In 1972, 100 delegates met and drafted a new Montana Constitution, bringing the document out of special interests into more public control than back in the days of the Copper Kings.

The Montana Constitutional Convention was successful, owing to nonpartisan cooperation and sense of what needed to be changed in the previous document. The accomplishment is being celebrated Tuesday evening with a free 50th Anniversary panel discussion online from the Montana University campus in Bozeman.

On the panel will be former Montana Governor Marc Racicot, former U.S. Senator Max Baucus, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, 1972 ConCon delegate Mae Nan Ellingson and journalist Charles Johnson. The session will be streamed live starting at 7 p.m. March 22. Moderators will be author Sarah Vowell and John Adams, editor-in-chief of Montana Free Press. Besides the online access, a live audience will be at Ballroom A of the Strand Union Building at the MSU campus.

The event, which will also will be on MSU at YouTube, will include filmed interviews of 1972 delegates, staffers and with Charles Johnson, who was reporting the convention for the Associated Press. Sara Vowell said in a news release, "The Montana Constitutional Convention of 1972 is one of the most consequential events in Montana's history, and arguably the most inspiring."

Panel moderator John Adams said, "This was an era of immense societal and cultural change in the United States, and Montana was on the leading edge of reforming state government in a way that empowered the public and restricted the influence of well-heeled special interests."

MSU is creating an archive for the videos and transcripts of the Tuesday celebration. The collection will be available on the MSU Library website as part of its Archives and Special Collections section.

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