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Court grants immediate restraining order against Secretary of State

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MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today filed suit against Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton over an unconstitutional decision to ignore the Governor’s veto of HB 132.

“The Secretary of State overstepped his authority,” Bullock said. “It is my constitutional responsibility to see to it that the laws of our state are faithfully executed.”

The Montana Constitution says that the Governor is required to act on bills within 10 days. Governor Bullock received HB 132 on April 25 and vetoed it four days later, on April 29. He returned the bill to the legislature and the legislature posted the Governor’s veto letter on its site. The Secretary of State now has the veto letter after it was delivered to him by the Montana House. Montana law sets no time limit for this delivery.

Though the bill was vetoed, Secretary Stapleton ignored the Governor’s veto yesterday by assigning the vetoed bill a chapter number in Montana law. The Governor’s suit, filed with the 1st Judicial Court of Helena, alleges that the Secretary of State overstepped his constitutional authority by doing so and asked for the Court to enter an injunction and issue a writ of mandamus against the Secretary of State.

The Court granted Bullock’s request for a temporary restraining order requiring Secretary Stapleton to rescind his assignment of a chapter number to HB 132 in Session Laws.

The Court also granted the writ, which requires the Secretary to comply with a law that requires him to notify legislators of the veto.

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