairman now allows the Committee members to ask questions of the Sponsor
and the testifiers."
After the questioning is completed, the Committee may decide: -^^^^^
A. To take action on the Bill immediately giving it a "Do Pass" or a "Do Not Pass '
recommendation, thus putting it out of Committee so that it may be considered
by the Committee of the Whole on Second Reading.
B. To amend the bill.
C. May postpone any action until a later date.
May call for future study with action to be taken at a later date utilizing any new
E. May continue with the bills remaining to be heard.
When all the bills are heard or time runs out, the Committee may move to adjourn until
the next regularly scheduled meeting, or may move to meet again before the next regular
meeting, or may dissolve itself into executive session.
The executive session of a Committee meeting is the time for the Committee to conduct
more private business than is dealt with in a committee hearing. It is during the executive
session that the committee members can have a more informal discussion of the bills being
considered, can take final action on bills, and do whatever is needed to keep the Committee
and its responsibilities in order. Under the 1972 Montana Constitution, Article V, Section
10(3) all sessions of the Legislature, of the Committee of the Whole, all Committee meetings,
and all hearings are open to the public. Therefore executive sessions are open to the public
It is essential to the understanding of the Committee system
_l_ -^* j,^_^^__ to realize how powerful the Committee Chairman can be. By
CnOll IllCiri being able to determine the sequence of the bills
to be considered, the date on which they will be considered,
how much time will be granted for testimony, the sequence of the testifiers and so on,
he can sway the Committee opinion one way or the other.
As the house usually concurs with the Committee's recommendation on a certain piece
of legislation, it is easy to see that the fate of many bills is determined in the Committee
meeting. This is why much of the voting that takes place during the houses' business sessions
appears to the observer as slap-dash. Most of the legislators through their Committee work,
recommendations from other Committees and so on have already made their decisions
before coming to the business session. Most need only press their voting buttons "aye"
Presenting testimony is an essential method to bring facts, opin-
ions, views and statistics directly to the legislators. Testimony aids
the legislative process by one, providing information on certain
areas that legislators rarely have the time to research on their own;
and two, keeping legislators aware of the public's feelings on cer-
Anyone can give testimony and it need not be a "scary" experience.
To eliminate any fears and become more comfortable in the commit-
tee hearing process and environment, it is advisable to observe
others testifying in various committee hearings and see first-hand how it is done.
To be an effective testifier, it is of utmost importance to remember to be brief and concise
in your statement. Nothing tunes out legislators more quickly than a long, boring and repetiti-
Testimony may be presented in a variety of methods. Written testimony can be presented
to a Committee for their consideration with copies provided for each member of the Commit-
tee in addition to one for the Committee secretary to keep on file. Such testimony may
be presented to the Committee by hand or if you are at home and cannot be present, it
can be mailed to the Committee. It is also possible to present written testimony, and then
read through it with the Committee or give a brief summary of the material contained within
when giving out the copies to the Committee at a hearing.
Spoken testimony is another method and it is permissible to write out your testimony and
read it to the Committee, or to speak with the aid of notes. It will be up to you to use
the method that you feel the most comfortable with.
If when presenting testimony, you would like to use visual aids by all means do so if it
will make your presentation more effective and understandable. On some occasions films,
slides and even field trips have been allowed. It will be necessary to make arrangements
with the Committee chairman if films and so on are to be shown or field trips planned,
as it will be his decision as to whether the Committee can afford the time that would be
Always when presenting testimony, whether written or oral, REMEMBER: ^l^^l
1 1. State your name, where you are from and whom you represent at the beginning.
} 2. State the number of the bill and its sponsor.
\ 3. Be concise and to the point on why you support or oppose the legislation.
- 4. If speaking, speak so all the Committee members can hear you and speak at a
f moderate pace.
I 5. If you use statistics or any special data, be sure you can document your sources
f of information for the Committee.
6. When completed, thank the Committee for listening and offer to answer any questions
! concerning your testimony.
