Table of Contents
The government consists of three branches: the executive department, judicial department, and the legislative department.
Governor Marc Racicot, re-elected to a second term, resides in Helena at the Governor's Mansion. The governor is elected to a four year term, and can serve any number of terms. The governor has powers of appointment in 17 executive departments and several state institutions. The governor also has a line-item veto. He can veto a certain part of a bill and sign the rest into law.
The Supreme Court consists of six associate justices and one chief justice. The justices are elected to eight year terms by the voters. The trial courts for major criminal and civil cases are the district courts whose judges are elected to six year terms from each of the twenty judicail districts. Courts such as municipal courts, justice of the peace courts, and police courts handle smaller cases.
The legistlature consists of two houses; the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 50 members who are elected to four year terms. Each senatorial district elects one senator. The members of the House of Representatives are elected, one from each representative district, to a two year term.
Population Density: 5.66 people per square mile
Area: 147,046 square miles
Land Area: 145,556 square miles
State Bird: Western Meadowlark
State Flower: Bitteroot
State Song: Montana
State Motto: Oro y Plata (Gold and Silver)
Montana is ranked fourth in area and 44th in population.
Several Indian tribes were the early inhabitants of the area. French explorers scouted the region in the early 1740's. The United States gained much of Montana in 1803 through the Louisiana Purchase, and also through the explorations of Lewis and Clark in 1805 and 1806. Fur traders and missionaries set up posts in the early 1800's. Gold was discovered in 1863 and Montana became a territory in 1864. Uprisings between Indians and white men reached a high in 1876 with the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indian tribe surrendered in Montana in 1877, after a long trek across the area. Mining and the coming of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 brought population growth.
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