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Innovative online tool brings legislative transparency to users’ fingertips

HELENA — Montana Free Press, the state’s premier digital-first nonprofit newsroom, has launched a comprehensive interactive digital guide to the 2021 Montana Legislature.

The 2021 Montana Capitol Tracker , which is free to use, helps Montanans make sense of the lawmaking process through an easy-to-use searchable interface that delivers straightforward graphics, tables and detailed information on all aspects of the legislative process.

“Our 2021 Montana Capitol Tracker includes a page for every Montana lawmaker and every bill introduced so far this session,” said MTFP data reporter Eric Dietrich. “It’s a comprehensive digital guide that helps Montanans of all stripes understand how their

representatives in the legislature are running the state.”

The guide compiles information, updated daily, about every lawmaker, every bill and the critical steps in the legislative process, along with additional context, including the election results that brought each of the state’s 50 senators and 100 representatives into office. The Montana Capitol Tracker also points readers to MTFP’s in-depth reporting on the session.

“This is a valuable and easy-to-use transparency tool for anyone and everyone who cares about what lawmakers in Helena are doing on their constituents’ behalf,” said MTFP founder and editor-in-chief, John S. Adams.

Some of the information contained in the guide, including legal review notes , is not directly accessible to the public without making records requests to legislative staff.

Montana Free Press is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit newsroom that provides Montanans with in-depth, nonpartisan statewide news coverage. MTFP’s experienced team of five full-time reporters and two editors is based in Helena, Missoula, Bozeman and Billings.

Web design, data wrangling and other reporting for this guide were done by MTFP data reporter Eric Dietrich. Contact with bug reports, questions or suggestions.

The digital guide is available at: .

The accompanying QR Code can be printed or embedded online or in newsletters to provide quick and easy access to the guide on mobile devices.

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