Lobbying is an integral element of the legislative process,
playing an important role in our State governmental system.
Essentially lobbying is a method which people with special
concerns, needs, views and opinions use to persuade public officials, especially legislators,
to support policies, measures and legislation that will benefit their individual interests the
By providing information about certain areas, problems, issues, the feasibility of proposed
solutions and most importantly how the legislator's constituents are reacting, the lobbyist
can provide vital information that the individual legislator rarely has time to research on
his own. Through testimony given in Committee hearings, the lobbyist broadens both his
basis for dispersing information and the number of people he reaches to make aware of
Lobbying is a legitimate function with the stigma surrounding the label "lobbyist " mainly
based on instances where individual lobbyists have proven to be less than ethical in their
means of persuasion. 'Wining and dining, " giving false and overly biased data, threatening
to work against a particular legislator at re-election time are a few of the methods that
have not served to improve the image of the "lobbyist. "
Aside from such maneuverings, however, lobbyists do provide essential services for the
legislative process, and remind the legislators of what the public is thinking and what type
of legislation the public wants.
Who Can Lobby?
Any citizen has the right to lobby professionally who is of adult age (in Montana the legal
age is 18 years), of good moral character and a citizen of the United States. This does
not bar other citizens, including high-school-age persons, from testifying and making their
views known to legislators.
A person wishing to register as a lobbyist must fill out an application form for a license
obtained from the Secretary of State's Office. A license is issued upon acceptance of the
application and the payment of the $10.00 license fee.
Under the Lobbyist Registration and Licensing Law, it is important to note these sections:
phrases shall have the
to them :
The following words and
neaning: respectively ascribed
CI) Lobbying. The practice of promoting or op-
posing the introduction or enactment of legislation
before the legislature or the members thereof by any
person other than a member of the legislature or a
public official acting in his official capacity.
(2) Lobbyist. Any person who engages in the
practice of lobbying for hire e.Kcept in the manner au-
thorized by section 4,3-807. Lobbying for hire shall
include activities of any officers, agents, attorneys or
employees of any principal who are paid a regular
salary or retained by such principal and whose duties
include lobbying. When a person is only reimbursed
for his personal living and travel expenses, he shall
not be considered to be lobbying for hire. Nothing
in this section shall be construed to deprive any citizen
not lobbying for hire of his constitutional right to
communicate with members of the legislature.
43-807. Persons not required to be licensed or reg-
istered. Any person who limits his lobbying solely
to appearances before legislative committees of either
house and registers his appearance on the records of
such committee in writing, shall not be required to
be licensed as a lobbyist, pay a license fee, or register
with the secretary of state.
To many of the observers of the Legislature, the voting process
is confusing and complicated. Both the House of Representatives
and the Senate have lighted automatic tabulation voting machines
that are visible to legislators and observers. The membership of
the respective house is listed alphabetically on the voting board,
so that it is possible to view how each individual has voted. A
green light means an "aye" or yes vote, and a red light means — "\/Qx\ /
a "no" vote on a certain piece of legislation. I'^A^ /\^
When a bill is brought before the Committee of the Whole for a /''^f A
vote on Second Reading, the bill number is lighted above the voting
machine, for example, HB-234. If the bill number is followed by an "A", this means that
the vote is on an amendment to the bill and will be lighted as HB-234 A. All amendments
to a bill must be voted on before the final vote on the bill in question. This explains why
at times it seems that the legislators are voting and voting on the same bill without passing
or rejecting it. The final vote on a bill such as HB-234 will include only those amendments
which received a majority of votes and thus become a part of the bill.
A vote on Third Reading is only on the final version of the bill, as adopted by the Committee
of the Whole.
Methods of Voting
The following are the basic voting methods used by the Legislature:
A. Voice Vote: the members in turn call out "ayes" and "noes" and the presiding
officer judges which side has prevailed.
