May 5, 2023


Sine Die! The 68th Legislative Session Has Adjourned  

By Rachel Cone and Nicole Rolf, Montana Farm Bureau Federation

            Late in the day on Legislative Day 87, the Minority Leader of the Senate made a motion to sine die, and that motion passed 26-24, officially adjourning the 68th Montana Legislative Session for the Senate. Later in the day, the House of Representatives passed the budget bill, HB 2, and soon after made the same motion to sine die completing the full adjournment of the legislature. The term sine die is of Latin descent but is the common term used to adjourn the legislature. Most often, sine die comes after the budget bill, HB 2, is in its final form and passed by both chambers. Once the sine die motion is made and passed by the members of the chamber, the work is done. Any bills not passed or completed automatically die. Each chamber must make and pass the sine die motion. 

            The past two weeks had many bills wrapping up their journey through the legislative process. This time of the session the day-to-day work for us means less time at the podium, testifying for or against bills, but more time in the hallways. We focus on tracking and helping advance bills as they travel between the chamber floors, discussing amendments and potentially going to a conference committee. For example, if a House Bill passes the House, but gets amended in the Senate, it is sent back to its originating chamber to be concurred. If that originating chamber does not agree with the proposed changes, the bill goes to a conference committee where a small group of legislators discuss the amendments and the bill to find a reasonable path forward. While MFBF was not in front of many committees, we spent much of our time tracking the work being done on each floor, ensuring the remaining bills we support are sent to the Governor’s office. 

            Montana Farm Bureau feels successful in the 68th Legislative Session in advocating for agriculture and representing the policy that members have developed. We were involved with 71 legislative bills, and of those, we supported 52 bills and opposed 19. We are proud to report that the 19 bills we opposed which would have had harmful impacts to agriculture died along the way. Of the 52 bills we supported, 38 have been passed by the legislature or already signed by the Governor. 

            Of the bills we supported, not all made the cut, which is not necessarily bad news. As bills come from different chambers and different sponsors, some may address the same topic and goal. It makes sense that only one bill becomes the final law. For example, there were two prominent bills this session focusing on grizzly bears and MFBF supported both. Both had similar goals but only one got to the governor’s desk. At the end of the day, MFBF considers it a success that the state is prepared to manage the grizzly bear when they are delisted, regardless of which bill made it across the finish line. 

            After 87 working days in Helena, your Montana Farm Bureau lobbyists have left town, proud of the work done and legislation passed that will benefit farmers and ranchers. In many cases, it’s better to have all the “bad” bills dead than to pass every single supported bill so we are proud of our kill rate and will try again next Session on other important issues that failed to get across the finish line this time.  There are always opportunities to learn how to improve and we are ready to take those conversations from this session to the interim to continue finding solutions to challenges faced around the state. We look forward to continuing the work.

            We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who makes the legislative session happen, from the staff in the Capitol who keep everything moving to the 150 legislators who leave their families and home life to represent the people of Montana, especially when that means standing up for agriculture. We are grateful for your commitment to leadership for this state.


Nicole Rolf is the Senior Director of Governmental Affairs and a rancher from Miles City, Montana. Nicole works closely with our Congressional delegation on national issues affecting Montana agriculture. Additionally, this is her eighth Montana Legislative Session, lobbying in Helena on behalf of MFBF members. She also works as the Southeastern Montana Regional Manager. Nicole can be contacted at

Rachel Cone is the Director of State Governmental Affairs for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. This is Rachel’s second session lobbying on behalf of the Montana Farm Bureau. Rachel is involved throughout the interim session to track how bills will come to the session. Rachel focuses on water issues throughout the legislative session and lobbies on all topics impacting Montana Farm Bureau members. Rachel can be contacted at