2021 Legislative Package

On October 1, 2020, MACo’s membership adopted the Association’s legislative package, encompassing an assortment of resolutions and policy statements for the upcoming 67th Legislative Session. The adopted resolutions become proposed legislation; whereas policy statements guide the Association’s actions on issues during the Legislative Session and Interim. MACo staff is currently working with legislators to get bill draft requests submitted.

Every other year, MACo releases a “Policy Booklet”, which contains all resolutions and policy statements in one handy place. We are currently in the process of assembling the biennial digital publication and will distribute it to the members upon its completion. In the meantime, adopted resolutions and policy statements can be accessed below, as well as an explanation of MACo’s legislative process.

Related Information

What Does MACo Do Legislatively?

The Montana Association of Counties is one of the oldest organizations in Montana. Organized in 1909, MACo today works to anticipate rapidly changing and complex challenges facing Montana’s 56 county governments. MACo’s mission is to enhance the public service mission of counties by promoting integrity and providing proactive leadership while acknowledging and respecting Montana’s diversity.

MACo staff provides county elected officials with research, training, and technical support and services, monitors legislation and works with state agencies, legislators, and the Executive Branch in helping shape public policy.

What Are MACo Resolutions & What is the Process?

General Explanation

A MACo Resolution is a written motion that is beneficial to county government and is adopted by a deliberative assembly made up of MACo members. A resolution proposes to amend the law to solve a problem; it essentially becomes legislation.

MACo members are the elected officials of counties, which have paid their annual dues in accordance with a schedule of dues or assessments adopted by the MACo Board of Directors and ratified by the membership. Each member county has one vote at membership meetings of the Association.

A MACo Resolution is adopted at the MACo Annual Conference or special meetings; legislation is then drafted by staff and the MACo Resolutions & Legislative Committee for the adopted resolutions. This committee also assists staff in securing of sponsorship for the legislation.

MACo will present and promote legislation which county officials believe to be beneficial to citizens, counties, and the state. MACo will oppose legislation which county officials believe to be detrimental thereto.

MACo Resolution Process

Step 1: Midwinter Conference

(February Preceding a Legislative Year)

MACo Committees meet to review their policy statements for additions and/or amendments at the Midwinter Conference preceding a legislative year. During this time, they may also consider and prepare committee resolutions reflecting committee actions and positions being recommended for the entire association. MACo members are encouraged to attend MACo Committee Meetings and participate in the process. These resolutions will be reviewed by the membership as a whole for possible adoption at the following Annual Conference, which also precedes the legislative year.

Step 2: District Meetings

(Spring/Summer Preceding a Legislative Year)

Resolutions can and should originate at the county level for presentation at the district meetings preceding a legislative year. Each resolution should be accompanied by statements of the problem being addressed and the proposed solution. This should include statutory references and language revisions where possible as an additional document to the resolution. They may be submitted by a member, one or more counties, a single district, or multiple districts.

Step 3: Resolutions & Legislative Committee Meeting

After the Spring/Summer District Meetings and prior to the Annual Conference, the Resolutions and Legislative Committee. working with the MACo staff, shall attempt to consolidate similar resolutions with the consent of the originating sponsors. The committee will also identify a primary sponsor/spokesperson and refer the resolutions to their most appropriate MACo Committee for vetting and recommendations to the membership.

It is to be noted that the Resolutions Committee may propose resolutions based upon inquiries from members and/or affiliates.

Step 4: Notice

A summary of the various resolutions shall be posted in the MACo Newsletter and distributed to all member counties prior to the annual conference.

Step 5: Annual Conference

(September Preceding a Legislative Year)

Late, urgent, or extraordinary resolution addresses an issue that threatens the health, welfare, and/or safety of the public or the counties’ resources/ability to provide necessary services and was not known prior to the Annual Conference. These resolutions may be considered at the Annual Conference if approved by the Board of Directors at their meeting prior to the Annual Conference for presentation on the floor at the general session of the Annual Conference. Such resolutions must be presented in writing, in easily read and understandable form, and in adequate numbers for general circulation. These resolutions may be mailed to MACo for submission to the Board of Directors prior to the Annual Conference. Any resolutions submitted to the Board will be considered and comments and recommendations will be made for presentation to the general assembly. In addition, the Board may, at any meeting with a quorum present, adopt resolutions pertaining to the policy or position of the Association.

MACo Committees will meet during the Annual Conference to review assigned resolutions. They will develop recommendations to amend, drop, incorporate into policy statements, and/or refer to the membership for consideration. They will also make final adjustments to their policy statements for consideration by the membership. All MACo members are encouraged to attend MACo Committee Meetings and participate in the process. Other affiliated elected official associations are also encouraged to participate in the resolutions process.

During the Annual Membership Meeting, the Resolutions Committee Chair will introduce all resolutions in their priority groupings and acted on as a whole. Any delegate may call for a resolution to be segregated from the group for consideration in regard to amendments and/or to change the committee’s recommendation. Each resolution that is segregated will be debated separately.

Step 6: Council of County Officials Meeting

To ensure communications on legislative issues, MACo sponsors a meeting of the Council of County Officials specifically to share and discuss legislative issues, following the Annual Conference.

Step 7: Sponsorship Responsibilities & Legislative Session

After the Annual Conference, resolutions begin to become bill drafts, with the help of the resolution sponsors. Resolution sponsorship begins at the district meetings, with the introduction of a resolution, and extends through the legislative session.

The legislative responsibilities of a sponsor include working with the assigned MACo committee and the staff to prepare testimony for the sponsoring legislator, supporting “public” testimony from local officials during the hearing phases of the bill, and to generally help monitor the legislation’s progress.

All testimony should be directed at why the bill is necessary and how it will affect local governments. Indications of or suggestions that what is being sought is special legislation should be avoided to the extent possible. Success can best be assumed when local officials are present and testify; everyone is encouraged to participate. MACo will make every effort to afford everyone with ample notice of hearing schedules and scheduled floor debates; however, it should be noted that in some instances it may be impossible to predict the timing of hearings and floor debate, especially toward the end of each session.

The goal will be to demonstrate broad general support for MACo legislation. To do this it is necessary to have a participatory process, and everyone is encouraged to “be prepared to be present.”

What Are MACo Policy Statements?

A “Policy Statement” provides guidance to staff, legislators, and the public on MACo’s position regarding possible legislation and/or issues that may arise during a legislative session and/or the Interim. The document linked below contains a number of various statements organized by MACo’s ten policy committees.

Our legislative process is structured around the participation and involvement of all member counties. The policies received the members’ endorsement at the MACo 2020 Annual Conference and present the consensus of the MACo membership.

Review MACo Policy Statements

MACo Committees

MACo’s Policy Committees are essential to our Association’s operation, as they represent the interests of the members.  They have the important duty of helping to set policy for the organization that helps guide MACo Staff on legislative matters.  Click on a committee below to view its policy statements, members, and more. Interested in being appointed to a MACo Committee for 2021? Click here or the button below! (Commissioner Bios must be received by November 11, 2020 for consideration to serve on a MACo Committee.)

Agriculture Committee
Community, Economic Development & Labor Committee
Conference Planning Committee (Not a Policy Committee)
Energy Committee
Health & Human Services Committee
Justice & Public Safety Committee
Land Use, Planning & Development Committee
Public Lands Committee
Resolutions & Legislative Committee
Tax, Budget & Finance Committee
Transportation Committee
Click Here to Serve on a MACo Committee
Questions? Contact:
Shantil Siaperas  | MACo Communications Director |  shantil@mtcounties.org  |   (406) 441-5480