B. Division or Rising Vote: Any member who doubts the results of the voice vote
may ask for this vote in which the two groups rise alternately and are counted.
C. Roll Call Vote: is taken on non-substantive questions and the names of the members
shall be called alphabetically unless an electrical voting system is used.
D. Recorded Vote: is taken on substantive questions, and the membership are recorded
by name as voting "aye" or "no."
Pairing of Votes
Pairing of votes is a rather complicated procedure that basically provides a method for
absent members to vote on legislation. When a member of the Legislature knows ahead
of time that he is going to be absent from a business session of his respective house,
and he still wishes to have his vote on certain legislation taken, he pairs votes.
Before leaving, the legislator goes to the proper official which is usually the Majority or
Minority Leader, depending upon party affiliation. The pair is filed with the Secretary of
the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House at the time of the vote. This official supplies
him with the necessary forms to be filled out. He then fills out the form with his name,
the legislation he wishes to vote on and his vote, either "aye" or "no".
For example. Senator Smith wishes to vote "no" on SB-449. After filling out his pair vote
form, he must find a member of his house, the Senate, who will be present during the
session in question. The legislative member that will be present must want to vote opposite
Senator Smith. Senator Smith finds that Senator Jones will be willing to pair vote, and
will be voting "aye" on SB-449. Senator Jones now fills in the same form stating he will
vote "aye" on SB-449 and signs his name. The forms are turned back in to the Secretary
of the Senate. LIBRARY
MONTANA COLLEGE ui-
MINERAL SCIENCE AND TEGHNOLUUY
The following day Senator Smith must return to his hometown to attend a funeral, and
it is this day that SB-449 is to be considered by the Senate. When the final vote on SB-449
comes up, before the voting is totaled, the Secretary of the Senate will announce the pair
votes stating, "Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones pair on SB-449 with Smith voting "no" and Jones
voting "aye". After all the pair votes are read, the votes showing on the voting machines
Paired votes do not appear on the voting machines. So even though Senator Jones is
present, he does not push his voting button. The Secretary of the Senate will then announce
the final vote totals, including the pair votes. Thus the announced vote will not coincide
with the total appearing on the voting machine. The same process occurs in the House
of Representatives with the Clerk of the House announcing the pair votes and the final
what can i do?
* Begin to seek out new blood who can bring fresh ideas to the next Legislative
Assembly. It's never too early to begin campaigning.
ir Read the newspapers and check during the interim between sessions on what
* Write letters to the Editor of your local newspapers on various issues. Create
* Check the voting records of your legislators and let them know that you are
aware of how they voted.
* Meet with your legislators when they return home and express your opinions.
By contacting your legislator before the next session, there is a better chance
that some of your ideas may result in proposed legislation.
ir When a Legislative Session begins, request that your newspaper publish commit-
tee hearing schedules.
* Attend committee hearings and meetings — testify when you really want your
if MOST OF ALL, keep tabs on your legislators and what they are doing. Those
not doing their job can only be prevented from returning by you.
"Law Making" follows the basic step-by-step procedure that a bill follows from its introduction
through its passage into law. In this example, the bill originates in the House of Representa-
tives. A bill originating in the Senate would follow the same steps, only with Senate and
House of Representatives reversed.
Introduction of the Bill: A bill is introduced in the House of Rep-
resentatives by one of the members. It may also be initiated by
one of the Legislative Committees.
First Reading of the Bill: The Clerk of the House of Representatives assigns a
number to the bill and reads the number, author and title of the bill before the
Referred to the Appropriate Committee: The presiding officer, the
Speaker of the House of Representatives*, refers the bill to the approp-
riate committee for study and recommendations. Copies of the bill are
reproduced and made available to the legislative members and the pub-
lic. (*ln the Senate, the President.)
Committee Hearing on the Bill: After consideration of the bill, the Committee may
conduct public hearings at which time interested persons have the opportunity
M I' to speak "for" or "against" the proposed legislation. The Committee then submits
a standing committee report. The Committee may recommend one of the following
a. "Recommend bill 'do pass'."
b. "Recommend bill do not pass."
c. "Recommend bill pass as amended'. "
d. "Recommend a substitute bill."
