2023 Legislative Package

On September 28, 2022, MACo’s membership adopted the Association’s legislative package, encompassing an assortment of resolutions and policy statements for the upcoming 68th 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 works with legislators to get bill draft requests submitted and helps guide the proposed legislation through the legislative process.

Below you fill find all adopted resolutions and policy statements. We have also included an explanation of MACo’s legislative process.

Related Information

What Does MACo Do, Legislatively?

Committees?  Resolutions?  Policy Statements?  Let Us Lift the Veil of Confusion for You…

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 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.

One of the primary ways we shape policy is through our resolutions process. What is a resolution? Glad you asked. Continue reading below…

Everything About MACo Resolutions

First, The Short Story…(i.e., The Synopsis)

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. (Several examples can be viewed above under our “2023 Legislative Package.”)

MACo members are the elected officials of counties that 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 their citizens, the counties, and the state as whole (sometimes even the State–capital “S”). MACo will oppose legislation which county officials believe to be detrimental thereto.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start from the beginning. Click through the links below to journey through our legislative process from the very beginning…Midwinter Conference.

The Process

Step 1: Midwinter Conference

(February Preceding the Legislative Session Year)

MACo Committees Convene
Scroll down to learn more about committees.

The Policy 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 the Legislative Session 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 to MACo’s website and distributed to all member counties digitally prior to the annual conference.

Step 5: Annual Conference

(September Preceding the Legislative Session 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 MACo staff, while also informing 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 are maintained by specialized committees and are voted on by the membership during MACo Annual Conferences (on pre-legislative years).

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? Click here or the button below! (Commissioner Bios must be received by November 25, 2022 for 2023 Committee appointment consideration.)

Click Here to Serve on a MACo Committee

A Quick Note About County Coaltions

County Coalitions Are Not MACo Committees

MACo Committees are not to be confused with the County Coalitions. Most of the Coalitions have articles of incorporation filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and bylaws by which they abide.

Even though the coalitions were organized and operate outside of MACo, we have historically offered space at our conferences for them to convene for cost-saving purposes. County Coalitions include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Montana Association of Hard Rock Mining Counties
  • Montana Association of Oil, Gas & Coal Counties
  • Montana Association or Reservation Counties
  • Montana Coalition of Forest Counties
  • Six-County Fort Peck Lake Group
  • Wildlife Counties
But What About the Urban Counties?

The Urban Counties Coalition IS a MACo construct, as per the bylaws (confusing, we know):

The Urban County Representative holds a seat on MACo’s Executive Committee and is filled by appointment by the President subject to a recommendation made by a majority of the Urban Counties.

A county having a taxable value of over $50,000,000 and a population of over 35,000 shall be designated as an Urban County. The Urban County Representative shall consult with, counsel, and advise the President. The current Urban County Representative shall call a caucus of the Urban Counties during the annual conference for the purpose of selecting an Urban County Representative.

Questions? Contact:
Shantil Siaperas  | MACo Communications Director |  shantil@mtcounties.org  |   (406) 441-5480