CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF MONTANA AS ADOPTED BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
MARCH 22, 1972, AND AS RATIFIED BY THE PEOPLE, JUNE 6, 1972, REFERENDUM NO. 68
of July 1, 1999)
We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the
grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to
improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings
of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this
WITH THE UNITED STATES
provisions of the enabling act of Congress (approved February 22, 1889, 25 Stat.
676), as amended and of Ordinance No. 1, appended to the Constitution of the
state of Montana and approved February 22, 1889, including the agreement and
declaration that all lands owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes shall
remain under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the congress of the United
States, continue in full force and effect until revoked by the consent of the
United States and the people of Montana.
1. Popular sovereignty.
All political power is vested in and derived from the people. All government of
right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is
instituted solely for the good of the whole.
The people have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free,
sovereign, and independent state. They may alter or abolish the constitution and
form of government whenever they deem it necessary.
3. Inalienable rights.
All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the
right to a clean and healthful environment and the rights of pursuing life's
basic necessities, enjoying and defending their lives and liberties, acquiring,
possessing and protecting property, and seeking their safety, health and
happiness in all lawful ways. In enjoying these rights, all persons recognize
4. Individual dignity.
The dignity of the human being is inviolable. No person shall be denied the
equal protection of the laws. Neither the state nor any person, firm,
corporation, or institution shall discriminate against any person in the
exercise of his civil or political rights on account of race, color, sex,
culture, social origin or condition, or political or religious ideas.
5. Freedom of religion.
The state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
6. Freedom of assembly.
The people shall have the right peaceably to assemble, petition for redress or
peaceably protest governmental action.
7. Freedom of speech, expression,
No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech or expression. Every
person shall be free to speak or publish whatever he will on any subject, being
responsible for all abuse of that liberty. In all suits and prosecutions for
libel or slander the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and the jury, under
the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the facts.
8. Right of participation.
The public has the right to expect governmental agencies to afford such
reasonable opportunity for citizen participation in the operation of the
agencies prior to the final decision as may be provided by law.
9. Right to know.
No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the
deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its
subdivisions, except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly
exceeds the merits of public disclosure.
10. Right of privacy.
The right of individual privacy is essential to the well‑being of a free
society and shall not be infringed without the showing of a compelling state
11. Searches and seizures.
The people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects from
unreasonable searches and seizures. No warrant to search any place, or seize any
person or thing shall issue without describing the place to be searched or the
person or thing to be seized, or without probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation reduced to writing.
12. Right to bear arms.
The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person,
and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall
not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit
the carrying of concealed weapons.
13. Right of suffrage.
All elections shall be free and open, and no power, civil or military, shall at
any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.
14. Adult rights.
A person 18 years of age or older is an adult for all purposes, except that the
legislature or the people by initiative may establish the legal age for
purchasing, consuming, or possessing alcoholic beverages.
15. Rights of persons not adults.
The rights of persons under 18 years of age shall include, but not be limited
to, all the fundamental rights of this Article unless specifically precluded by
laws which enhance the protection of such persons.
16. The administration of justice.
Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and speedy remedy afforded for
every injury of person, property, or character. No person shall be deprived of
this full legal redress for injury incurred in employment for which another
person may be liable except as to fellow employees and his immediate employer
who hired him if such immediate employer provides coverage under the Workmen's
Compensation Laws of this state. Right and justice shall be administered without
sale, denial, or delay.
17. Due process of law.
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of
18. State subject to suit.
The state, counties, cities, towns, and all other local governmental entities
shall have no immunity from suit for injury to a person or property, except as
may be specifically provided by law by a 2/3 vote of each house of the
19. Habeas corpus.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended.
20. Initiation of proceedings.
(1) Criminal offenses within the jurisdiction of any court inferior to the
district court shall be prosecuted by complaint. All criminal actions in
district court, except those on appeal, shall be prosecuted either by
information, after examination and commitment by a magistrate or after leave
granted by the court, or by indictment without such examination, commitment or
A grand jury shall consist of eleven persons, of whom eight must concur
to find an indictment. A grand jury shall be drawn and summoned only at the
discretion and order of the district judge.
All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital
offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.
22. Excessive sanctions.
Excessive bail shall not be required, or excessive fines imposed, or cruel and
unusual punishments inflicted.
No person shall be imprisoned for the purpose of securing his testimony in any
criminal proceeding longer than may be necessary in order to take his
deposition. If he can give security for his appearance at the time of trial, he
shall be discharged upon giving the same; if he cannot give security, his
deposition shall be taken in the manner provided by law, and in the presence of
the accused and his counsel, or without their presence, if they shall fail to
attend the examination after reasonable notice of the time and place thereof.
24. Rights of the accused.
In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to appear and
defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the
accusation; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have process to
compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, and a speedy public trial by
an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to
have been committed, subject to the right of the state to have a change of venue
for any of the causes for which the defendant may obtain the same.
25. Self‑incrimination and
No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal
proceeding. No person shall be again put in jeopardy for the same offense
previously tried in any jurisdiction.
26. Trial by jury.
The right of trial by jury is secured to all and shall remain inviolate. But
upon default of appearance or by consent of the parties expressed in such manner
as the law may provide, all cases may be tried without a jury or before fewer
than the number of jurors provided by law. In all civil actions,
two‑thirds of the jury may render a verdict, and a verdict so rendered
shall have the same force and effect as if all had concurred therein. In all
criminal actions, the verdict shall be unanimous.
27. Imprisonment for debt.
No person shall be imprisoned for debt except in the manner provided by law,
upon refusal to deliver up his estate for the benefit of his creditors, or in
cases of tort, where there is strong presumption of fraud.
Section 28. Criminal
justice policy -- rights of the convicted.
(1) Laws for the punishment of crime shall be founded on the principles of
prevention, reformation, public safety, and restitution for victims.
rights are restored by termination of state supervision for any offense against
Amd. Sec. 1, Const. Amend. No. 33, approved Nov. 3, 1998.
29. Eminent domain.
Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just
compensation to the full extent of the loss having been first made to or paid
into court for the owner. In the event of litigation, just compensation shall
include necessary expenses of litigation to be awarded by the court when the
private property owner prevails.
30. Treason and descent of estates.
Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or in
adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; no person shall be
convicted of treason except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt
act, or on his confession in open court; no person shall be attainted of treason
or felony by the legislature; no conviction shall cause the loss of property to
the relatives or heirs of the convicted. The estates of suicides shall descend
or vest as in cases of natural death.
31. Ex post facto, obligation of
contracts, and irrevocable privileges.
No ex post facto law nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or
making any irrevocable grant of special privileges, franchises, or immunities,
shall be passed by the legislature.
32. Civilian control of the
The military shall always be in strict subordination to the civil power; no
soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of
the owner, nor in time of war, except in the manner provided by law.
33. Importation of armed persons.
No armed person or persons or armed body of men shall be brought into this state
for the preservation of the peace, or the suppression of domestic violence,
except upon the application of the legislature, or of the governor when the
legislature cannot be convened.
