Montana Constitution Home
Section 1. Officers. (1) The
executive branch includes a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary
of state, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction,
(2) Each holds office for a term of four years which begins on the
first Monday of January next succeeding election, and until a
successor is elected and qualified.
(3) Each shall reside at the seat of government, there keep the
public records of his office, and perform such other duties as are
provided in this constitution and by law.
Section 2. Election. (1) The
governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general,
superintendent of public instruction, and auditor shall be elected
by the qualified electors at a general election provided by law.
(2) Each candidate for governor shall file jointly with a candidate
for lieutenant governor in primary elections, or so otherwise comply
with nomination procedures provided by law that the offices of
governor and lieutenant governor are voted upon together in primary
and general elections.
Section 3. Qualifications. (1) No
person shall be eligible to the office of governor, lieutenant
governor, secretary of state, attorney general, superintendent of
public instruction, or auditor unless he is 25 years of age or older
at the time of his election. In addition, each shall be a citizen of
the United States who has resided within the state two years next
preceding his election.
(2) Any person with the foregoing qualifications is eligible to the
office of attorney general if an attorney in good standing admitted
to practice law in Montana who has engaged in the active practice
thereof for at least five years before election.
(3) The superintendent of public instruction shall have such
educational qualifications as are provided by law.
Section 4. Duties. (1) The executive
power is vested in the governor who shall see that the laws are
faithfully executed. He shall have such other duties as are provided
in this constitution and by law.
(2) The lieutenant governor shall perform the duties provided by law
and those delegated to him by the governor. No power specifically
vested in the governor by this constitution may be delegated to the
(3) The secretary of state shall maintain official records of the
executive branch and of the acts of the legislature, as provided by
law. He shall keep the great seal of the state of Montana and
perform any other duties provided by law.
(4) The attorney general is the legal officer of the state and shall
have the duties and powers provided by law.
(5) The superintendent of public instruction and the auditor shall
have such duties as are provided by law.
Section 5. Compensation. (1) Officers
of the executive branch shall receive salaries provided by law.
(2) During his term, no elected officer of the executive branch may
hold another public office or receive compensation for services from
any other governmental agency. He may be a candidate for any public
office during his term.
Section 6. Vacancy in office. (1) If
the office of lieutenant governor becomes vacant by his succession
to the office of governor, or by his death, resignation, or
disability as determined by law, the governor shall appoint a
qualified person to serve in that office for the remainder of the
term. If both the elected governor and the elected lieutenant
governor become unable to serve in the office of governor,
succession to the respective offices shall be as provided by law for
the period until the next general election. Then, a governor and
lieutenant governor shall be elected to fill the remainder of the
(2) If the office of secretary of state, attorney general, auditor,
or superintendent of public instruction becomes vacant by death,
resignation, or disability as determined by law, the governor shall
appoint a qualified person to serve in that office until the next
general election and until a successor is elected and qualified. The
person elected to fill a vacancy shall hold the office until the
expiration of the term for which his predecessor was elected.
Section 7. 20 departments. All
executive and administrative offices, boards, bureaus, commissions,
agencies and instrumentalities of the executive branch (except for
the office of governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state,
attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and auditor)
and their respective functions, powers, and duties, shall be
allocated by law among not more than 20 principal departments so as
to provide an orderly arrangement in the administrative organization
of state government. Temporary commissions may be established by law
and need not be allocated within a department.
Section 8. Appointing power. (1) The
departments provided for in section 7 shall be under the supervision
of the governor. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution
or by law, each department shall be headed by a single executive
appointed by the governor subject to confirmation by the senate to
hold office until the end of the governor's term unless sooner
removed by the governor.
(2) The governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the
senate, all officers provided for in this constitution or by law
whose appointment or election is not otherwise provided for. They
shall hold office until the end of the governor's term unless sooner
removed by the governor.
(3) If a vacancy occurs in any such office when the legislature is
not in session, the governor shall appoint a qualified person to
discharge the duties thereof until the office is filled by
appointment and confirmation.
(4) A person not confirmed by the senate for an office shall not,
except at its request, be nominated again for that office at the
same session, or be appointed to that office when the legislature is
not in session.
