Published January 4, 2020

The voices of Montanans will echo in the halls of the capitol in more ways than ever and from farther away when the 2021 Legislature convenes Monday.

“If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it is the development of remote testimony capability,” said Susan Fox, executive director of the Legislative Services Division. Allowing Montanans the ability to testify without traveling to Helena has long been a goal of many legislative leaders, Fox said. But that wish became a necessity with the pandemic and the need to limit the number of people in the capitol.

There are no restrictions on in-person involvement, however the number of seats in hearing rooms are limited to maintain social distancing. The public is also subject to any Lewis and Clark County health directives regarding crowd size.

“Legislative staff worked diligently to provide the public with more opportunities than ever to interact with representatives and senators,” Fox said. New features include an ability to upload written testimony to a committee or request a link to testify remotely at a bill hearing. This is available for any bill that is scheduled for hearing. Testimony must be submitted by noon the day before the hearing to allow dissemination of the information to legislators and others.

The remote testimony feature debuts with the old standbys of sending an email, leaving a phone message, and traditional mail.

For more information, go to the Montana Legislature’s Homepage leg.mt.gov and for links to:

  1. more information on remote participation; and
  2. the form to request to testify or upload your documents; and
  3. the web messaging form; and
  4. Bill Search, Legislator Search, Session Information, and Revenue and Budget Information; and
  5. where to click to Watch/Listen to all meetings.

More information is also available by calling (406) 444-4800.