Shaylee Ragar

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.

It happens at the beginning of every year: elected officials, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists and the public gather in large numbers in state capitol buildings around the country for a relentless few weeks — or months — of lawmaking.

In 2020, official business had wrapped in many states by mid-March when lockdowns began. In others, the spread of COVID-19 sent lawmakers home early.

This year in Montana, Republicans swept every statewide and federal race, while also increasing their majority in the statehouse by 10 seats. Montana, once dubbed a purple state for its split-ticket voting, is now deep crimson.

After four terms of a Democratic governor, a Republican will sit in Montana's governor's mansion for the first time in 16 years. Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who lost his bid for the U.S. Senate this year, was term limited.

Copyright 2020 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: