Wednesdays 5:30 – 8:30 PM

September 5 – December 12, 2018
MSUB Language Arts Building Room 205        $12

Course Description

Open to everyone in the community, this non-credit class is a critical examination of the culture and traditions surrounding and “rules of the road” governing the operations of the Montana Legislature. The course seeks to combine traditional classroom instruction with presentations by seasoned practitioners, who have served as elected members, who routinely attempt to affect its deliberations and decisions as advocates, lobbyists and members of trade associations, or who staff agencies engaged in the legislative processes. Classes are informal, conversational and interactive. This class will be offered concurrently with PSCI 494 for academic credit.

For a more complete overview of the course see the syllabus here.

What You'll Learn

Individuals who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. More fully appreciate the traditions, the unique culture of and the processes utilized in the Montana Legislature;
  2. Better understand either the opportunities to serve in the legislature or assist others in their efforts to serve;
  3. More fully appreciate the many opportunities to affect the lawmaking and appropriations processes both during regular sessions and between sessions;
  4. Understand the challenges lawmakers face each session in trying to sort out balance competing values and conflicting priorities;
  5. Better appreciate the investment of resources required to succeed in influencing policy outcomes;
  6. Be able to access and utilize the wide array of informational resources readily available to the public; and
  7. Better align expectations with outcomes that are actually attainable

Who Should Enroll

  • Those with a passion about American government seeking to build on a general understanding of public policy-making processes by specifically focusing on the Montana Legislature.
  • Citizens interested in becoming more knowledgeable about the recent series of cuts in programs that may leave many vulnerable Montanans at risk.
  • Program administrators for not-for-profit organizations that contract with the State of Montana to serve clients and patients within their communities.
  • Taxpayers interested in learning more about how decisions in Helena result in the use of public tax dollars.
  • Citizen advocates interested in more effectively influencing the deliberations of the Montana Legislature.

Montana State Capitol, Helena

Your Instructor

David E. Wanzenried resume reads like a who’s who of government service. He has served in numerous roles in Montana State government including in the Montana Senate, the Montana House of Representatives, as the State of Montana Commissioner of Labor, as the Director of the Montana Department of Community Affairs and the Chief of Staff for a former Montana Governor. In addition, he serves on several boards in Billings. Dave holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in political science from the University of Montana. He has taught as an instructor for MSUB, UM, MSU and Carrol College.

Required Textbook

A Legislator’s Handbook – 2017, 19th Edition (November 2016)

»» Available online

Earn a Digital Badge

Lawmaking in Montana badge
A digital badge is an electronic confirmation awarded by MSUB Extended Campus signifying an accomplishment or the acquisition of a skill. Digital badges help you track and display skills to employers that you have acquired on websites like LinkedIn or Facebook.  You control which badges are public and the credentials help you more easily position yourself with current or potential employers. In order to earn a Badge, students selecting this option must demonstrate the successful achievement of the learning outcomes established for the course at the equivalent of a C grade.

Contact Information

MSU Billings Extended Campus