The Great Seal of the State of Montana

Legislative Session and Lobbying

Citizens Guide: How to Get Involved 

You have the constitutionally-protected right to have your voice heard by your elected officials.

The Constitutions of the United States and of the State of Montana ensure every citizen the right to speak on every public issue and to be heard by officials at every level of government.

The Montana Legislature extends that right to any bill (which includes any resolution). Montana’s Legislature functions in a completely open atmosphere. After full consideration and with comments and advice from the public, every vote by committee and by either house must be a public vote.

To learn more about the 2019 legislative session, the best resource is the Montana Legislative Branch website. At this website, you can find information about the status and substance of a bill, who your legislators are and how to contact them, livestream hearings, and more! Make sure to check out their 'Guide to the Montana Legislature' and their guide on how to make your voice heard.

Lobbying Information

The Commissioner of Political Practices also makes information about lobbying money in Montana publicly available. Any member of the public can see who is registered as a lobbyist, who is a principal (a person or entity that pays lobbyists to lobby on their behalf), and how money is spent to influence legislation and legislators.

See a list of registered principals and lobbyists for the 2019 legislative session here as an excel doc or here as a PDF.

To see how money is spent, there are two databases to reference:

One database stores lobbying reports that are submitted digitally via the lobbying database. These digital reports from 2009-2019 can be found in our electronic database. Reports that are filed as paper hardcopies or are emailed or faxed are available (along with digital reports) on our 2009-2019 digitized hard copy platform.

You can also learn more about lobbying in Montana with our Lobbying Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

 

Do you plan to lobby?

If so, first review and know all the information on this 2019 Lobbying Guide, which includes information on how to register, details on required financial reports, and more. Then check out our Lobbying FAQs for answers to popular questions!

Register and File L-5 Financial Reports

- Lobbying database (Register as a lobbyist or principal, and submit L-5 reports)
          * Principal's Guide  to register in the database
          * Lobbyist's Guide to register in the database
- L-5 Lobbying Financial Report guide, PDF guide
Digital PDF L-5 lobbying financial report (can be mailed to emailed to the COPP)
- Reporting Calendars
- Forms for Lobbyists and Principals
- All lobbying reports are uploaded and publicly accessible in one of two databases. One database stores lobbying reports that are submitted digitally via the lobbying database. These digital reports from 2009-2019 can be found in our electronic database. Reports that are filed as paper hardcopies or are emailed or faxed are available on our 2009-2019 digitized hard copy platform.

Laws, Rules, and Complaint Information

- Lobbying Laws (MCA)
- Lobbying Administrative Rules (ARM)
- Docket of Formal Complaints
- Complaint Procedure
- Decisions
- Advisory Opinions

Post-Session Lobbying Report Due Dates

*All legislative lobbying expenses must be reported. This means, for example, that if you do not spend $5,000 in February and March, and thus do not submit an L-5 report on 3/15 and 4/15, you must report all of your expenses from February 1 through the end of the session in the "end of session report."

  1. 1-POSSIBLE REPORTS: After the session, any time $5,000 or more is spent on lobbying activities in a single month, an L-5 must be filed on the 15th of the following month. The report must also retroactively include any previous expenses from months were $5,000 or more was NOT spent. For example, if a principal spends $2,000 in June and $5,000 in July, they must file a monthly L-5 on August 15th. This report would cover all June and July expenses and activity. Please see MCA 5-7-208. If $5,000 is not spent in a single month after the legislative session concludes, an L-5 Year End Session Report is required to be filed by February 15, 2020. All post-session lobbying activity and expenses must be disclosed in this L-5 report. Please see MCA 5-7-208.

  2. 2- REQUIRED REPORT: February 15, 2020: Year-end Session L-5 report required if any lobbying activity or expenses occurred during the 2019 session or after the 2019 session's adjournment. If a principal terminated their lobbyist by the end of the legislative session, and no other lobbyists are active, this report is not required.   If a principal does not have any lobbying activity after the legislative session and they did not terminate all lobbyists by the end of the session, they must file the L-5 Year End Session Report stating that no activity or expenses occurred. Please see MCA 5-7-208.

 Lobbying Guides for Government Employees

General Lobbying Guide for Government Employees
2019 State Agency Employee Lobbying Guide

Lobbyist and Principal Forms

These forms can be submitted through the below fillable PDF links and work best in the Internet Explorer browser. These forms can also be printed off and mailed to the COPP office at P.O. BOX 202401, Helena, MT 59620-2401. Reference this Guide to Required Lobbying Form to see sample scenarios.

Form L-1, Lobbyist License Application
Form L-2, Principal Authorization Statement
Form L-3, Principal Registration Application 
Form L-5, Lobbying Financial Report
Lobbyist License Fee Waiver Request

List of Registered Principals and Lobbyists for 2019-2020

  • Excel sheet or PDF with 2019-2020 registered principals and lobbyists (and L-5 dates)