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"Legislative Week" events in Helena could mean boost for businesses

Posted at 10:59 AM, Jan 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-12 12:59:19-05

Most of Montana’s state lawmakers will be back in Helena next week, and that could bring a bit of a boost for businesses in the area.

Many of the 150 legislators will be taking part in “Legislative Week” at the Montana State Capitol, a series of briefings and hearings on the state budget and other major issues.

On Saturday, several Helena hotels and restaurants said they are expecting more business during Legislative Week. It comes in what might typically be a quieter winter for the area, since the Montana Legislature usually meets only every other year.

In addition to lawmakers, a large legislative gathering also brings staff members, lobbyists and members of the public who want to testify. During the regular legislative session, many lawmakers rent houses or apartments. For this event, more may need to stay in hotels.

Before the special legislative session in November 2017, Helena Area Chamber of Commerce leaders estimated each legislator could spend an average of $134 a day while in Helena.

However, other factors will also be in play this year. One restaurant manager told MTN the extreme cold weather forecast for next week could limit any boost to their business.