Volume 26, Issue 3
Published January 17, 2021

Unsolicited Participation Tips (You’re Welcome)

Provided by Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director

If you’re not interested in the meandering thoughts of a rambling lobbyist
and just want to check out the next issue of MACo’s Legislative update, I sympathize. Click the button below for instant access to Issue 3.

MACo Legislative Update, Issue 3

HELENA – Well, we’ve done it: another legislative week in the books. How is it going? Glad you asked. Committees are still convening in person. Each committee is different as to how they allow public participation. The committees that are meeting in the smaller rooms allow for one person to come in at time, so proponents and opponents stand in line and wait to be called upon. Most Chairs allow for in-person testimony first, followed by online participation. This logic revolves around avoiding groups of people being congregated in one area for too long.

Legislators continue to be responsive to e-lobbying, which is new to all of us. They have been great about getting back to MACo or reaching out if they have questions. Texting and emailing manically between (and during) calls and Zoomies continues.

Because this session is the first of it’s kind, and participating can be a bit confusing, I’ve compiled a list of “Pro Tips” (because I’m a pro now, so you can trust me) to help you get your perspective heard.

Participation Tips

Pro Tip #1: If you’d like to advocate remotely for or against a bill, be sure to register via Montana’s legislative website by noon the day before the hearing. I’m gonna say that again: BY NOON THE DAY BEFORE THE HEARING. This is a hard and fast deadline, and Committee Chairs are sticking to the rule. You can register as soon as three days prior, so be sure to GET ON IT.

Pro Tip #2: Check MACo’s weekly hearing schedule daily to easily see what legislation will be heard for the week. We highlight the bills we are following, which are likely bills you’ll be interested in too, as you are our members, and we do what you say.All legislation is linked to its corresponding bill page, so you can easily read the bills and view all associated information as well. If one makes you happy, sad, or angry, we’ve included a button on this handy schedule page that you can click to sign up and testify or submit your written testimony.

How do you find this magical schedule? Go to the homepage of our website and on the giant image at the top (you can’t miss it), there is a red, white, and blue button that says “weekly hearing schedule.” Click that button. Boom. Done. You’re there. Good job!

The hearing schedule is updated every evening and lists the bills that will be heard for the entire week.

Pro Tip #3: Check your email and text messages often to see if we’ve contacted you. There will come a time (likely several times) when we will need your help with contacting legislators. When that day comes, a very speedy response will be required, so be sure to check your messages for anything from MACo that says !URGENT!.

Pro Tip #4: Need to contact a legislator? (You will. See Pro Tip #3.) There is link on the homepage of Montana’s legislative website. OR we have a handy dandy button on that amazing hearing schedule page of ours that you’ll be checking daily (see Pro Tip #2).

Pro Tip #5: Contact us. Text, email, call. I love a good text message, and it’s less likely to get buried in the mounds of emails. We accept sympathy cards as well. Seriously though, we’d love to hear your perspective on legislation and are happy to help clarify anything that may be confuddled.

If you’re coming to town to testify in person, please let us know, so we can connect! Our contact information is at the bottom.

If you’re still on uneven footing, 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, we’ll be releasing a new issue of the MACo Legislative Update (linked below).

Our third issue features information about participating virtually, as well as the 2021 legislative session calendar and an easy-to-print hearings schedule for the upcoming week (our website’s hearing schedule will be updated daily as the week progresses and new hearings are added). Don’t forget to check out the bills section, where you’ll be able to follow the status of MACo’s legislation, as well as track the growing list of bills in which we are monitoring and/or actively participating.

Click the button below to check out the new issue.

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

See you either virtually via the internet highway or in the halls!

PS: 80 legislative days remaining

(The Legislative Update is linked below.)
Questions? We Got you!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Eric Bryson, MACo Executive Director:  406-461-2084, ebryson@mtcounties.org

Jason Rittal, MACo Deputy Director:  406- 698-3255, jrittal@mtcounties.org

Shantil Siaperas, MACo Communications Director:  406-925-1134, shantil@mtcounties.org