At its first meeting of the interim, the State Administration and Veterans’ Affairs Interim Committee (SAVA) elected officers, set its work plan priorities, and adopted a meeting schedule for planning purposes.

Rep. Wendy McKamey (R-Great Falls) was elected presiding officer.  Sen. Janet Ellis (D-Helena) was elected vice presiding officer.

This interim, rather than the typical eight-member committee of four members from each chamber of the legislature, the legislature authorized the appointment of two additional members from the house, for a total of 10 members. The committee remains bi-partisan with five republican members and five democrat members.  In adopting rules of procedure, the committee voted to not allow proxy voting if a member is absent. The committee also decided that all voting would be conducted by chamber, which means it will take both a majority of house members and a majority of senate members for a motion to pass.

In executive action on study topics and how to allocate staff time, the committee voted to allocate staff time as follows: a quarter of staff time to the HJ 3 study of accessibility for disabled electors, which is to incorporate related information on election security and the use of the $3 million federal Help America Vote Act money and Montana’s $150,000 matching funds; a quarter of staff time to the HJ 23 study of the structure and funding of the Montana Veterans’ Affairs Division and the role of the state and counties in providing benefit claims services to Montana’s veterans; a quarter of staff time to the committee’s statutory agency oversight duties, with most of that time devoted to oversight of the public pension plans; and the remaining quarter of staff time among various emerging issues and topics of interest to committee members. 

The additional topics of interest to committee members include state lobbying laws, implementation of the 2018 Legislative Referendum No. 129 called the Ballot Interference Prevention Act (BIPA), protocols concerning when and how the state flag is to be flown at the state Capitol, implementation of the new law legalizing sports wagering, construction of the the Montana Heritage Center, and signature requirements for ballot qualification.

Based on these work plan priorities, legislative staff will prepare for committee action at its next meeting a more detailed study plan, which will incorporate the following tentative meeting schedule:

Sept. 3, 2019
Oct. 29, 2019
Dec. 3, 2019
Jan. 17, 2020
Feb. 27, 2020
March 25, 2020
June 17, 2020
Aug. 25, 2020
Oct. 29, 2020

For more information about the committee’s activities, interested person may visit the committee’s website at or contact the committee’s staff, Sheri Scurr, at 406-444-3596 or   

The Legislative News.