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Montana House adopts rules for the session
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Montana House adopts rules for the session

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The Montana House of Representatives

The Montana House of Representatives holds a floor session in the state Capitol.

The state House on Wednesday adopted the rules it will operate under this session, ending up with a set of operating procedures that the Republican chair of the House Rules Committee said was reached after a lot of work.

"Nothing's ever perfect, but this is pretty close," Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, said Wednesday.

Before the start of the session, division within Republicans on the House Rules Committee led to a set of proposals that would have consolidated power with the speaker of the House and committee chairs failed. That happened through opposition by some Republicans and all Democrats on the committee.

The House was working temporarily under last session's rules before approving this session's version, which raises the threshold of votes needed for some maneuvers.

Rep. Ed Buttrey, a Great Falls Republican, said the rules were good and asked for the support of the House. All Republicans and one Democrat voted for the resolution, which was adopted on a 68-32 vote.

In opposition to the rules, Rep. Robert Farris-Olsen, D-Helena, said while the end product was better than what was proposed at the start of the session, he still felt the changes consolidated too much power with the majority party.

Raising the threshold to do things like change the membership of a committee from a requiring a simple majority vote of the House to a three-fifths majority vote makes it harder for the minority party to partner with a sect of Republicans to make changes.

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