THE 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
Section 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.
Section 2. Self-government. 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.
Section 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 corresponding responsibilities.
Section 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.
Section 5. Freedom of religion. The state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Section 6. Freedom of assembly. The people shall have the right peaceably to assemble, petition for redress or peaceably protest governmental action.
Section 7. Freedom of speech, expression, and press. 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 interest.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 17. Due process of law. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
Section 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 legislature.
Section 19. Habeas corpus. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended.
Section 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 leave.
Section 21. Bail. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.
Section 22. Excessive sanctions. Excessive bail shall not be required, or excessive fines imposed, or cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Section 23. Detention. 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.
Section 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.
Section 25. Self-incrimination and double jeopardy. 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 32. Civilian control of the
military. 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.
Section 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.
Section 35. Servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans. The people declare that Montana servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans may be given special considerations determined by the legislature.
Section 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 operation.
Section 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.
Section 4. Initiative. (1) The
people may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations
of money and local or special laws.
Section 5. Referendum. (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.
Section 6. Elections. The people shall vote on initiative and referendum measures at the general election unless the legislature orders a special election.
Section 7. Number of electors.
(1) 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
Section 8. Prohibition. The provisions of this Article do not apply to CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION, Article XIV.
Section 9. Gambling. All forms of gambling, lotteries, and gift enterprises are prohibited unless authorized by acts of the legislature or by the people through initiative or referendum.
Section 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.
Section 3. Elections. 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 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:
Section 2. Size. 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.
Section 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 years.
Section 4. Qualifications. 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 county.
Section 5. Compensation. Each member of the legislature shall receive compensation for his services and allowances provided by law. No legislature may fix its own compensation.
Section 6. Sessions. 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.
Section 7. Vacancies. A vacancy in the legislature shall be filled by special election for the unexpired term unless otherwise provided by law.
Section 8. Immunity.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.
Section 9. Disqualification. 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.
Section 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 members.
Section 11. Bills. (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 voting.
Section 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.
Section 13. Impeachment. (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
Section 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.
Section 2. Election. (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.
Section 3. Qualifications. (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
Section 4. Duties. (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.
Section 5. Compensation. (1)
Officers of the executive branch shall receive salaries provided by
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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 state.
Section 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 therefor.
Section 11. Special session. Whenever the governor considers it in the public interest, he may convene the legislature.
Section 12. Pardons. The governor may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, restore citizenship, and suspend and remit fines and forfeitures subject to procedures provided by law.
Section 13. Militia. (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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 state.
Section 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 surroundings.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 8. Selection. (1) Supreme
court justices and district court judges shall be elected by the qualified
electors as provided by law.
Section 9. Qualifications. (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.
Section 10. Forfeiture of judicial position. 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.
Section 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.
Section 2. Tax power inalienable. The power to tax shall never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away.
Section 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.
Section 4. Equal valuation. All taxing jurisdictions shall use the assessed valuation of property established by the state.
Section 5. Property tax
exemptions. (1) The legislature may exempt from taxation:
Section 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:
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 9. Balanced budget. Appropriations by the legislature shall not exceed anticipated revenue.
Section 10. Local government debt. The legislature shall by law limit debts of counties, cities, towns, and all other local governmental entities.
Section 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 authorizing law.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 15. Public retirement system
assets. (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
Section 16. Limitation on sales tax or
use tax rates. The rate of a general statewide sales tax or use tax
may not exceed 4%.
Section 2. Reclamation. (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.
Section 3. Water rights. (1) All
existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful or beneficial
purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 6. Noxious weed management
trust fund. (1) The legislature shall provide for a fund, to be known
as the noxious weed management trust of the state of Montana, to be funded
as provided by law.
Section 7. Preservation of harvest
heritage. The opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals
is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens
of the state and does not create a right to trespass on private property
or diminution of other private rights.
Section 2. Public school fund. The
public school fund of the state shall consist of:
Section 3. Public school fund inviolate. The public school fund shall forever remain inviolate, guaranteed by the state against loss or diversion.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 6. Aid prohibited to
sectarian schools. (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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 institutions.
Section 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.
Section 2. Counties. 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 affected.
Section 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
Section 4. General powers. (1) A
local government unit without self-government powers has the following
Section 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 legislative body.
Section 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.
Section 7. Intergovernmental
cooperation. (1) Unless prohibited by law or charter, a local
government unit may
Section 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 government unit.
Section 9. Voter review of local
government. (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.
Section 2. Labor. (1) The
legislature shall provide for a Department of Labor and Industry, headed
by a Commissioner appointed by the governor and confirmed by the
Section 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.
Section 4. Montana tobacco settlement
trust fund. (1) 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
Section 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.
Section 3. Repealed. Sec. 1, Const. Amend. No. 16, approved Nov. 4, 1986.
Section 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.
Section 5. Exemption laws. The legislature shall enact liberal homestead and exemption laws.
Section 6. Perpetuities. No perpetuities shall be allowed except for charitable purposes.
Section 7. Marriage. Only a
marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a
marriage in this state.
Section 2. Initiative for
constitutional convention. (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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 8. Amendment by legislative referendum. 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.
Section 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 at least one-half of the counties.
Section 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.
Section 11. Submission. 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.
Done 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.
Transition Schedule. 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.
Section 1. Accelerated effective date. Executed (certified by letter, December 4, 1974).
Section 2. Delayed effective date. Executed (certified by letter, December 4, 1974).
Section 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.
Section 4. Terms of judiciary. Executed (certified by letter, December 20, 1978).
Section 5. Terms of legislators. Executed (certified by letter, February 22, 1977).
Section 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
September 8, 2005
Download the constitution. This file is in Microsoft Word format.
Provided by Montana Legislative Services
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