In an order expedited by the Montana Legislature and the Montana Attorney General's office, the Montana Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the term of Jonathan Motl, the state Commissioner of Political Practices, ended as of January 1, 2017.

On the Commissioner's own webpage, Motl writes that he accepts the decision of the court, and states that he will remain in the office until a replacement is named.

February 1, 2017

Dear Fellow Montanans:

The Montana Supreme Court issued its Order today on the Commissioner's term. We have attached a copy of the Order below. From the perspective of this Office, it is an appropriate and positive Order as it creates stability in an arena that is prone to polarized viewpoints.

The Order declares that the term of this Commissioner is the term set by appointment and confirmation; that being January 1, 2017. The Order goes on to state that "Montana law requires that [Commissioner] Motl remain in office until his successor is appointed and qualified." The Order is unanimous, signed by five of Montana's seven Supreme Court justices.

I write now to assure Montanans that, as allowed by law, I will remain and serve as Commissioner until a successor Commissioner is appointed by the Governor and qualified by confirmation of the Montana Senate. I expect and hope that this process will be completed within the timeframe of the 2017 Legislature. The benefit to Montanans should be clear. As current Commissioner, I will leave office with a successor Commissioner ready and able to start work the next day. The public's work will continue without any interruption caused by a vacancy in the Office of Commissioner.

Thank you to the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit and to their attorney, Jim Goetz of Bozeman. Their courage and work has given us all the benefit of having this issue defined as it now is by a unanimous Order of the Montana Supreme Court.

 Sincerely, Jonathan Motl, Commissioner

A copy of the Montamna Supreme Court order can be found here.