34. Unenumerated rights.
The enumeration in this constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to
deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.
35. Servicemen, servicewomen, and
The people declare that Montana servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans may be
given special considerations determined by the legislature.
1. Separation of powers.
The power of the government of this state is divided into three distinct
branches‑‑legislative, executive, and judicial. No person or persons
charged with the exercise of power properly belonging to one branch shall
exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except as in this
constitution expressly directed or permitted.
2. Continuity of government.
The seat of government shall be in Helena, except during periods of emergency
resulting from disasters or enemy attack. The legislature may enact laws to
insure the continuity of government during a period of emergency without regard
for other provisions of the constitution. They shall be effective only during
the period of emergency that affects a particular office or governmental
3. Oath of office.
Members of the legislature and all executive, ministerial and judicial officers,
shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, before they enter
upon the duties of their offices: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I
will support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and the
constitution of the state of Montana, and that I will discharge the duties of my
office with fidelity (so help me God)." No other oath, declaration, or test
shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.
(1) The people may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations
of money and local or special laws.
Initiative petitions must contain the full text of the proposed measure,
shall be signed by at least five percent of the qualified electors in each of at
least one‑third of the legislative representative districts and the total
number of signers must be at least five percent of the total qualified electors
of the state. Petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state at least
three months prior to the election at which the measure will be voted upon.
The sufficiency of the initiative petition shall not be questioned after
the election is held.
(1) The people may approve or reject by referendum any act of the legislature
except an appropriation of money. A referendum shall be held either upon order
by the legislature or upon petition signed by at least five percent of the
qualified electors in each of at least one‑third of the legislative
representative districts. The total number of signers must be at least five
percent of the qualified electors of the state. A referendum petition shall be
filed with the secretary of state no later than six months after adjournment of
the legislature which passed the act.
An act referred to the people is in effect until suspended by petitions
signed by at least 15 percent of the qualified electors in a majority of the
legislative representative districts. If so suspended the act shall become
operative only after it is approved at an election, the result of which has been
determined and declared as provided by law.
The people shall vote on initiative and referendum measures at the general
election unless the legislature orders a special election.
7. Number of electors.
The number of qualified electors required in each legislative representative
district and in the state shall be determined by the number of votes cast for
the office of governor in the preceding general election.
The provisions of this Article do not apply to CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION, Article
All forms of gambling, lotteries, and gift enterprises are prohibited unless
authorized by acts of the legislature or by the people through initiative or
All elections by the people shall be by secret ballot.
2. Qualified elector.
Any citizen of the United States 18 years of age or older who meets the
registration and residence requirements provided by law is a qualified elector
unless he is serving a sentence for a felony in a penal institution or is of
unsound mind, as determined by a court.
The legislature shall provide by law the requirements for residence,
registration, absentee voting, and administration of elections. It may provide
for a system of poll booth registration, and shall insure the purity of
elections and guard against abuses of the electoral process.
4. Eligibility for public office.
Any qualified elector is eligible to any public office except as otherwise
provided in this constitution. The legislature may provide additional
qualifications but no person convicted of a felony shall be eligible to hold
office until his final discharge from state supervision.
5. Result of elections.
In all elections held by the people, the person or persons receiving the largest
number of votes shall be declared elected.
6. Privilege from arrest.
A qualified elector is privileged from arrest at polling places and in going to
and returning therefrom, unless apprehended in the commission of a felony or a
breach of the peace.
7. Ballot issues ‑‑
challenges ‑‑ elections.
(1) An initiative or referendum that qualifies for the ballot under Article III
or Article XIV shall be submitted to the qualified electors as provided in the
Article under which the initiative or referendum qualified unless a new election
is held pursuant to this section.
A preelection challenge to the procedure by which an initiative or
referendum qualified for the ballot or a postelection challenge to the manner in
which the election was conducted shall be given priority by the courts.
If the election on an initiative or referendum properly qualifying for
the ballot is declared invalid because the election was improperly conducted,
the secretary of state shall submit the issue to the qualified electors at the
next regularly scheduled statewide election unless the legislature orders a
En. Const. Amend. No. 21, 1990.
8. Limitation on terms of office.
(1) The secretary of state or other authorized official shall not certify a
candidate's nomination or election to, or print or cause to be printed on any
ballot the name of a candidate for, one of the following offices if, at the end
of the current term of that office, the candidate will have served in that
office or had he not resigned or been recalled would have served in that office:
8 or more years in any 16‑year period as governor, lieutenant
governor, secretary of state, state auditor, attorney general, or superintendent
of public instruction;
8 or more years in any 16‑year period as a state representative;
8 or more years in any 16‑year period as a state senator;
6 or more years in any 12‑year period as a member of the U.S. house
of representatives; and
12 or more years in any 24‑year period as a member of the U.S.
When computing time served for purposes of subsection (1), the provisions
of subsection (1) do not apply to time served in terms that end during or prior
to January 1993.
Nothing contained herein shall preclude an otherwise qualified candidate
from being certified as nominated or elected by virtue of write‑in votes
cast for said candidate.
En. Sec. 1, Const. Initiative No. 64, approved Nov. 3, 1992.
1. Power and structure.
The legislative power is vested in a legislature consisting of a senate and a
house of representatives. The people reserve to themselves the powers of
initiative and referendum.
The size of the legislature shall be provided by law, but the senate shall not
have more than 50 or fewer than 40 members and the house shall not have more
than 100 or fewer than 80 members.
3. Election and terms.
A member of the house of representatives shall be elected for a term of two
years and a member of the senate for a term of four years each to begin on a
date provided by law. One‑half of the senators shall be elected every two
A candidate for the legislature shall be a resident of the state for at least
one year next preceding the general election. For six months next preceding the
general election, he shall be a resident of the county if it contains one or
more districts or of the district if it contains all or parts of more than one
Each member of the legislature shall receive compensation for his services and
allowances provided by law. No legislature may fix its own compensation.
The legislature shall meet each odd‑numbered year in regular session of
not more than 90 legislative days. Any legislature may increase the limit on the
length of any subsequent session. The legislature may be convened in special
sessions by the governor or at the written request of a majority of the members.
A vacancy in the legislature shall be filled by special election for the
unexpired term unless otherwise provided by law.
A member of the legislature is privileged from arrest during attendance at
sessions of the legislature and in going to and returning therefrom, unless
apprehended in the commission of a felony or a breach of the peace. He shall not
be questioned in any other place for any speech or debate in the legislature.
No member of the legislature shall, during the term for which he shall have been
elected, be appointed to any civil office under the state; and no member of
congress, or other person holding an office (except notary public, or the
militia) under the United States or this state, shall be a member of the
legislature during his continuance in office.
10. Organization and procedure.
(1) Each house shall judge the election and qualifications of its members. It
may by law vest in the courts the power to try and determine contested
elections. Each house shall choose its officers from among its members, keep a
journal, and make rules for its proceedings. Each house may expel or punish a
member for good cause shown with the concurrence of two‑thirds of all its
A majority of each house constitutes a quorum. A smaller number may
adjourn from day to day and compel attendance of absent members.