If a favorable committee report is adopted, then the bill is reproduced,
including any amendments and is placed on the calendar to await further
Second Reading: The bill is considered by the entire chamber acting as a "Committee
of the Whole." At this time the bill is considered section by section (merely by
section number), and is debated. Any member may propose Amendments to the
bill. Approval or adoption of the Committee report prepares the bill for final passage.
Rejection of a favorable Committee report means killing the bill. Other action to
kill the bill may take the form of "indefinite postponement."
Engrossment: The bill is rechecked for errors and is put in final form
including all amendments.
Third Reading: The House of Representatives votes on final passage of the bill.
If the bill passes, it is sent to the Senate. If the bill fails to pass, it may be referred
to Committee for further study or may receive no further consideration.
First Reading in the Senate: The bill is referred to the proper
Committee by the President of the Senate*, who is the presiding
officer. (*ln the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the
Committee Hearing and Report: If a favorable Committee report is adopted, the bill is
placed on the Calendar to await further consideration.
r Second Reading: The bill is considered by the entire chamber acting
as a "Committee of the Whole." The bill is debated and can be
Third Reading: The Senate votes on final passage of the bill. If the bill fails
to pass, it may be referred back to Committee or may receive no further
consideration. If the bill passes both houses in identical form, it is Enrolled
(reproduced in final form free from all errors) , signed by the presiding officers
of both houses and sent to the Governor.
If the bill passes the Senate in different form and the House of
Representatives accepts the change(s), then the bill is enrolled,
signed by the presiding officers and sent to the Governor.
If the House of Representatives rejects the changes.
the bill may be sent to a Conference Committee com-
posed of members of both houses.
^^ which tries to iron out differences or reach an acceptable compromise.
If the Conference Committee reaches an agreement,
the Committee report is sent to both
-^2^ houses for their consideration.
If the Conference Committee does not reach an agreement, the bill may receive no further
consideration, or a new Conference Committee may be named.
If both houses accept the compromises, the bill is enrolled, signed
by the presiding officers and sent to the Governor.
The bill becomes a law if the Governor signs within five days after it has reached his office
during the Legislative Session. If the Governor does not sign or veto the bill within the
five days after its delivery to him and the Legislature is in session (25 days if the Legislature
has adjourned), the bill becomes law.
Should the Governor veto the bill, he shall return it to the Legislature with his reasons
for doing so. If two-thirds of the members approve the bill, after it has been vetoed by
the Governor, the bill shall become law.
When the Legislature is not in session and the Governor vetoes a bill, the Governor will
return the bill with his reasons for rejecting it to the Secretary of State. The Secretary
will mail a copy of the veto message to each member of the Legislature. The Legislature
may then reconvene to reconsider any bill so vetoed.
The 1972 Constitution eliminates the Governor's previous power of the "pocket veto." The
"pocket veto" allowed the Governor to kill or veto a bill merely by not signing it within
the prescribed number of days allowed him for such action.
how a bill becomes law
The passage of a bill into law is a complicated proce-
dure and can at times seem to be an endless maze
of alternatives. An educational device, the role play,
can be utilized to explain the bill passage proce-
dure and through visual aids can make it more easily
"How A Bill Becomes Law" follows a House bill
through introduction until its passage into law,
including the role-playing of a committee hear-
ing on the bill. A bill originating in the Senate
would follow the same steps only with Senate and
House of Representatives reversed. This role play does not present all the possible alternatives
that can occur, so for the complete procedure it will be helpful to refer to the section
This role play can be used in the classroom, at meetings, as a demonstration — anywhere
there is confusion as to the law-making procedure that occurs at our Legislature.
