Beneath Bob and Judy Faw’s letter are a list of links which allow citizens to follow bills, contact lawmakers, get nearly live information about the legislative session and generally monitor our elected officials. Here are the email addresses of Montana State Senators (Click Here) and here are the email addresses of the Montana State Representatives (Click Here)
“Last week the week that was“. Wednesday the education budget hearing was heard. There was a huge increase in spending from 2004 to 2008 and it isn’t clear where they got the money. The last two years there was recovery act (the so-called ‘Stimulus’) money and $81 million from Otter Creek Coal. That one-time money is making this new budget very difficult. So the Governor’s budget director, David Ewer wants to transfer $71 million into the general budget from money he shouldn’t be touching. Sounds like the raid on social security that left IOU’s instead of money. Budget director Dave Ewer says that Global Insight and Moody’s Analysts is estimating the revenues too low. The Gov. projects $110 million more than they do in revenue. Ewer says the economy is improving every day so there will be lots of money. The budget director keeps talking the 5% reduction plan on spending in most budget’s except for schools. He thinks the more money you spend on education the more education you get.
Just a brief summary: Global Insight and Moody’s are both telling the Governor there is going to be less state and federal revenue. Budget director Dave Ewer keeps saying they have money in the bank and they will balance the budget, but Schweitzer and Ewer are about the only ones that appear to believe it. They are not that naive.
Next week hearings start on the bills. I hope Joel Boniek will have that site on line so you can follow the bills. They say after the first week it’s not as busy, so hopefully will be in contact with you more.
Bob and Judy Faw
Legislative Internet Broadcast
Live Audio Signup Session Calendar (2011). Audio broadcasts of floor sessions and committee meetings also will be available online. To access the video and audio broadcasts, visit this site. You’ll need RealPlayer software to view or listen to them.
To find out if TVMT programming is available in your area:
• Visit this site or
• Contact your cable or other video service provider; or
• Call the Legislative Information Office at 444-2957.
This session the Legislative Services Division will debut a new feature on the legislative Web site. Users will be able to search for audio and video related to specific bills using one search function here at www.leg.mt.gov/broadcast-archives. Click on “Bill Specific Audio/Video Form.” Results will include committee hearings and minutes.
There are several ways you can contact lawmakers during session to express your views. Beginning Jan. 3, you can leave messages by using a form available online .
You can also call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800. Messages will be delivered to lawmakers. When leaving a message, be prepared to provide:
You may leave messages for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee at a time. The service is available Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to adjournment, while the Legislature is in session.
The Session Information Center does not accept anonymous messages or blanket messages to all legislators.
The legislative process relies on the participation of informed citizens. The Legislative Automated Workflow System, or LAWS, is a free online service that provides legislative information before, during, and after sessions. With it, you can find:
Testify at Hearings
One of the most important opportunities to become involved in the debate over a bill is when it’s the subject of a hearing before a legislative committee. You can communicate personally with legislators at any time about any bill, but the committee hearing is the occasion when anyone may publicly approve, oppose, or suggest changes to a bill. You can testify on any bill that concerns you. All committee hearings are scheduled at least three days in advance. Each committee of the House and Senate is assigned to a specific meeting room in the Capitol. Occasionally, if a hearing is expected to attract a large crowd, it may be moved to a larger room. Such changes are noted on hearing schedules, and notices are placed outside the regular meeting rooms.
The time and place of every committee hearing is posted several days in advance on the legislative Web site. You can also check with the Session Information Desk in the first floor hall of the Capitol, (406) 444-4800 (during session only). For more information about getting involved in the legislative process, contact the Legislative Information Office at 406-444-2957 or click here. Or visit the legislative Web site
You can contact Jason Priest by clicking here
Some upcoming House and Senate bills which might be of interest:
January 18, Tuesday, House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, 3 PM, Capitol Room 152
For immediate action!! Click here to find out about and support Senate Bill 117.
HB 148, Allow motorized access to public lands for game retrieval
HB 159, Restrict authority of FWP to regulate ammo or firearms for hunting. Click here for more information about what you can do to help with HB 159.
January 20, Thursday, House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, 3 PM, Capitol Room 15
HB 177, Provide for monitoring of wolf diseases
January 21, Senate Judiciary Committee, 9 AM, Capitol Room 303
SB 114, Sheriffs First
Note: Constitutional Rights Protection, SB 150, has been reassigned to Local Government Committee at the sponsor’s request – hearing date to be announced.
February 2 and 3, Wednesday and Thursday, House Judiciary Committee, 8 AM, Capitol Room 137
House Judiciary will hear a bundle of “gun bills” on February 2nd and 3rd, including probably:
HB 174, Repeal prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in field
HB 201, Allow employees to keep firearms in vehicle in workplace parking lot
HB 271, “Harmonizing” concealed weapon permits
LC0706, Award attorney fees and costs for person found not guilty for self defense
LC0703, Limit police firearm seizure
LC0700, Revise carrying concealed weapon in prohibited places
We don’t know yet which bills will be on Wednesday and which on Thursday.
February 4, Friday, House State Administration, 8 AM, Capitol Room 455
LC0933, Clarify and specify role of Home Guard
We still have some other bills to get introduced and scheduled for hearing, including Senator Balyeat’s wolf control bill, LC0459 . Stay tuned. These others will be out soon.