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An Update & Unsolicited Perspectives Provided by Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director & Editor of MACo’s Legislative Update

An Update & Unsolicited Perspectives Provided by Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director & Editor of MACo’s Legislative Update

MACo's Legislative Update

Volume 27, Issue 1
Published January 9, 2023
Published January 9, 2023
Volume 27, Issue 1

(If you’re not interested in the meandering thoughts of a rambling lobbyist and just want to checkout MACo’s Legislative Update, I sympathize. Click the button below for instant access to our first issue of the session.)

Access the First Issue Here
Continue Reading the Unsolicited Perspectives and Meandering Thoughts of a Rambling Lobbyist…

And so it begins…

Well, hey there MACo Folks!

We hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season. Unfortunately, it’s time to take down the twinkle lights, dethrone the star from the tree, and buckle up or in (or however you secure yourself) for the 68th Legislative Session.

Where Are We in the Process?

Things are winding up. As of this morning, bill drafts are up to 216 in the House and 148 in the Senate, and there are 4063 unintroduced bill drafts. What?! I know. I hear you. All I can say is that we live in very interesting times. VERY interesting times…VERY VERY interesting … okay, yes, I’ll stop. Sorry.

Last week 150 Legislators and countless lobbyists descended upon Helena and rushed headfirst into the Capitol building (no, they didn’t run their heads into the building, even though that’s what it may feel like sometimes), both prepared and unprepared for what the coming days, weeks, and may months hold. And at noon on January 2nd, the House and Senate both convened for LD1 (Legislative Day 1…of 90).

The first week is always…interesting, to say the least, but this one was surprisingly uneventful. There were organizational meetings, some hearings, and the House held its usual fight on the floor about their rules. The Senate was super chill (which is not a word I thought I’d EVER use when talking about anything legislative, but there you have it—surprises around every corner). The chamber of wisdom (apparently channeling Harry Potter this morning) adopted their rules last week, and this week they’ll adopt their joint rules. All smooth sailing…SO FAR…

Don’t know if you remember, but at this time in 2021, everyone (legislators, lobbyists, the public, and their dogs on Zoom) were all arguing about the “C” word (COVID—I know, I’m sorry, but I had to say it) and struggling with how best to participate in the legislative process. Remember that?!  I know you do. I do. We all do. Good times. Moving on…

This year, we’re…something else. It’s too early to tell. Are we worried about elections? Taxes? Marijuana? Local Control? The “Entitlement Share?” Yes. Yes we are. All of the above and more. But don’t worry, every week until Sine Die (when the Legislature adjourns) we will be releasing a new issue of our Legislative Update and walking you through the process as it progresses.

Sooooo, What Happens Next?

We lobby. We track. We report. We call you. We ask you to send us information. We request you contact your legislators, and sometimes, we ask that you join us in Helena. You’ll love it. Things move furiously fast and fly around and before you know it, it’s LD2 (Legislative Day 2).  Kidding. We’re past LD2 and living in the week of LD6 thru 10. See? Super fast…(If I keep saying it, it’ll be true—so much positivity in the beginning! Love it.)

Focus Shantil – How do I Contact my Legislators?

Great question! You go to the legislative website and find them in the roster! It’s super easy. Check it out here – there are even pictures (said the five-year old living in the almost 40-year old’s body).

Fun Fact:  You can also watch hearings on the legislative website OR on the policy page of MACo’s website. Dealer’s choice.

How do I Participate?

Another great question! (You’re full of them this morning—nicely done, and on a MONDAY, wow.) To participate in the legislative process, i.e., testify on legislation, you can come to the Capitol physically or you can register and provide your thoughts via the interwebs, virtually. If you come to Helena, let us know and we’ll help you get where you need to be. If you choose to testify remotely, it’s important to register by 5 p.m. the day BEFORE the hearing.  Read more about participating virtually here.

And Don’t Forget…

If you find yourself on uneven footing during the legislative session at any time, no worries. We’re here to help keep you apprised of what’s happening on the hill. Every week until Sine Die during these trying and perplexing times (i.e., the Legislative Session), we’ll be releasing a new issue of the MACo Legislative Update (linked below and above).

Each issue always has an up-to-date session calendar, an easy-to-print bill hearings schedule for the upcoming week, and the status of bills we’re watching or in which we’re actively involved. Click the button below to check out the new issue.

Pro Tip: Our website’s hearing schedule is updated daily, with new hearings added as the week progresses, so be sure to check it out! It also has links to testify remotely and/or submit written public comment as well as watch legislative bill hearings.

For other pertinent information regarding the legislative session, visit the policy section of our website.

That’s all for now! See you either virtually via the internet highway or in the halls!

PS: 84 legislative days remaining – and you’re awesome because you read this ENTIRE report.

(the end…of the update, not the session, obvi)


Eric Bryson

Executive Director
Phone: 406-461-2084

Jason Rittal

Deputy Director

Karen Alley

Associate General Counsel
Phone: 406-441-5472

Shantil Siaperas

Communications Director
Phone: 406-925-1134