A. Scatter the following signs, with strings attached, facedown on the floor throughout
Mr. Speaker (of the House of Representatives)
Clerk (of the House of Representatives)
House of Representatives
House Committee Members
Mr. President (of the Senate)
Senate Committee Members
Lobbyist for the Bill
Lobbyist against the Bill
Testifier for the Bill
Testifier against the Bill
Secretary of State
Participants go to a sign, stand there, pick it up, put the sign around their neck
and stay in the place where the sign was located.
B. Provide these two signs to persons who have been selected ahead of time:
Sponsor of the Bill The Bill
Narrator: Tell those who are "Letters" and "Telephone Calls ' to try to get to the Legislators
throughout the whole process. "Letters" and "Telephone Calls ' can be both for and against
1. "Sponsor (of the Bill), will you take the Bill to the Speaker of the House (of Representa-
Sponsor: "Mr. Speaker, this is an act requiring Montana colleges and universities
to develop procedures to protect a student's right to privacy."
2. "Bill, go to the Clerk (of the House of Representatives).
Clerk: "You are House Bill No. 502 introduced by Representatives Kimble, Tier-
ney, Murphy, Bennetts and Bradley — an act requiring Montana colleges
and universities to develop procedures to protect a student's right to
3. "Bill, go to the House Education Committee where you were assigned by the
4. 'Bill, now you are printed on yellow paper for Second Reading and go to the
House of Representatives fordebate and possible amendment. You passed Second
5. "Bill, you can now go off to be engrossed — that is, printed on blue paper in
final form with amendments. "
6. 'Now, Bill, go back to the House of Representatives for Third Reading. You passed
7. "Sponsor, will you take the Bill to the President of the Senate?"
Sponsor: "Mr. President, this is House Bill No. 502. "
8. "The President of the Senate assigned you to the Senate Judiciary Committee."
THE COMMITTEE HEARING
A. Have an explanation of the essence of House Bill 502, using copies of the "Introduced
B. Give the testifiers "for" and "against," the lobbyists "for" and "against," and the
"Letters ' and "Telephone Calls" a chance to get together to plan their arguments
on the Bill.
C. Conduct a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Provide new signs for
the participants. These signs will include one for each Committee member, a Commit-
tee Secretary, the Committee chairman and the Committee vice-chairman.
Arrange the committee room with a long table in the
middleofthe room with chairs around it for the committee
members to be seated. Provide chairs placed along the
walls of the room for the testifiers, lobbyists and obser-
The person role-playing the chairman will call the com-
mittee meeting to order, and the committee secretary
will call the roll.
1. The chairman asks the "Sponsor ofthe Bill' to address
the committee by introducing his bill with a concise
summary of its essence.
2. The testifiers and lobbyists "for" the Bill will give their
arguments to the committee followed by the testifiers
and lobbyists "against" the Bill.
3. The chairman then asks if the sponsor would like
to close by clarifying any points and giving rebuttal
if he wishes.
4. The chairman now allows the committee members
to ask questions of any testifiers, lobbyists or the Bill's
5. After the questioning, the chairman can ask the com-
mittee to take action on the bill — usually a vote is
taken to determine whether or not the bill should be
given a 'do pass" recommendation.
'6. The Bill receives a "do pass" recommendation after
the committee adds some amendments.
7. The Committee Chairman adjourns the meeting.
For more detailed information on a committee hearing
procedure, refer to the section "The Committee System."
'Bill, you came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with several amendments
which were printed on pink paper. With these amendments, you went to the
Senate for Second Reading and passed . On March 1 st, you passed Third Reading
in the Senate with a vote of 40 to 7.
Bill, now go to the House of Representatives where that body concurred in the
'Bill, will you go to the Speaker of the House to be signed? " (The Speaker of
the House signs the Bill.)
'Now Bill, go to the President of the Senate for signature. " (The President of
the Senate signs the Bill.)
'Next Bill, go to the Governor for his signature. " (After studying the Bill, the Gover-
nor signs it into law.)
