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Montana Laws

The following is a collection of links to free sources of legal information on the Web. Not all laws are available for free online. The law library has many additional resources in print. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please Call or email us.

Constitutional and Statehood Resources
Constitution, Constitutional Convention Proceedings, Enabling Act, etc.

Legislative Branch Resources
Statutes, Bills, etc.

Executive Branch Resources
Administrative Rules, Attorney General Opinions, etc.

Judicial Branch/Court Resources
Supreme Court Opinions, Court Rules, etc.


Constitutional and Statehood Resources

The Territory of Montana was established on May 26, 1864, when the United States Congress passed the Organic Act. The first constitution of Montana was written in 1866. It was lost on the way to the printers and was never voted on by the citizens of Montana. A second constitution was written and ratified by the people in 1884. However, Congress failed to take any action on Montana's admission to the Union at that time for political reasons. Five years later, Congress passed the Enabling Act, which finally permitted the people of Montana to be admitted to the Union upon the adoption and ratification of a new state constitution. A third constitution was written and ratified by the people later that year. On November 8, 1889, Montana was the 41st state admitted to the Union by a Presidential Proclamation of Benjamin Harrison. The 1889 Constitution survived until 1972, when a new constitutional convention was held. The 1972 Constitution was adopted by the 100 delegates to the Constitutional Convention on March 22, 1972, and was ratified by the citizens of Montana on June 6, 1972, through Referendum No. 68.

  • Current Montana Constitution
    From the online version of the Montana Code Annotated.

     

  • Montana Constitution as passed in 1972
    From the Constitutional Convention Proceedings, Vol. II, p. 1087-1113.

     

  • Montana Constitutional Convention proceedings, 1971-1972
    Volumes I and II include information on delegates, Convention Rules, and Delegate and Committee Proposals. Volumes III through VII include a full transcript of the convention. An Index is also provided.
  • Montana Constitution as passed in 1884

     

  • Montana Constitution as passed in 1889 

     

  • Montana Constitutional Convention Proceedings, 1889:
    The Constitutional Convention Proceedings and Index are too delicate to be scanned. They are available in print from the Law Library. Call or email us for more information.

    Rules of The Constitutional Convention

  • Organic Act
    The Act passed by the United States Congress that created the Territory of Montana. The Organic Act, 13 Stat. 85, Chap. 95, was passed on May 26, 1864.

     

  • Enabling Act
    The Act passed by the United States Congress that permitted the people of the Montana Territory to be admitted to the Union upon the adoption and ratification of a new state constitution. The Enabling Act, 25 Stat. 676, was passed on February 22, 1889.

     

  • President Benjamin Harrison's Statehood Proclamation
    The document in which the President acknowledged that the citizens of Montana met all of the requirements set in the Enabling Act and that completed admission of the State of Montana into the Union. The Proclamation, 26 Stat. 1551, Proc. No. 7, was signed on November 8, 1889.

Legislative Branch Resources

The legislature is the branch of government that is generally responsible for making the laws of the state by introducing bills and enacting statutes on various topics. In Montana, the legislature meets every 2 years (on odd years) for 90 days from January until April to pass new laws, amend the laws in place, and determine the state's budget for the next two-year cycle (called a biennium). The official website of the Montana legislature is www.leg.mt.gov.

In addition to the laws passed by the legislature, Montana law provides that any individual or group may petition to 1) enact a law by initiative, 2) approve or reject an act of the state legislature by referendum, or 3) amend the state constitution. You can find additional information on ballot measures on the Secretary of State's website and the Legislature's website.

Executive Branch Resources

The executive branch is the branch of government that is generally in charge of implementing and enforcing the laws passed by the state legislature. The executive branch is made up of various administrative agencies, each with a different area of specialization, and the Governor and his or her Cabinet. The executive branch "fleshes out" the statutes by creating highly detailed, specific rules and regulations that tell people how to comply with the law. Many administrative agencies also have the ability to determine whether citizens are complying with their rules and regulations. They can issue and revoke licenses and fine citizens who do not comply with the law. The official website of the executive branch is www.mt.gov. To find a list of individual state agency websites, go to www.mt.gov/govt/agencylisting.asp.

  • Administrative Rules of Montana (A.R.M., Admin. R. Mont.)
    Collection of rules made by state agencies, arranged by executive department. Online version is updated on September 30th of each year. To determine whether a rule has been amended since then, check the Montana Administrative Register.

     

  • Montana Administrative Register (M.A.R., Mont. Admin. Reg.)
    The Montana Administrative Register is published every two weeks and contains notices of proposed administrative rules and notices of final rules and amendments to rules created by various state agencies. Also contains Attorney General opinions. Online version contains rules published from 2001-present.

     

  • Executive Orders of Brian Schweitzer
    An Executive Order is a legally binding action or statement by the Governor as the Chief Executive of the State of Montana.

