The Legislative Services Division is providing a one-stop answer shop for many of the questions bombarding legislators and all Montanans right now including business closures, unemployment, federal relief, and everyday services affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
State government continues to function and the Executive Branch COVID-19 website has the most recent information on COVID-19, but this is a place to learn about important changes affecting the citizens of Montana. Legislative researchers combed through agency websites and contacted state officials to compile overviews of state services affected and not affected by the pandemic. The video, as well as written updates and overviews, are available here.
For example, the Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection is addressing price-gouging complaints. Fish, Wildlife, & Parks is providing online fishing applications. Additional details are available through the various agency pages. Legislative staff continue to monitor agency activity, will update the web pages regularly, and report to interim legislative committees.
The website also answers other common questions about these uncommon times: one page focuses on the Governor's Emergency Order and executive and legislative authority, a second is dedicated to the federal CARES Act and the role of the Legislature, and the third FAQ focuses on unemployment insurance and information useful to Montana businesses. Information covered in the FAQ pages ranges from what is the authority of a local school district board of trustees under an emergency order to legislative and executive authority to make emergency expenditures under the CARES Act. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or H.R. 748) provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Additional resources compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) also is available to legislators. The materials address how legislatures in other states are responding to the pandemic.
For more information, please contact the Legislative Services Division. Staff remains ready to answer your questions. Phones have been forwarded and researchers, attorneys, and other analysts can be contacted directly. The main phone line remains operational, (406) 444-3064.