The sessions of the legislature and of the committee of the whole, all
committee meetings, and all hearings shall be open to the public.
The legislature may establish a legislative council and other interim
committees. The legislature shall establish a legislative post‑audit
committee which shall supervise post‑auditing duties provided by law.
Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn or recess
for more than three days or to any place other than that in which the two houses
(1) A law shall be passed by bill which shall not be so altered or amended on
its passage through the legislature as to change its original purpose. No bill
shall become law except by a vote of the majority of all members present and
Every vote of each member of the legislature on each substantive question
in the legislature, in any committee, or in committee of the whole shall be
recorded and made public. On final passage, the vote shall be taken by ayes and
noes and the names entered on the journal.
Each bill, except general
appropriation bills and bills for the codification and general revision of the
laws, shall contain only one subject, clearly expressed in its title. If any
subject is embraced in any act and is not expressed in the title, only so much
of the act not so expressed is void.
A general appropriation bill shall contain only appropriations for the
ordinary expenses of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, for
interest on the public debt, and for public schools. Every other appropriation
shall be made by a separate bill, containing but one subject.
No appropriation shall be made for religious, charitable, industrial,
educational, or benevolent purposes to any private individual, private
association, or private corporation not under control of the state.
A law may be challenged on the ground of noncompliance with this section
only within two years after its effective date.
12. Local and special legislation.
The legislature shall not pass a special or local act when a general act is, or
can be made, applicable.
(1) The governor, executive officers, heads of state departments, judicial
officers, and such other officers as may be provided by law are subject to
impeachment, and upon conviction shall be removed from office. Other proceedings
for removal from public office for cause may be provided by law.
The legislature shall provide for the manner, procedure, and causes for
impeachment and may select the senate as tribunal.
Impeachment shall be brought only by a two‑thirds vote of the
house. The tribunal hearing the charges shall convict only by a vote of
two‑thirds or more of its members.
Conviction shall extend only to removal from office, but the party,
whether convicted or acquitted, shall also be liable to prosecution according to
14. Districting and apportionment.
(1) The state shall be divided into as many districts as there are members of
the house, and each district shall elect one representative. Each senate
district shall be composed of two adjoining house districts, and shall elect one
senator. Each district shall consist of compact and contiguous territory. All
districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable.
In the legislative session following ratification of this constitution
and thereafter in each session preceding each federal population census, a
commission of five citizens, none of whom may be public officials, shall be
selected to prepare a plan for redistricting and reapportioning the state into
legislative districts and a plan for redistricting the state into congressional
districts. The majority and minority leaders of each house shall each designate
one commissioner. Within 20 days after their designation, the four commissioners
shall select the fifth member, who shall serve as chairman of the commission. If
the four members fail to select the fifth member within the time prescribed, a
majority of the supreme court shall select him.
Within 90 days after the official final decennial census figures are
available, the commission shall file its final plan for congressional districts
with the secretary of state and it shall become law.
The commission shall submit its plan for legislative districts to the
legislature at the first regular session after its appointment or after the
census figures are available. Within 30 days after submission, the legislature
shall return the plan to the commission with its recommendations. Within 30 days
thereafter, the commission shall file its final plan for legislative districts
with the secretary of state and it shall become law.
Upon filing both plans, the commission is then dissolved.
(1) The executive branch includes a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of
state, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and auditor.
Each holds office for a term of four years which begins on the first
Monday of January next succeeding election, and until a successor is elected and
Each shall reside at the seat of government, there keep the public
records of his office, and perform such other duties as are provided in this
constitution and by law.
(1) The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general,
superintendent of public instruction, and auditor shall be elected by the
qualified electors at a general election provided by law.
Each candidate for governor shall file jointly with a candidate for
lieutenant governor in primary elections, or so otherwise comply with nomination
procedures provided by law that the offices of governor and lieutenant governor
are voted upon together in primary and general elections.
(1) No person shall be eligible to the office of governor, lieutenant governor,
secretary of state, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, or
auditor unless he is 25 years of age or older at the time of his election. In
addition, each shall be a citizen of the United States who has resided within
the state two years next preceding his election.
Any person with the foregoing qualifications is eligible to the office of
attorney general if an attorney in good standing admitted to practice law in
Montana who has engaged in the active practice thereof for at least five years
The superintendent of public instruction shall have such educational
qualifications as are provided by law.
(1) The executive power is vested in the governor who shall see that the laws
are faithfully executed. He shall have such other duties as are provided in this
constitution and by law.
The lieutenant governor shall perform the duties provided by law and
those delegated to him by the governor. No power specifically vested in the
governor by this constitution may be delegated to the lieutenant governor.
The secretary of state shall maintain official records of the executive
branch and of the acts of the legislature, as provided by law. He shall keep the
great seal of the state of Montana and perform any other duties provided by law.
The attorney general is the legal officer of the state and shall have the
duties and powers provided by law.
The superintendent of public instruction and the auditor shall have such
duties as are provided by law.
(1) Officers of the executive branch shall receive salaries provided by law.
During his term, no elected officer of the executive branch may hold
another public office or receive compensation for services from any other
governmental agency. He may be a candidate for any public office during his
6. Vacancy in office.
(1) If the office of lieutenant governor becomes vacant by his succession to the
office of governor, or by his death, resignation, or disability as determined by
law, the governor shall appoint a qualified person to serve in that office for
the remainder of the term. If both the elected governor and the elected
lieutenant governor become unable to serve in the office of governor, succession
to the respective offices shall be as provided by law for the period until the
next general election. Then, a governor and lieutenant governor shall be elected
to fill the remainder of the original term.
If the office of secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, or
superintendent of public instruction becomes vacant by death, resignation, or
disability as determined by law, the governor shall appoint a qualified person
to serve in that office until the next general election and until a successor is
elected and qualified. The person elected to fill a vacancy shall hold the
office until the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was elected.
7. 20 departments.
All executive and administrative offices, boards, bureaus, commissions, agencies
and instrumentalities of the executive branch (except for the office of
governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general,
superintendent of public instruction, and auditor) and their respective
functions, powers, and duties, shall be allocated by law among not more than 20
principal departments so as to provide an orderly arrangement in the
administrative organization of state government. Temporary commissions may be
established by law and need not be allocated within a department.
8. Appointing power.
(1) The departments provided for in section 7 shall be under the supervision of
the governor. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution or by law, each
department shall be headed by a single executive appointed by the governor
subject to confirmation by the senate to hold office until the end of the
governor's term unless sooner removed by the governor.
The governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the senate, all
officers provided for in this constitution or by law whose appointment or
election is not otherwise provided for. They shall hold office until the end of
the governor's term unless sooner removed by the governor.
If a vacancy occurs in any such office when the legislature is not in
session, the governor shall appoint a qualified person to discharge the duties
thereof until the office is filled by appointment and confirmation.
A person not confirmed by the senate for an office shall not, except at
its request, be nominated again for that office at the same session, or be
appointed to that office when the legislature is not in session.
9. Budget and messages.
The governor shall at the beginning of each legislative session, and may at
other times, give the legislature information and recommend measures he
considers necessary. The governor shall submit to the legislature at a time
fixed by law, a budget for the ensuing fiscal period setting forth in detail for
all operating funds the proposed expenditures and estimated revenue of the
10. Veto power.
(1) Each bill passed by the legislature, except bills proposing amendments to
the Montana constitution, bills ratifying proposed amendments to the United
States constitution, resolutions, and initiative and referendum measures, shall
be submitted to the governor for his signature. If he does not sign or veto the
bill within 10 days after its delivery to him, it shall become law. The governor
shall return a vetoed bill to the legislature with a statement of his reasons
The governor may return any bill to the legislature with his
recommendation for amendment. If the legislature passes the bill in accordance
with the governor's recommendation, it shall again return the bill to the
governor for his reconsideration. The governor shall not return a bill for
amendment a second time.
If after receipt of a veto message, two‑thirds of the members of
each house present approve the bill, it shall become law.
(a) If the legislature is not in
session when the governor vetoes a bill approved by two‑thirds of the
members present, he shall return the bill with his reasons therefor to the
secretary of state. The secretary of state shall poll the members of the
legislature by mail and shall send each member a copy of the governor's veto
message. If two‑thirds or more of the members of each house vote to
override the veto, the bill shall become law.
The legislature may reconvene as provided by law to reconsider any bill
vetoed by the governor when the legislature is not in session.
The governor may veto items in appropriation bills, and in such instances
the procedure shall be the same as upon veto of an entire bill.
11. Special session.
Whenever the governor considers it in the public interest, he may convene the
The governor may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, restore citizenship,
and suspend and remit fines and forfeitures subject to procedures provided by
(1) The governor is commander‑in‑chief of the militia forces of the
state, except when they are in the actual service of the United States. He may
call out any part or all of the forces to aid in the execution of the laws,
suppress insurrection, repel invasion, or protect life and property in natural
The militia forces shall consist of all able‑bodied citizens of the
state except those exempted by law.
(1) If the governor‑elect is disqualified or dies, the lieutenant
governor‑elect upon qualifying for the office shall become governor for
the full term. If the governor‑elect fails to assume office for any other
reason, the lieutenant governor‑elect upon qualifying as such shall serve
as acting governor until the governor‑elect is able to assume office, or
until the office becomes vacant.
The lieutenant governor shall serve as acting governor when so requested
in writing by the governor. After the governor has been absent from the state
for more than 45 consecutive days, the lieutenant governor shall serve as acting
He shall serve as acting governor when the governor is so disabled as to
be unable to communicate to the lieutenant governor the fact of his inability to
perform the duties of his office. The lieutenant governor shall continue to
serve as acting governor until the governor is able to resume the duties of his
Whenever, at any other time, the lieutenant governor and attorney general
transmit to the legislature their written declaration that the governor is
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the legislature shall
convene to determine whether he is able to do so.
If the legislature, within 21 days after convening, determines by
two‑thirds vote of its members that the governor is unable to discharge
the powers and duties of his office, the lieutenant governor shall serve as
acting governor. Thereafter, when the governor transmits to the legislature his
written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and
duties of his office within 15 days, unless the legislature determines otherwise
by two‑thirds vote of its members. If the legislature so determines, the
lieutenant governor shall continue to serve as acting governor.
If the office of governor becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation,
or disqualification, the lieutenant governor shall become governor for the
remainder of the term, except as provided in this constitution.
Additional succession to fill vacancies shall be provided by law.
When there is a vacancy in the office of governor, the successor shall be
the governor. The acting governor shall have the powers and duties of the office
of governor only for the period during which he serves.
15. Information for governor.
(1) The governor may require information in writing, under oath when required,
from the officers of the executive branch upon any subject relating to the
duties of their respective offices.
He may require information in writing, under oath, from all officers and
managers of state institutions.
He may appoint a committee to investigate and report to him upon the
condition of any executive office or state institution.
1. Judicial power.
The judicial power of the state is vested in one supreme court, district courts,
justice courts, and such other courts as may be provided by law.
2. Supreme court jurisdiction.
(1) The supreme court has appellate jurisdiction and may issue, hear, and
determine writs appropriate thereto. It has original jurisdiction to issue,
hear, and determine writs of habeas corpus and such other writs as may be
provided by law.
It has general supervisory control over all other courts.
It may make rules governing appellate procedure, practice and procedure
for all other courts, admission to the bar and the conduct of its members. Rules
of procedure shall be subject to disapproval by the legislature in either of the
two sessions following promulgation.
Supreme court process shall extend to all parts of the state.
3. Supreme court organization.
(1) The supreme court consists of one chief justice and four justices, but the
legislature may increase the number of justices from four to six. A majority
shall join in and pronounce decisions, which must be in writing.
A district judge shall be substituted for the chief justice or a justice
in the event of disqualification or disability, and the opinion of the district
judge sitting with the supreme court shall have the same effect as an opinion of
4. District court jurisdiction.
(1) The district court has original jurisdiction in all criminal cases amounting
to felony and all civil matters and cases at law and in equity. It may issue all
writs appropriate to its jurisdiction. It shall have the power of naturalization
and such additional jurisdiction as may be delegated by the laws of the United
States or the state of Montana. Its process shall extend to all parts of the
The district court shall hear appeals from inferior courts as trials anew
unless otherwise provided by law. The legislature may provide for direct review
by the district court of decisions of administrative agencies.
Other courts may have jurisdiction of criminal cases not amounting to
felony and such jurisdiction concurrent with that of the district court as may
be provided by law.
5. Justices of the peace.
(1) There shall be elected in each county at least one justice of the peace with
qualifications, training, and monthly compensation provided by law. There shall
be provided such facilities that they may perform their duties in dignified
Justice courts shall have such original jurisdiction as may be provided
by law. They shall not have trial jurisdiction in any criminal case designated a
felony except as examining courts.
The legislature may provide for additional justices of the peace in each
6. Judicial districts.
(1) The legislature shall divide the state into judicial districts and provide
for the number of judges in each district. Each district shall be formed of
compact territory and be bounded by county lines.
The legislature may change the number and boundaries of judicial
districts and the number of judges in each district, but no change in boundaries
or the number of districts or judges therein shall work a removal of any judge
from office during the term for which he was elected or appointed.
The chief justice may, upon request of the district judge, assign
district judges and other judges for temporary service from one district to
another, and from one county to another.
7. Terms and pay.
(1) All justices and judges shall be paid as provided by law, but salaries shall
not be diminished during terms of office.
Terms of office shall be eight years for supreme court justices, six
years for district court judges, four years for justices of the peace, and as
provided by law for other judges.
(1) Supreme court justices and district court judges shall be elected by the
qualified electors as provided by law.
For any vacancy in the office of supreme court justice or district court
judge, the governor shall appoint a replacement from nominees selected in the
manner provided by law. If the governor fails to appoint within thirty days
after receipt of nominees, the chief justice or acting chief justice shall make
the appointment from the same nominees within thirty days of the governor's
failure to appoint. Appointments made under this subsection shall be subject to
confirmation by the senate, as provided by law. If the appointee is not
confirmed, the office shall be vacant and a replacement shall be made under the
procedures provided for in this section. The appointee shall serve until the
election for the office as provided by law and until a successor is elected and
qualified. The person elected or retained at the election shall serve until the
expiration of the term for which his predecessor was elected. No appointee,
whether confirmed or unconfirmed, shall serve past the term of his predecessor
without standing for election.
If an incumbent files for election and there is no election contest for
the office, the name of the incumbent shall nevertheless be placed on the
general election ballot to allow the voters of the state or district to approve
or reject him. If an incumbent is rejected, the vacancy in the office for which
the election was held shall be filled as provided in subsection (2).
(1) A citizen of the United States who has resided in the state two years
immediately before taking office is eligible to the office of supreme court
justice or district court judge if admitted to the practice of law in Montana
for at least five years prior to the date of appointment or election.
Qualifications and methods of selection of judges of other courts shall be
provided by law.
No supreme court justice or district court judge shall solicit or receive
compensation in any form whatever on account of his office, except salary and
actual necessary travel expense.
Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, no supreme court
justice or district court judge shall practice law during his term of office,
engage in any other employment for which salary or fee is paid, or hold office
in a political party.
Supreme court justices shall reside within the state. During his term of
office, a district court judge shall reside in the district and a justice of the
peace shall reside in the county in which he is elected or appointed. The
residency requirement for every other judge must be provided by law.
10. Forfeiture of judicial
Any holder of a judicial position forfeits that position by either filing for an
elective public office other than a judicial position or absenting himself from
the state for more than 60 consecutive days.
11. Removal and discipline.
(1) The legislature shall create a judicial standards commission consisting of
five persons and provide for the appointment thereto of two district judges, one
attorney, and two citizens who are neither judges nor attorneys.
The commission shall investigate complaints, and make rules implementing
this section. It may subpoena witnesses and documents.
Upon recommendation of the commission, the supreme court may:
Retire any justice or judge for disability that seriously interferes with
the performance of his duties and is or may become permanent; or
Censure, suspend, or remove any justice or judge for willful misconduct
in office, willful and persistent failure to perform his duties, violation of
canons of judicial ethics adopted by the supreme court of the state of Montana,
or habitual intemperance.
The proceedings of the commission are confidential except as provided by
1. Tax purposes.
Taxes shall be levied by general laws for public purposes.
2. Tax power inalienable.
The power to tax shall never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away.
3. Property tax administration.
The state shall appraise, assess, and equalize the valuation of all property
which is to be taxed in the manner provided by law.
4. Equal valuation.
All taxing jurisdictions shall use the assessed valuation of property
established by the state.
5. Property tax exemptions.
(1) The legislature may exempt from taxation:
Property of the United States, the state, counties, cities, towns, school
districts, municipal corporations, and public libraries, but any private
interest in such property may be taxed separately.
Institutions of purely public charity, hospitals and places of burial not
used or held for private or corporate profit, places for actual religious
worship, and property used exclusively for educational purposes.
Any other classes of property.
The legislature may authorize creation of special improvement districts
for capital improvements and the maintenance thereof. It may authorize the
assessment of charges for such improvements and maintenance against tax exempt
property directly benefited thereby.
6. Highway revenue non-diversion.
(1) Revenue from gross vehicle weight fees and excise and license taxes (except
general sales and use taxes) on gasoline, fuel, and other energy sources used to
propel vehicles on public highways shall be used as authorized by the
legislature, after deduction of statutory refunds and adjustments, solely for:
Payment of obligations incurred for construction, reconstruction, repair,
operation, and maintenance of public highways, streets, roads, and bridges.
Payment of county, city, and town obligations on streets, roads, and
Enforcement of highway safety, driver education, tourist promotion, and
administrative collection costs.
Such revenue may be appropriated for other purposes by a
three‑fifths vote of the members of each house of the legislature.
7. Tax appeals.
The legislature shall provide independent appeal procedures for taxpayer
grievances about appraisals, assessments, equalization, and taxes. The
legislature shall include a review procedure at the local government unit level.
8. State debt.
No state debt shall be created unless authorized by a two‑thirds vote of
the members of each house of the legislature or a majority of the electors
voting thereon. No state debt shall be created to cover deficits incurred
because appropriations exceeded anticipated revenue.
9. Balanced budget.
Appropriations by the legislature shall not exceed anticipated revenue.
10. Local government debt.
The legislature shall by law limit debts of counties, cities, towns, and all
other local governmental entities.
11. Use of loan proceeds.
All money borrowed by or on behalf of the state or any county, city, town, or
other local governmental entity shall be used only for purposes specified in the
12. Strict accountability.
The legislature shall by law insure strict accountability of all revenue
received and money spent by the state and counties, cities, towns, and all other
local governmental entities.
13. Investment of public funds and
public retirement system and state compensation insurance fund assets.
(1) The legislature shall provide for a unified investment program for public
funds and public retirement system and state compensation insurance fund assets
and provide rules therefor, including supervision of investment of surplus funds
of all counties, cities, towns, and other local governmental entities. Each fund
forming a part of the unified investment program shall be separately identified.
Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), no public funds shall be invested
in private corporate capital stock. The investment program shall be audited at
least annually and a report thereof submitted to the governor and legislature.
The public school fund and the permanent funds of the Montana university
system and all other state institutions of learning shall be safely and
conservatively invested in:
Public securities of the state, its subdivisions, local government units,
and districts within the state, or
Bonds of the United States or other securities fully guaranteed as to
principal and interest by the United States, or
Such other safe investments bearing a fixed rate of interest as may be
provided by law.
Investment of public retirement system assets shall be managed in a
fiduciary capacity in the same manner that a prudent expert acting in a
fiduciary capacity and familiar with the circumstances would use in the conduct
of an enterprise of a similar character with similar aims. Public retirement
system assets may be invested in private corporate capital stock.
Investment of state compensation insurance fund assets shall be managed
in a fiduciary capacity in the same manner that a prudent expert acting in a
fiduciary capacity and familiar with the circumstances would use in the conduct
of a private insurance organization. State compensation insurance fund assets
may be invested in private corporate capital stock. However, the stock
investments shall not exceed 25 percent of the book value of the state
compensation insurance fund's total invested assets.
14. Prohibited payments.
Except for interest on the public debt, no money shall be paid out of the
treasury unless upon an appropriation made by law and a warrant drawn by the
proper officer in pursuance thereof.
15. Public retirement system
(1) Public retirement systems shall be funded on an actuarially sound basis.
Public retirement system assets, including income and actuarially required
contributions, shall not be encumbered, diverted, reduced, or terminated and
shall be held in trust to provide benefits to participants and their
beneficiaries and to defray administrative expenses.
The governing boards of public retirement systems shall administer the
system, including actuarial determinations, as fiduciaries of system
participants and their beneficiaries.
En. Sec. 2, Const. Amend. No. 25, approved Nov. 8, 1994.
16. Limitation on sales tax or use
The rate of a general statewide sales tax or use tax may not exceed 4%.
En. Sec. 1, Const. Amend. No. 27, approved Nov. 8, 1994.
AND NATURAL RESOURCES
1. Protection and improvement.
(1) The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful
environment in Montana for present and future generations.
The legislature shall provide for the administration and enforcement of
The legislature shall provide adequate remedies for the protection of the
environmental life support system from degradation and provide adequate remedies
to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources.
(1) All lands disturbed by the taking of natural resources shall be reclaimed.
The legislature shall provide effective requirements and standards for the
reclamation of lands disturbed.
The legislature shall provide for a fund, to be known as the resource
indemnity trust of the state of Montana, to be funded by such taxes on the
extraction of natural resources as the legislature may from time to time impose
for that purpose.
The principal of the resource indemnity trust shall forever remain
inviolate in an amount of one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000), guaranteed
by the state against loss or diversion.
3. Water rights.
(1) All existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful or beneficial
purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.
The use of all water that is now or may hereafter be appropriated for
sale, rent, distribution, or other beneficial use, the right of way over the
lands of others for all ditches, drains, flumes, canals, and aqueducts
necessarily used in connection therewith, and the sites for reservoirs necessary
for collecting and storing water shall be held to be a public use.
All surface, underground, flood, and atmospheric waters within the
boundaries of the state are the property of the state for the use of its people
and are subject to appropriation for beneficial uses as provided by law.
The legislature shall provide for the administration, control, and
regulation of water rights and shall establish a system of centralized records,
in addition to the present system of local records.
4. Cultural resources.
The legislature shall provide for the identification, acquisition, restoration,
enhancement, preservation, and administration of scenic, historic, archeologic,
scientific, cultural, and recreational areas, sites, records and objects, and
for their use and enjoyment by the people.
5. Severance tax on coal
‑‑ trust fund.
The legislature shall dedicate not less than one‑fourth (1/4) of the coal
severance tax to a trust fund, the interest and income from which may be
appropriated. The principal of the trust shall forever remain inviolate unless
appropriated by vote of three‑fourths (3/4) of the members of each house
of the legislature. After December 31, 1979, at least fifty percent (50%) of the
severance tax shall be dedicated to the trust fund.
En. Const. Amend. No. 3, 1976.
AND PUBLIC LANDS
1. Educational goals and duties.
(1) It is the goal of the people to establish a system of education which will
develop the full educational potential of each person. Equality of educational
opportunity is guaranteed to each person of the state.
The state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the
American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation
of their cultural integrity.
The legislature shall provide a basic system of free quality public
elementary and secondary schools. The legislature may provide such other
educational institutions, public libraries, and educational programs as it deems
desirable. It shall fund and distribute in an equitable manner to the school
districts the state's share of the cost of the basic elementary and secondary
2. Public school fund.
The public school fund of the state shall consist of: (1) Proceeds from the
school lands which have been or may hereafter be granted by the United States,
Lands granted in lieu thereof,
Lands given or granted by any person or corporation under any law or
grant of the United States,
All other grants of land or money made from the United States for general
educational purposes or without special purpose,
All interests in estates that escheat to the state,
All unclaimed shares and dividends of any corporation incorporated in the
All other grants, gifts, devises or bequests made to the state for
general educational purposes.
3. Public school fund inviolate.
The public school fund shall forever remain inviolate, guaranteed by the state
against loss or diversion.
4. Board of land commissioners.
The governor, superintendent of public instruction, auditor, secretary of state,
and attorney general constitute the board of land commissioners. It has the
authority to direct, control, lease, exchange, and sell school lands and lands
which have been or may be granted for the support and benefit of the various
state educational institutions, under such regulations and restrictions as may
be provided by law.
5. Public school fund revenue.
(1) Ninety‑five percent of all the interest received on the public school
fund and ninety‑five percent of all rent received from the leasing of
school lands and all other income from the public school fund shall be equitably
apportioned annually to public elementary and secondary school districts as
provided by law.
The remaining five percent of all interest received on the public school
fund, and the remaining five percent of all rent received from the leasing of
school lands and all other income from the public school fund shall annually be
added to the public school fund and become and forever remain an inseparable and
inviolable part thereof.
6. Aid prohibited to sectarian
(1) The legislature, counties, cities, towns, school districts, and public
corporations shall not make any direct or indirect appropriation or payment from
any public fund or monies, or any grant of lands or other property for any
sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college,
university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or
in part by any church, sect, or denomination.
This section shall not apply to funds from federal sources provided to
the state for the express purpose of distribution to non‑public education.
7. Nondiscrimination in education.
No religious or partisan test or qualification shall be required of any teacher
or student as a condition of admission into any public educational institution.
Attendance shall not be required at any religious service. No sectarian tenets
shall be advocated in any public educational institution of the state. No person
shall be refused admission to any public educational institution on account of
sex, race, creed, religion, political beliefs, or national origin.
8. School district trustees.
The supervision and control of schools in each school district shall be vested
in a board of trustees to be elected as provided by law.
9. Boards of education.
(1) There is a state board of education composed of the board of regents of
higher education and the board of public education. It is responsible for
long‑range planning, and for coordinating and evaluating policies and
programs for the state's educational systems. It shall submit unified budget
requests. A tie vote at any meeting may be broken by the governor, who is an ex
officio member of each component board.
(a) The government and control of
the Montana university system is vested in a board of regents of higher
education which shall have full power, responsibility, and authority to
supervise, coordinate, manage and control the Montana university system and
shall supervise and coordinate other public educational institutions assigned by
The board consists of seven members appointed by the governor, and
confirmed by the senate, to overlapping terms, as provided by law. The governor
and superintendent of public instruction are ex officio non‑voting members
of the board.
The board shall appoint a commissioner of higher education and prescribe
his term and duties.
The funds and appropriations under the control of the board of regents
are subject to the same audit provisions as are all other state funds.
(a) There is a board of public
education to exercise general supervision over the public school system and such
other public educational institutions as may be assigned by law. Other duties of
the board shall be provided by law.
The board consists of seven members appointed by the governor, and
confirmed by the senate, to overlapping terms as provided by law. The governor,
commissioner of higher education and state superintendent of public instruction
shall be ex officio non‑voting members of the board.
10. State university funds.
The funds of the Montana university system and of all other state institutions
of learning, from whatever source accruing, shall forever remain inviolate and
sacred to the purpose for which they were dedicated. The various funds shall be
respectively invested under such regulations as may be provided by law, and
shall be guaranteed by the state against loss or diversion. The interest from
such invested funds, together with the rent from leased lands or properties,
shall be devoted to the maintenance and perpetuation of the respective
11. Public land trust, disposition.
(1) All lands of the state that have been or may be granted by congress, or
acquired by gift or grant or devise from any person or corporation, shall be
public lands of the state. They shall be held in trust for the people, to be
disposed of as hereafter provided, for the respective purposes for which they
have been or may be granted, donated or devised.
No such land or any estate or interest therein shall ever be disposed of
except in pursuance of general laws providing for such disposition, or until the
full market value of the estate or interest disposed of, to be ascertained in
such manner as may be provided by law, has been paid or safely secured to the
No land which the state holds by grant from the United States which
prescribes the manner of disposal and minimum price shall be disposed of except
in the manner and for at least the price prescribed without the consent of the
All public land shall be classified by the board of land commissioners in
a manner provided by law. Any public land may be exchanged for other land,
public or private, which is equal in value and, as closely as possible, equal in
The term "local government units" includes, but is not limited to,
counties and incorporated cities and towns. Other local government units may be
established by law.
The counties of the state are those that exist on the date of ratification of
this constitution. No county boundary may be changed or county seat transferred
until approved by a majority of those voting on the question in each county
3. Forms of government.
(1) The legislature shall provide methods for governing local government units
and procedures for incorporating, classifying, merging, consolidating, and
dissolving such units, and altering their boundaries. The legislature shall
provide such optional or alternative forms of government that each unit or
combination of units may adopt, amend, or abandon an optional or alternative
form by a majority of those voting on the question.
One optional form of county government includes, but is not limited to,
the election of three county commissioners, a clerk and recorder, a clerk of
district court, a county attorney, a sheriff, a treasurer, a surveyor, a county
superintendent of schools, an assessor, a coroner, and a public administrator.
The terms, qualifications, duties, and compensation of those offices shall be
provided by law. The Board of county commissioners may consolidate two or more
such offices. The Boards of two or more counties may provide for a joint office
and for the election of one official to perform the duties of any such office in
4. General powers.
(1) A local government unit without self‑government powers has the
following general powers:
An incorporated city or town has the powers of a municipal corporation
and legislative, administrative, and other powers provided or implied by law.
A county has legislative, administrative, and other powers provided or
implied by law.
Other local government units have powers provided by law.
The powers of incorporated cities and towns and counties shall be
5. Self‑government charters.
(1) The legislature shall provide procedures permitting a local government unit
or combination of units to frame, adopt, amend, revise, or abandon a
self‑government charter with the approval of a majority of those voting on
the question. The procedures shall not require approval of a charter by a
If the legislature does not provide such procedures by July 1, 1975, they
may be established by election either:
Initiated by petition in the local government unit or combination of
Called by the governing body of the local government unit or combination
Charter provisions establishing executive, legislative, and
administrative structure and organization are superior to statutory provisions.
6. Self‑government powers.
A local government unit adopting a self‑government charter may exercise
any power not prohibited by this constitution, law, or charter. This grant of
self‑government powers may be extended to other local government units
through optional forms of government provided for in section 3.
7. Intergovernmental cooperation.
(1) Unless prohibited by law or charter, a local government unit may
cooperate in the exercise of any function, power, or responsibility with,
share the services of any officer or facilities with,
transfer or delegate any function, power, responsibility, or duty of any
officer to one or more other local government units, school districts, the
state, or the United States.
The qualified electors of a local government unit may, by initiative or
referendum, require it to do so.
8. Initiative and referendum.
The legislature shall extend the initiative and referendum powers reserved to
the people by the constitution to the qualified electors of each local
9. Voter review of local
(1) The legislature shall, within four years of the ratification of this
constitution, provide procedures requiring each local government unit or
combination of units to review its structure and submit one alternative form of
government to the qualified electors at the next general or special election.
The legislature shall require an election in each local government to
determine whether a local government will undertake a review procedure once
every ten years after the first election. Approval by a majority of those voting
in the decennial general election on the question of undertaking a local
government review is necessary to mandate the election of a local government
study commission. Study commission members shall be elected during any regularly
scheduled election in local governments mandating their election.
(1) The legislature shall provide for a Department of Agriculture and enact laws
and provide appropriations to protect, enhance, and develop all agriculture.
Special levies may be made on livestock and on agricultural commodities
for disease control and indemnification, predator control, and livestock and
commodity inspection, protection, research, and promotion. Revenue derived shall
be used solely for the purposes of the levies.
(1) The legislature shall provide for a Department of Labor and Industry, headed
by a Commissioner appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
A maximum period of 8 hours is a regular day's work in all industries and
employment except agriculture and stock raising. The legislature may change this
maximum period to promote the general welfare.
3. Institutions and assistance.
(1) The state shall establish and support institutions and facilities as the
public good may require, including homes which may be necessary and desirable
for the care of veterans.
Persons committed to any such institutions shall retain all rights except
those necessarily suspended as a condition of commitment. Suspended rights are
restored upon termination of the state's responsibility.
The legislature may provide such economic assistance and social and
rehabilitative services for those who, by reason of age, infirmities, or
misfortune are determined by the legislature to be in need.
The legislature may set eligibility criteria for programs and services,
as well as for the duration and level of benefits and services.
4. Montana tobacco settlement trust
The legislature shall dedicate not less than two‑fifths of any tobacco
settlement proceeds received on or after January 1, 2001, to a trust fund,
nine‑tenths of the interest and income of which may be appropriated.
One‑tenth of the interest and income derived from the trust fund on or
after January 1, 2001, shall be deposited in the trust fund. The principal of
the trust fund and one‑tenth of the interest and income deposited in the
trust fund shall remain forever inviolate unless appropriated by a vote of
two‑thirds of the members of each house of the legislature.
Appropriations of the interest, income, or principal from the trust fund
shall be used only for tobacco disease prevention programs and state programs
providing benefits, services, or coverage that are related to the health care
needs of the people of Montana and may not be used for other purposes.
Appropriations of the interest, income, or principal from the trust fund
shall not be used to replace state or federal money used to fund tobacco disease
prevention programs and state programs that existed on December 31, 1999,
providing benefits, services, or coverage of the health care needs of the people
1. Nonmunicipal corporations.
(1) Corporate charters shall be granted, modified, or dissolved only pursuant to
The legislature shall provide protection and education for the people
against harmful and unfair practices by either foreign or domestic corporations,
individuals, or associations.
The legislature shall pass no law retrospective in its operations which
imposes on the people a new liability in respect to transactions or
considerations already passed.
2. Consumer counsel.
The legislature shall provide for an office of consumer counsel which shall have
the duty of representing consumer interests in hearings before the public
service commission or any other successor agency. The legislature shall provide
for the funding of the office of consumer counsel by a special tax on the net
income or gross revenues of regulated companies.
Sec. 1, Const. Amend. No. 16, 1986.
4. Code of ethics.
The legislature shall provide a code of ethics prohibiting conflict between
public duty and private interest for members of the legislature and all state
and local officers and employees.
5. Exemption laws.
The legislature shall enact liberal homestead and exemption laws.
No perpetuities shall be allowed except for charitable purposes.
1. Constitutional convention.
The legislature, by an affirmative vote of two‑thirds of all the members,
whether one or more bodies, may at any time submit to the qualified electors the
question of whether there shall be an unlimited convention to revise, alter, or
amend this constitution.
2. Initiative for constitutional
(1) The people may by initiative petition direct the secretary of state to
submit to the qualified electors the question of whether there shall be an
unlimited convention to revise, alter, or amend this constitution. The petition
shall be signed by at least ten percent of the qualified electors of the state.
That number shall include at least ten percent of the qualified electors in each
of two‑fifths of the legislative districts.
The secretary of state shall certify the filing of the petition in his
office and cause the question to be submitted at the next general election.
3. Periodic submission.
If the question of holding a convention is not otherwise submitted during any
period of 20 years, it shall be submitted as provided by law at the general
election in the twentieth year following the last submission.
4. Call of convention.
If a majority of those voting on the question answer in the affirmative, the
legislature shall provide for the calling thereof at its next session. The
number of delegates to the convention shall be the same as that of the larger
body of the legislature. The qualifications of delegates shall be the same as
the highest qualifications required for election to the legislature. The
legislature shall determine whether the delegates may be nominated on a partisan
or a non‑partisan basis. They shall be elected at the same places and in
the same districts as are the members of the legislative body determining the
number of delegates.
5. Convention expenses.
The legislature shall, in the act calling the convention, designate the day,
hour, and place of its meeting, and fix and provide for the pay of its members
and officers and the necessary expenses of the convention.
6. Oath, vacancies.
Before proceeding, the delegates shall take the oath provided in this
constitution. Vacancies occurring shall be filled in the manner provided for
filling vacancies in the legislature if not otherwise provided by law.
7. Convention duties.
The convention shall meet after the election of the delegates and prepare such
revisions, alterations, or amendments to the constitution as may be deemed
necessary. They shall be submitted to the qualified electors for ratification or
rejection as a whole or in separate articles or amendments as determined by the
convention at an election appointed by the convention for that purpose not less
than two months after adjournment. Unless so submitted and approved by a
majority of the electors voting thereon, no such revision, alteration, or
amendment shall take effect.
8. Amendment by legislative
Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by any member of the
legislature. If adopted by an affirmative roll call vote of two‑thirds of
all the members thereof, whether one or more bodies, the proposed amendment
shall be submitted to the qualified electors at the next general election. If
approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, the amendment shall
become a part of this constitution on the first day of July after certification
of the election returns unless the amendment provides otherwise.
9. Amendment by initiative.
(1) The people may also propose constitutional amendments by initiative.
Petitions including the full text of the proposed amendment shall be signed by
at least ten percent of the qualified electors of the state. That number shall
include at least ten percent of the qualified electors in each of
two‑fifths of the legislative districts.
The petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state. If the
petitions are found to have been signed by the required number of electors, the
secretary of state shall cause the amendment to be published as provided by law
twice each month for two months previous to the next regular state‑wide
At that election, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the
qualified electors for approval or rejection. If approved by a majority voting
thereon, it shall become a part of the constitution effective the first day of
July following its approval, unless the amendment provides otherwise.
10. Petition signers.
The number of qualified electors required for the filing of any petition
provided for in this Article shall be determined by the number of votes cast for
the office of governor in the preceding general election.
If more than one amendment is submitted at the same election, each shall be so
prepared and distinguished that it can be voted upon separately.
in open convention at the city of Helena, in the state of Montana, this
twenty‑second day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine
hundred and seventy‑two.
Graybill, Jr., President; Jean M. Bowman, Secretary; Magnus Aasheim; John H.
Anderson, Jr.; Oscar L. Anderson; Harold Arbanas; Franklin Arness; Cedor B.
Aronow; William H. Artz; Thomas M. Ask; Betty Babcock; Lloyd Barnard; Grace C.
Bates; Don E. Belcher; Ben E. Berg, Jr.; E. M. Berthelson; Chet Blaylock;
Virginia H. Blend; Geoffrey L. Brazier; Bruce M. Brown; Daphne Bugbee; William
A. Burkhardt; Marjorie Cain; Bob Campbell; Jerome J. Cate; Richard J. Champoux;
Lyman W. Choate; Max Conover; C. Louise Cross; Wade J. Dahood; Carl M. Davis;
Douglas Delaney; Maurice Driscoll; Dave Drum; Dorothy Eck; Marian S. Erdmann;
Leslie Eskildsen; Mark Etchart; James R. Felt; Donald R. Foster; Noel D.
Furlong; J. C. Garlington; E. S. Gysler; Otto T. Habedank; Rod Hanson; R. S.
Hanson; Gene Harbaugh; Paul K. Harlow; George Harper; Daniel W. Harrington;
George B. Heliker; David L. Holland; Arnold W. Jacobsen; George H. James; Torrey
B. Johnson; Thomas F. Joyce; A. W. Kamhoot; Robert Lee Kelleher; John H.
Leuthold; Jerome T. Loendorf; Peter "Pete" Lorello; Joseph H. McCarvel;
Russell C. McDonough; Mike McKeon; Charles B. McNeil; Charles H. Mahoney;
Rachell K. Mansfield; Fred J. Martin; J. Mason Melvin; Lyle R. Monroe; Marshall
Murray; Robert B. Noble; Richard A. Nutting; Mrs. Thomas Payne; Catherine
Pemberton; Donald Rebal; Arlyne E. Reichert; Mrs. Mae Nan Robinson; Richard B.
Roeder; George W. Rollins; Miles Romney; Sterling Rygg; Don Scanlin; John M.
Schiltz; Henry Siderius; Clark E. Simon; Carman M. Skari; M. Lynn Sparks; Lucile
Speer; R. J. Studer, Sr.; Mrs. John Justin (Veronica) Sullivan; William H.
Swanberg; John H. Toole; Mrs. Edith M. Van Buskirk; Robert Vermillion; Roger A.
Wagner; Jack K. Ward; Margaret S. Warden; Archie O. Wilson; Robert F. Woodmansey.
The following provisions shall remain part of this Constitution until their
terms have been executed. Once each year the attorney general shall review the
following provisions and certify to the secretary of state which, if any, have
been executed. Any provisions so certified shall thereafter be removed from this
Schedule and no longer published as part of this Constitution.
1. Accelerated effective date.
Executed (certified by letter, December 4, 1974).
2. Delayed effective date.
Executed (certified by letter, December 4, 1974).
3. Prospective operation of
declaration of rights.
Any rights, procedural or substantive, created for the first time by Article II
shall be prospective and not retroactive.
4. Terms of judiciary.
Executed (certified by letter, December 20, 1978).
5. Terms of legislators.
Executed (certified by letter, February 22, 1977).
6. General transition.
(1) The rights and duties of all public bodies shall remain as if this
Constitution had not been adopted with the exception of such changes as are
contained in this Constitution. All laws, ordinances, regulations, and rules of
court not contrary to, or inconsistent with, the provisions of this Constitution
shall remain in force, until they shall expire by their own limitation or shall
be altered or repealed pursuant to this Constitution.
The validity of all public and private bonds, debts, and contracts, and
of all suits, actions, and rights of action, shall continue as if no change had
Executed (certified by letter, February 22, 1977).
This information is provided for reference only. This
information was current when published, however The Lake County Directory is not
responsible for out-of-date information. The Lake County Directory accepts
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contact us to
receive proper credit or have the information removed. The Lake County
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