Pro-Transparency Republicans Seek To Circumvent Montana House GOP On Disclosure Bill

Months after the GOP-controlled Montana House of Representatives blocked a state DISCLOSE Act from coming to the floor, a group of Republican legislators are pushing for a ballot referendum on political transparency.

The Billings Gazette reported Monday that State Sen. Jim Peterson (R) and six other Republican legislators are launching a ballot initiative to require secretive outside groups in Montana to disclose who is funding their political advertisements. If the initiative qualifies for the ballot, voters would consider the proposal in 2014.

Gov. Steve Bullock (D) has supported the legislative version of the proposal, also sponsored by Peterson, which passed the state’s Senate on a 29–21 vote. But on a 54 to 46 vote, House Republicans rejected a move to bring the bill to the floor.

Supporters will need to collect 24,175 signatures by next June — that total must include at least 5 percent of the voters in at least 34 of the state’s 100 House districts.