The 2019 Montana Legislature has adopted rules preventing legislative staff from publishing legal review notes, which flag issues with potentially unconstitutional bills, except on specific request by bill sponsors.

Montana Free Press believes these legal review notes serve an important purpose by giving legislators, and the public, a heads-up that a bill may have constitutional issues. Removing the legal review notes from the Legislature’s website limits transparency and public access. The notes continue to be a matter of public record and, as such, reporters at the Capitol will continue to have access to them.

Montana Free Press is requesting legal notes on weekly basis and making them available for readers on this page. For more on the issue, read our coverage here and here.

Total number of legal review notes as of March 26, 2019:


March 26, 2019

HB 658 Legal Review Note

Bill: Generally revise healthcare laws and permanently expand Medicaid

Sponsor: Rep. Ed Buttrey, R-Great Falls

HB 692 Legal Review Note

Bill: Provide tax exemption for property taxes if no child enrolled in public schools

Sponsor: Rep. Greg DeVries, R-Jefferson City

HB 735 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise campus free speech laws

Sponsor: Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula

HB 770 Legal Review Note

Bill: Provide for the legalization of recreational marijuana

Sponsor: Rep. Thomas Winter, D-Missoula

Feb. 27, 2019

HB 598 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revising licensing and oversight entity for medical marijuana testing labs

Sponsor: Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula

HB 594 Legal Review Note

Bill: Requiring country of origin label on beef, pork

Sponsor: Rep. Bradley Maxon Hamlett, D-Cascade

Feb. 21, 2019

HB 484 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise laws related to the voter information pamphlet and judicial candidates

Sponsor: Bob Brown, R-Thompson Falls

HB 496 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise telecommunication siting laws

Sponsor: Rep. David Dunn, R-Kalispell

HB 498 Legal Review Note

Bill: Allow probationers and parolees to use medical marijuana

Sponsor: Rep. Jade Bahr, D-Billings

HB 500 Legal Review Note

Bill: Adopt Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Sponsor: Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls

HB 541 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise immunization notification requirements

Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Kelker, D-Billings

HB 577 Legal Review Note

Bill: Establish protections for gun possession and purchase in Medical Marijuana Act

Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings

SB 265 Legal Review Note

Bill: Generally revise medical marijuana laws

Sponsor: Sen. Tom Jacobson, D-Great Falls

SB 284 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise required disclosures on election material about candidate’s voting record

Sponsor: Sen. Jenn Gross, D-Billings

SB 300 Legal Review Note

Bill: Generally revise property laws to protect property rights

Sponsor: Sen. Kenneth Bogner, R-Miles City

SB 301 Legal Review Note

Bill: Provide county commissioners must approve public road closures

Sponsor: Sen. Jason D Small, R-Busby

Feb. 13, 2019

HB 445 Legal Review Note

Bill: Generally revise medical marijuana laws

Sponsor: Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell, D-Helena

SB 206 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise the labeling and marketing of certain ag products

Sponsor: Sen. Albert Olszewski, R-Kalispell

Feb. 6, 2019

HB 381 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise THC limit in industrial hemp

Sponsor: Rep. David Dunn, R-Kalispell

SB 201 Legal Review Note

Bill: Revise requirements to hold a mining permit

Sponsor: Sen. Duane Ankney, R-Colstrip

Jan. 25, 2019

HB 139 Legal Review Note

Bill: Generally revise disclosures on the face of campaign material

Sponsor: Rep. Kimberly Dudik, D-Missoula

SB 87 Legal Review Note

Bill: Requiring the University System to report on student loans

Sponsor: Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell