(HELENA) With a special state legislative session scheduled to start next week, the Montana Legislative Services Division is already working to be ready when lawmakers arrive in Helena.
Executive director Susan Fox said Legislative Services started planning several weeks ago, when state leaders first started suggesting a special session.
“We looked to past special sessions for guidance and to see what they did,” she said.
Now, they’re working to make sure the State Capitol print shop and the technology around the building are ready for drafting and amending bills.
Fox said Legislative Services is trying to operate as efficiently – and inexpensively – as possible during the special session. The division will bring in about the quarter of the temporary staff it would have for a regular legislative session.
“Oftentimes, people live out of town, and it’s silly to bring them in just for a couple of days,” said Fox.
Permanent staff members will fill in to cover the remaining positions. Relatively few bills are being drafted and not all the typical standing committees are meeting, so Fox said some people who usually work as committee secretaries and researchers will be available.
Despite the differences behind the scenes, Fox said people shouldn’t notice many changes.
“The public should see all the services that they’re used to seeing, and legislators as well, for a special session as we do for a regular session,” she said.
Television Montana will continue to stream hearings and floor sessions online. The state General Services Division will again operate its Capitol Shuttle service, though it will pick passengers up from Jorgenson’s instead of the Capital Hill Mall.
Fox said lawmakers will be paid for each day of the special session, starting Tuesday. They will also be paid if they take part in hearings before the session officially starts, and they will be reimbursed for their travel costs.