'Finally Bill, go to the Secretary of State for filing." (The final copy of the Bill
with its history of passage is kept on file in the Secretary of State's Office.)
sources of information
WHERE TO GET:
A. Copies of Legislative Bills
1. During the Legislative Session: in tlie basement of the Capitol Building at the Mail
Room for a small fee.
2. After a Legislative Session, bills that are passed and signed into law:
At the Secretary of State's Office at a cost of approximately 50 cents a page.
At your local County Clerk and Recorder's Office which receives bills of general
interest and that directly affect counties.
3. Held over bills and killed legislation, from the Legislative Council or the Secretary
of the Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House.
B. Lists of Lobbyists
1. During the Legislative Session: lists of lobbyists and whom they represent are
posted daily by the Chief Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.
2. After a Legislative Session: alphabetical lists of all registered lobbyists and whom
they represented can be obtained from the Secretary of State's Office in the Capitol.
3. Copies of the Lobbyist Registration and Licensing Law for Montana also can be
obtained from the Secretary of State's Office.
C. Voting Records
1. During the Legislative Session, request copies of the vote on a certain bill at the
Offices of the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.
2. Between Legislative Sessions: contact the Legislative Council, the Secretary of the
Senate or the Chief Clerk of the House, located in the Capitol Building.
3. At the end of each Legislative Session, the Journals of both the House of Representa-
tives and the Senate are compiled into bound volumes — one for each house —
along with a bound Index. These volumes contain the voting records of that Session.
Copies of these volumes are sent to each local County Clerk and Recorder's Office
and can be used by the public.
LOCAL COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER'S OFFICES are supplied with this legislative infor-
mation that is available to the public for use:
1. Copies of both introduced and enacted legislative bills that are of general interest
to the public and of particular interest to counties.
2. Copies of bound volumes of each houses' Journal for each session which include
3. Copies of bound volumes of each Legislature's Session Laws.
4. Copies of bound volumes of the Revised Codes of the State of Montana.
THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF MONTANA have numerous booklets and information
on the Legislature, State Government and other political areas. Write:
The League of Women Voters
6630 Siesta Drive
Missoula, Montana 59801
LEGISLATIVE DIRECTORIES are available during Legislative Assemblies through the compli-
ments of various companies. The following were available during the 1973-1974 Assembly.
1 . Montana Directory - compliments of the Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Included
such information as a list of the Capitol phone numbers. Standing Committee member-
ships, addresses and occupations of the Legislators and so on.
2. A Guide to IVIontana's 43rd Legislative Assembly - compliments of Montana's Rural
Electrics. Included photographs of all personnel and Legislators, floor plan of the
Capitol, seating charts for both houses and so on.
3. Lawmakers of Montana - compliments of The Anaconda Company. Includes a
pictorial-biographical reference of those chosen to serve during a specific Legislature.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE : refers to the total membership of the House of Representatives
or the Senate when the individual house has convened for the day and is in a business
session to consider proposed legislation on Second Reading.
ENGROSSED: the bill is between Second and Third Reading. The bill is rechecked and put
into final form including all amendments.
ENROLLING: the bill has passed both houses and is on its way to the Governor for final
MB: is an abbreviation for House Bill, for example HB-234.
PRINTING: the bill has come out of its assigned Committee and will be heard on Second
SB: is an abbreviation for Senate Bill, for example SB-135.
RESOLUTIONS: legislation used to express the opinion of a legislative body or to make a
A. Simple Resolution: a formalized motion passed by one house to amend the rules
of that house or to express the desire or sympathy of that house.
B. Joint Resolution: must be adopted by both houses of the Legislature and is filed
with the Secretary of Sate.
1. Used to express desire, opinion, sympathy or;
2. To request amendments of the Legislature's Joint Rules, or;
3. To ratify or propose amendments to the United States Constitution.
4. Are treated like bills
5. Become effective immediately upon passage.
6. If a joint resolution goes beyond the scope of 1-3 above, then it must be signed
by the Governor.