Posted: Jun 18, 2012 9:19 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Jun 18, 2012 1:36 PM
HELENA- It was 40 years ago that Montana's Constitution was ratified and became the guiding set of principles which govern the Treasure State, and 31 of the original 100 people involved in creating the document recently were back in Helena to celebrate the occasion.
Others delegates were represented by family members. Former state lawmaker Dorothy Bradley was elected to the Montana Legislature just after the Constitution was ratified; she says that issues they tackled then are still being discussed today: equality, energy development, and education.
"We will remind ourselves that this place and this political process are sacred and we can never take it for granted," Bradley noted.
Reporter Chuck Johnson covered the Constitutional Convention and recalls it was the assignment of a lifetime. "You sought public participation from all over the state. You asked Montanans to submit ideas and they did so by droves. Hearings were well publicized in advance. You not only prohibited lobbyists from coming onto the floor of the House, you required them to disclose how much they spent."
The delegates worked across party lines, sitting in alphabetical order and not by party affiliation. They included language in the Constitution protecting Montana's environment and the dignity of all people.
To this day, Montana's is known as one of the most progressive state constitutions in America.