Section 9. Budget and messages. The
governor shall at the beginning of each legislative session, and may
at other times, give the legislature information and recommend
measures he considers necessary. The governor shall submit to the
legislature at a time fixed by law, a budget for the ensuing fiscal
period setting forth in detail for all operating funds the proposed
expenditures and estimated revenue of the state.
Section 10. Veto power. (1) Each bill
passed by the legislature, except bills proposing amendments to the
Montana constitution, bills ratifying proposed amendments to the
United States constitution, resolutions, and initiative and
referendum measures, shall be submitted to the governor for his
signature. If he does not sign or veto the bill within 10 days after
its delivery to him, it shall become law. The governor shall return
a vetoed bill to the legislature with a statement of his reasons
(2) The governor may return any bill to the legislature with his
recommendation for amendment. If the legislature passes the bill in
accordance with the governor's recommendation, it shall again return
the bill to the governor for his reconsideration. The governor shall
not return a bill for amendment a second time.
(3) If after receipt of a veto message, two-thirds of the members of
each house present approve the bill, it shall become law.
(4) (a) If the legislature is not in session when the governor
vetoes a bill approved by two-thirds of the members present, he
shall return the bill with his reasons therefor to the secretary of
state. The secretary of state shall poll the members of the
legislature by mail and shall send each member a copy of the
governor's veto message. If two-thirds or more of the members of
each house vote to override the veto, the bill shall become law.
(b) The legislature may reconvene as provided by law to reconsider
any bill vetoed by the governor when the legislature is not in
(5) The governor may veto items in appropriation bills, and in such
instances the procedure shall be the same as upon veto of an entire
Section 11. Special session. Whenever
the governor considers it in the public interest, he may convene the
Section 12. Pardons. The governor may
grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, restore citizenship, and
suspend and remit fines and forfeitures subject to procedures
provided by law.
Section 13. Militia. (1) The governor
is commander-in-chief of the militia forces of the state, except
when they are in the actual service of the United States. He may
call out any part or all of the forces to aid in the execution of
the laws, suppress insurrection, repel invasion, or protect life and
property in natural disasters.
(2) The militia forces shall consist of all able-bodied citizens of
the state except those exempted by law.
Section 14. Succession. (1) If the
governor-elect is disqualified or dies, the lieutenant
governor-elect upon qualifying for the office shall become governor
for the full term. If the governor-elect fails to assume office for
any other reason, the lieutenant governor-elect upon qualifying as
such shall serve as acting governor until the governor-elect is able
to assume office, or until the office becomes vacant.
(2) The lieutenant governor shall serve as acting governor when so
requested in writing by the governor. After the governor has been
absent from the state for more than 45 consecutive days, the
lieutenant governor shall serve as acting governor.
(3) He shall serve as acting governor when the governor is so
disabled as to be unable to communicate to the lieutenant governor
the fact of his inability to perform the duties of his office. The
lieutenant governor shall continue to serve as acting governor until
the governor is able to resume the duties of his office.
(4) Whenever, at any other time, the lieutenant governor and
attorney general transmit to the legislature their written
declaration that the governor is unable to discharge the powers and
duties of his office, the legislature shall convene to determine
whether he is able to do so.
(5) If the legislature, within 21 days after convening, determines
by two-thirds vote of its members that the governor is unable to
discharge the powers and duties of his office, the lieutenant
governor shall serve as acting governor. Thereafter, when the
governor transmits to the legislature his written declaration that
no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his
office within 15 days, unless the legislature determines otherwise
by two-thirds vote of its members. If the legislature so determines,
the lieutenant governor shall continue to serve as acting governor.
(6) If the office of governor becomes vacant by reason of death,
resignation, or disqualification, the lieutenant governor shall
become governor for the remainder of the term, except as provided in
(7) Additional succession to fill vacancies shall be provided by
(8) When there is a vacancy in the office of governor, the successor
shall be the governor. The acting governor shall have the powers and
duties of the office of governor only for the period during which he
Section 15. Information for governor.
(1) The governor may require information in writing, under oath when
required, from the officers of the executive branch upon any subject
relating to the duties of their respective offices.
(2) He may require information in writing, under oath, from all
officers and managers of state institutions.
(3) He may appoint a committee to investigate and report to him upon
the condition of any executive office or state institution.