Drafting Bills

Drafting Bills

Who May Request Bills

Legislators and committees of the Legislature may officially request the drafting of bills. Legislative Services Division staff draft all bills to ensure they comply with bill drafting requirements.

Legislators may request bill drafts subject to the following:

  • Holdover senators (those not required to run for re-election) may request bill drafts at any time; bill drafting begins in earnest the September preceding a session. List of holdover senators and unopposed legislators. After candidate-filing for the Legislature closes or after the primary election, legislators may begin to request bill drafts if they are running unopposed.
  • After the general election, all legislators, including holdover senators, unopposed legislators, and newly elected legislators, may request an unlimited number of bills or resolutions to be drafted before 5 p.m. on December 5 preceding a regular session.
  • After 5 p.m. on December 5, legislators may request no more than 7 bill drafts, at least 5 of which must be requested before the session convenes.
  • After December 5, legislators may grant unused bill draft requests to other legislators.

These restrictions do not apply to bills proposed by the Code Commissioner in the Legislative Services Division, bills or resolutions requested by standing committees, or bills or resolutions requested on behalf of newly elected state officials.

Bill Draft Deadlines

There are deadlines by which legislators must request the drafting of certain types of bills:

Bill Type Legislative Day
(5 p.m.)
General bills & resolutions
12
Revenue bills
17
Committee bills & resolutions
36
Committee revenue bills
62
Committee bills implementing provisions of a general appropriations act
75
Interim study resolutions
75

How to Request Bill Drafts

To request a bill draft, legislators should fill out a “Bill Drafting Request” form (also available from the Legislative Services Division). Each bill draft request is assigned to a staff attorney or research analyst based on experience and workload. The first five requests legislators submit are drafted for legislators before a drafter may work on a legislator's sixth request. Click here for more information on prioritizing bill requests. The drafter is an impartial technician whose function is to translate a legislator's objectives and policy ideas into clear, concise, and unambiguous language. Legislators should submit bill draft request forms to:

Montana Legislative Services Division
P.O. Box 201706
Room 110, State Capitol
Helena, MT 59620-1706
(406) 444-3064
Fax: (406) 444-3036
E-mail: teverts@mt.gov

Bill Drafting Process for Legislators

For State Agency Use

Microsoft Word Bill Drafting Macros and Templates: The Microsoft Word templates may be used to format bills, insert standard language, and retrieve MCA sections.

The Word templates require a connection to the Internet to retrieve Bill Sections. The Word template may be opened from the Internet or downloaded, you will save the resulting bill locally under a different name. Read the following Bill Drafting Template User Guide before installing and running the Microsoft Word Macro enabled Template.

For Help Using These Templates: Contact the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD), Department of Administration, 406-444-2000.

MS Word version 2013 and 2016: Bill Drafting Template User Guide - Template