    For Executive Orders from the administration of former Governor Judy Martz, 2000-2004, click here

    For Executive Orders from the administration of former Governor Marc Racicot, 2000 only, click here

    For Executive Orders issued before 2000, contact the State Law Library.

 

  • Attorney General Opinions
    1993-present
    The legislature or either house of the legislature, a state officer, a state board, a state commission, a county attorney, a board of county commissioners, or a city attorney may request the Attorney General to give a written opinion about any legal question related to official duties. The Attorney General does not issue decisions at the request of private citizens.

 1899-1992 

  • Attorney General Letters of Advice
    In response to a request for a formal Opinion, the Attorney General may decide to issue a Letter of Advice instead. A Letter of Advice does not have the force of law and is advisory only. This site provides copies of Letters of Advice dating back to 2002.

     

  • Board of Oil and Gas Conservation
    Provides access to decisions issued between 2000-2005. Browse by date.

     

  • Decisions of the Commissioner of Political Practices
    The Commissioner investigates complaints regarding campaign finance practices, lobbying disclosures, and ethical violations by legislators, public officers, and state employees. This site provides copies of decisions dating back to 2000.

     

  • Department of Labor Hearings Bureau
    Provides access to dicisions on Wage and Hour, Collective Bargaining, and Workers' Compensations cases since 2001.

     

  • Human Rights Commission/Human Rights Bureau Decisions
    The Human Rights Bureau investigates complaints of discrimination and issues decisions in these cases. The Human Rights Commission hears appeals of decisions of the Bureau. This site provides copies of decisions from both agencies dating back to 1996, in alphabetical order.

     

  • State Tax Appeal Board Decisions
    The State Tax Appeal Board hears appeals from decisions of the Department of Revenue regarding business licenses, property assessments, taxes and penalties and decisions of the county tax appeal boards. This site provides copies of decisions of the Board dating back to 1996, arranged by topic.

     

  • Superintendent of Public Instruction Decisions
    The Superintendent of Public Instruction hears appeals from decisions Of county superintendents (except teacher termination cases) and decisions of county transportation committees. This site provides copies of decisions of the Superintendent dating back to 1999.

     

  • Workers’ Compensation Court Decisions
    The Workers' Compensation Court decides cases involving workers’ compensation and occupational disease claims, among others. This site provides copies of decisions of the Court dating back to 1993, sorted by case number, year, and name.

     

  • Links to Montana Administrative Agency Websites

Judicial Branch/Court Resources

The Montana Court system or the Judicial Branch is the branch of state government generally in charge of applying the law to the facts of specific cases in order to decide disputes between citizens and disagreements between citizens and the government. The Montana Courts also are responsible for determining whether the statutes passed by the legislature and the rules created by the executive branch meet the requirements of the Montana Constitution and the United States Constitution. The court system includes both trial courts (District Courts, Justice Courts, City Courts, Municipal Courts, Workers' Compensation Courts, Water Courts), which hear evidence and decide the facts of a case, and the Montana Supreme Court, which decides appeals of trial court decisions on legal questions. The decisions of the Montana Supreme Court are published and are widely available; however, trial court decisions are not generally published and usually must be obtained from the Clerk of Court for the county where the case was filed and tried. The official website of the Montana Court system is courts.mt.gov.

  • Montana Court Opinions
    A brief is a written argument submitted by a party to an appeal that explains why that party should win. An opinion is a written statement that explains the reasons for the Court's decision in a case. Not all cases are decided by a written opinion, and not all opinions are published decisions of the Court that can be relied upon in other cases. The State Law Library scans and posts all Montana Supreme Court opinions and the briefs that were submitted for those cases. This site provides copies of opinions and briefs dating back to the 1980s.

     

  • Workers' Compensation Court Decisions
    The Workers' Compensation Court decides cases involving workers' compensation and occupational disease claims, among others. This site provides copies of decisions of the Court dating back to 1993, sorted by case number, year, and name.

    Montana Court Rules

    Court rules explain the procedure to be followed in various courts, including what format paperwork should be submitted in, how to schedule hearings, and how hearings and trials will proceed. A court may be governed by several different sets of rules. Choose the appropriate court below to find links to the rules that apply in that particular court.

    Supreme Court
    District Court
    Justice Court
    City Court
    Municipal Court
    Workers' Compensation Court
    Water Court
    Rules Regarding the Practice of Law
    Rules Regarding Judicial Conduct
    Miscellaneous Rules

Montana Supreme Court Rules


District Court Rules

 

Justice Court Rules

 

City Court Rules

 

Municipal Court Rules

Workers' Compensation Court Rules

 

Water Court Rules

Rules on Practicing Law in the State of Montana

Rules on Judicial Conduct and Standards

Miscellaneous Rules