2020 Governor's Race

As part of our mission to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every individual in Montana by our state and federal constitutions, we sent questionnaires to each candidate running for governor, asking each to share their position on crucial civil liberties issues. 

We asked the candidates questions including their stance on protecting reproductive freedom, reforming the criminal legal system, ending the criminalization of poverty, ending policing in schools, expanding voting access in Indian Country, protecting the First Amendment, and increasing LGBTQ equality.  

Before you head to the polls in November, learn the candidate’s positions. 


How do the duties of the governor impact civil liberties and civil rights?

The governor’s primary duties are to appoint people to vacancies in government, interstate diplomacy, supervise the executive branch, and sign bills into law (or veto them). The governor also has the responsibility to appoint individuals to various boards, for example, the Board of Pardons and Parole, that oversee issue areas that impact the civil liberties of people living in Montana.

The governor has the ability to veto legislation attempting to interfere with civil liberties and rights. And, the governor has the ability to sign legislation into law that could reinstate or solidify civil liberties and rights. The governor can issue executive orders, many of which can harm or strengthen civil rights and liberties.  


gubeRnatorial candidate questionnaire

Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment for People on Probation or Parole

Montana’s probation and parole system is an enormous contributor to the state’s incarcerated population. Seventy-four percent of people who move from community supervision into detention do so as the result of a probation or parole violation (e.g. being late to probation meetings or entering a bar). In 2018, the ACLU of Montana issued a comprehensive report on Montana’s probation and parole system, which found that a primary driver of recidivism was unmet mental health or substance use disorder treatment needs. This is because support and services for these needs were difficult to access or afford in their communities. Numerous studies have shown that providing access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment can be less expensive than incarceration and more effective at reducing recidivism rates.

If elected governor, will you expand access to mental health and substance use treatment by proposing a budget that restores the level of services cut in 2017 and increases their funding by 10%?

MIKE COONEY:

Graphic of Yes checkbox

GREG GIANFORTE:

No response

LYMAN BISHOP:

No response

Criminalization of Medical Providers

In recent Montana legislative sessions, there have been proposals that attempt to threaten health care providers with punishment, including jail time, for providing abortion care. Health care professionals should be focused on providing the best care possible for patients based on their training, patient circumstances, and medical ethics and standards, not worrying if their actions will have legal repercussions.

If elected governor, will you veto any legislation that would threaten health care professionals with criminal investigation and prosecution for providing abortion care?

MIKE COONEY:

Graphic of Yes checkbox

GREG GIANFORTE:

No response

LYMAN BISHOP:

No response

Nondiscrimination in Employment and State Government Services

Montana’s Executive Branch has a legacy of promoting non-discrimination and equal employment for LGBTQ Montanans. In 1999, former Governor Marc Racicot issued state personnel rules prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, but only for employment in state government. Eight years later, former Governor Brian Schweitzer issued an executive order, considerably strengthening those policies for state agency employment and services. In 2016, Governor Steve Bullock further expanded the work of his predecessors by adding gender identity and including state contractors and subcontractors under the mandate as well.

If elected governor, will you continue to enforce Governor Bullock’s executive order that prohibits discrimination by state agencies, contractors, and subcontractors against LGBTQ employees?

MIKE COONEY:

Graphic of Yes checkbox

GREG GIANFORTE:

No response

LYMAN BISHOP:

No response

read the full questionnaire 


Note: The ACLU of Montana is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) social welfare and advocacy organization that does not make endorsements, yet strives to ensure that voters are well-informed regarding the civil liberties positions of candidates for public office.