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Montana lawmakers, staff evaluate new chairs for state House

January 17, 2020 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Members of Montana’s House of Representatives and legislative staffers evaluated two chair designs to replace the seating that has been used by lawmakers for more than a century.

“We need to do this right because these chairs may be around another 100 years,” House Speaker Greg Hertz, R-Polson, said Thursday, adding that the chairs should fit the historic atmosphere of the House.

Lawmakers set aside $200,000 to purchase 106 wooden chairs for the House along with furniture for the Senate.

The current chairs in the House are uncomfortable, unstable and have broken on occasion, sending a lawmaker tumbling to the floor.

The designs reviewed Thursday included a rounded back chair from Appleton Furniture of Helena and a high-backed chair manufactured by Montana Correctional Enterprises at the prison in Deer Lodge, the Great Falls Tribune reported. The leather chairs both have five casters to make them more stable.

Appleton furniture’s design came out ahead in Thursday’s scoring, which took into account overall look and fit, whether it met the requested specifications and whether it could be reproduced.

The lawmakers will make a final decision later. The chairs are to be completed in time for the 2021 legislative session.