Tracking down the decision makers of 2019

Chelcie Cargill
Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Thursday, January 3, 2019

Guest Commentary

You’ve heard the expression, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

We know this is true. In the life of an idea becoming legislation, there are a few key people that you need to know in order to make your voice for agriculture most effective.

In last week’s column, we talked about the importance of using this time before the 2019 Montana Legislature goes into session to “prep the soil” and get to know your local elected officials. While it is important to have a relationship with your own legislators, they may not be on the committee you need to be chatting with. So, it’s time to expand your circle of influence.

Here’s why: bill drafts may be requested by any legislator. Once the bill is introduced, it is referred to a committee for its first hearing. If the bill passes its first committee, it gets sent to the floor of the respective house for debate and a vote. Once the bill has been passed by the committee and floor of the first House, it is transferred to the second House and the process starts all over again in that House’s committee.

In order for an idea to become law it has to make its way through both its pertinent House and Senate committees. This is where citizens can come to testify and have their voices heard on an issue.  

So let’s cut to the chase. These are the people you need to know on the committees that are most likely to impact Montana agriculture:

Senate Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock: Sen. Brian Hoven is chair. Email:, phone: (406) 761-8533. Secondary phone:

(406) 899-5000.

Senate Fish and Game: Sen. Jennifer Fielder is chair. Email:

Senate Natural Resources: Sen. Jeff Welborn is chair. Email:  Phone: (406) 949-6070. Secondary Phone: (406) 899-5000.

Senate Taxation: Sen. Roger Webb is chair. Email:, phone:  (406) 861-9322. Secondary phone: (406) 855-9154.

Senate Finance and Claims: Sen. Ryan Osmundson is chair. Email:, phone: (406) 949-3715. Secondary phone: (406) 374-2449.

House Appropriations: Rep. Nancy Ballance is chair. Email: Phone: (406) 363-8416.

House Agriculture: Rep. Ray Shaw is chair. Email: Phone: (406) 842-5039. Secondary phone:

(406) 596-5039

House Fish, Wildlife and Parks: Rep. Bob Brown is chair. Email: Phone: (406) 827-9894. Secondary phone: (406) 242-0141.

House Natural Resources: Rep. Ken Holmlund is chair. Email: Phone: (406) 951-6764. Secondary phone: (406) 234-2956

House Taxation: Rep. Alan Redfield is chair. Email: Phone

(406) 220-1247.

 We suggest cutting this list of important names out and sticking it to your fridge, hanging it in your office or filing it near your phone book for quick and easy access. When you hear or read of an issue that you are passionate about or effected by, take five minutes to make a phone call to the appropriate committee chair.

It’s also valuable to check out the entire makeup of these committees. Some legislators may not have an agricultural background and would benefit from farmers or ranchers helping them understand the issues. Find a full listing of committee members here:   

You can also follow committee hearings throughout the process and track hearing dates on the state legislative website:$cmte.startup?P_ SESS=20191.

The Senate and House leadership is also important to the success or failure of a piece of legislation. The Speaker of the House Greg Hertz and President of the Senate Scott Sales are responsible for scheduling when bills will be heard on the floor of their respective houses.


Chelcie Cargill is a lobbyist for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. She’s an expert in policy development and implementation, and serves as MFBF’s program coordinator for its ACE Leadership and Advocacy training program. Chelcie can be contacted at

(406) 930-2299 or . The Montana Farm Bureau Federation is a nonpartisan, non-profit, grassroots organization that represents more than 21,000 member families in Montana.  

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check for more info. Find them on Facebook . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961


Did you finish your back-to-school shopping?

The Laurel Outlook


Click Here to Check Out Our Latest Ads

We use Google cookies to determine our demographic of visitors to our site. You can opt out here.

We also use Twitter Analytics to track clicks from our twitter feed. 

You can find all the City Council documents that we have received here.