Viewpoint: Gianforte’s veto of landmark, bipartisan bill a slap in the face
As the President and Board Chair of the Montana Wildlife Federation, I am deeply disappointed by Governor Gianforte's veto of Senate Bill 442. SB 442 is a landmark bill that addresses the needs of Montanans, preserves our natural resources, protects hunting and fishing opportunities, and supports our veterans.
It garnered support from conservation organizations, county commissioners, veteran groups, healthcare associations, and over 130 legislators.
Despite receiving 86% support from our state legislators, Gov. Gianforte vetoed SB 442 without proper notification to the legislature. His veto was not read across the rostrum before the Senate adjourned. This disregard for our legislative process is not aligned with the values we hold dear as Montanans.
According to our constitution, if the Governor vetoes a bill while the Legislature is not in session, the Secretary of State is responsible for polling the legislature by mail. If both houses pass the bill by a two-thirds vote, it overrides the veto.
In response to a petition delivered by MWF and several other conservation organizations, Secretary Christi Jacobsen said that she cannot poll legislators until Gov. Gianforte delivers a veto notice to her office. The petition was signed by over 2,500 concerned citizens in just one weekend, illustrating the broad support for SB 442 and its investments in wildlife, rural communities and veterans.
I urge all Montanans to hold our elected officials accountable and let our legislators vote to override the governor’s veto of SB 442. The majority of Montana citizens through their representatives want this bill to pass.
The Governor works for the citizens of Montana. Call the governor's office, write op-eds, and unite to ensure that our voices are heard and that Montanans interests are prioritized.