The Montana Legislature is made up of 50 senate seats and 100 house seats. Each senator represents approximately 20,000 Montanans and each representative represents about 10,000 Montanans. The legislature meets in the state capital of Helena for no longer than 90 days in each odd-numbered year. However, that doesn’t mean that our legislators aren’t working outside of the session. They often have committee meetings and meet with constituents in the interim.
The primary purpose of each legislative session is to pass a balanced budget, which is then signed by the Governor. The legislative session is also an opportunity for legislators to make laws that affect the daily lives of Monantans (thousands of bills are introduced each legislative session). It's your legislature too - we all have the power to decide who we elect to represent us and voice our opinion about what matters to us.
For more about the legislature and how a bill becomes law, check out this guide.
Learn more about your legislators
A good first step is to figure out who your legislators are. You can do that here.
What makes them tick?
Now that you know who they are, research them and learn more about what issues they prioritize, their voting record, and how to contact them. Here are some options:
- Leg.mt.gov gives you their phone number and email, information about how long they have served in the legislature, the bills they are involved with, and the committees they serve on.
- Votesmart.org provides a tool to see how your opinions align with your representative. It also has an archive of speeches, and an easy to understanding rating system by other organizations.
- Ballotopedia.org provides in depth historical information about all the past committees they have served on, bills they have sponsored, and campaign finance information.
Another way to learn what your legislators are up to during legislative session is to follow your local news! Search for your legislator's name on your local newspaper’s website or a search engine.
Contact Your Legislators
Call, write, or email!
Plan what you will say.
Make it short and to the point.
Mention the bill number (if there is one).
Make it memorable, personal stories help them connect with you, and make lasting change.
Give them an action, like “Vote No on SB. 123.”
Meet with them in person
Schedule a meeting, but be flexible & patient.
Educate yourself & set a goal.
Follow up & thank them!
Other ways to be involved during legislative session (and beyond)
Sign up for our Action Alerts.
Volunteer with the ACLU of Montana!
Write a letter to the Editor - here are some tips.
Write an op-ed.
Take it to social media.
Attend a march or protest.