The ACLU of Montana works year-round to protect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all people who live in Montana. Throughout the legislative session we are in close touch with elected officials. However, they are most interested in hearing from you - their constituents. Stay informed and be ready to act! Get our updates and action alerts (sign-up at aclumontana.org), and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
 

Below is the legislation we're tracking and prioritizing during the 2021 legislative session. (This list will be updated with more bills and bill numbers in January --it is not a complete list of all of the bills we support or oppose).

Criminal Legal Reform and Ending the Criminalization of Poverty

   
Montana must reform its criminal legal system to ensure safe and thriving communities.    
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Improve data collection: To better understand the problems surrounding the criminal legal system, the public needs easy access to carefully anonymized data that is robust, uniform, and comparable across the state. This year, the legislature should pass a study bill to learn more about data systems that will ensure clear, consistent, and publicly accessible data.

   
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Improve employment opportunities: In order to successfully return to their communities and families after being incarcerated, people need access to meaningful work. We want to reduce the barriers for formerly incarcerated people to get a job.

   
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Rethink pre-trial detention: Money bail discriminates based on wealth, intensifies racial disparities, results in over-incarceration, and costs significant tax dollars without producing positive outcomes. The only winners in the bail bond industry are the massive, billion-dollar companies that profit off of the system. We will support a bill this session that starts to chip away at this harmful and unfair system. Specifically, we will seek to end fees for pre-trial monitoring, like ankle monitors or other devices. These fees push too many people into jail not based on public safety concerns, but instead because they are poor.

   
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Reform the parole system: Parole violation is one of the largest drivers of mass incarceration. People on parole should be eligible for earned compliance credits, which would shorten parole under certain circumstances.     
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Abolish the Death Penalty: The death penalty should be abolished. We know that while capital punishment is irreversible, riddled with errors, applied arbitrarily, racially biased, and is expensive for taxpayers, it does nothing to make our communities safer. We will ask the Montana legislature to abolish this cruel and unusual punishment.    
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Marijuana: Repeal I90 legalization of marijuana.    

 

     

Indigenous Justice

   

We seek to uplift Indigenous people and communities, and follow their lead as they work to uphold their sovereignty, dignity, and autonomy. 

 

   
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HB 35 - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Establish a missing persons review commission; and 
HB 36 - Establish missing persons response team training grant program.

   
       
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SB 4 - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Extend the Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force.    
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HB 98 - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Extend the Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force and the LINC grant program.

   
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Indigenous Peoples' Day: Establish Indigenous Peoples' Day in Montana.     
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Criminal Law Reform: Indigenous people are disproportionately incarcerated in Montana. We support a study that examines Native Americans in the Montana criminal justice system.    
       

 

     

LGBTQ Equality

   
LGBTQ people belong everywhere. We will fight any bills that threaten the dignity and freedom of LGBTQ Montanans.    
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HB 112 - Require interscholastic athletes to participate under gender assigned at birth.     
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HB 113 - Ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. This bill would severely compromise positive health outcomes for trans youth.  Denying best-practice medical care and support to trans youth can contribute to depression, social isolation, and self-hatred. Denying this care would likely raise suicide rates among young trans people in Montana. Healthcare decisions should be made between a doctor and a patient, not politicians.

   
       
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Gender identity is protected by Montana's Human Rights Act. This session, we support legislation that will explicitly write this protection into the statute.     
       
       

Immigrants' Rights

   
Immigrants are part of our families and communities. We will fight any bills that harm immigrants and the communities in which they live.    
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Establish penalties for local government sanctuary policies.    
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Create statutory authority for sworn law enforcement officers to hold aliens.    
       

Reproductive Freedom 

   
The decision to seek an abortion should be one between a pregnant person and their doctor. We will fight bills that ban abortions or create barriers or stigma for those seeking an abortion.    
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HB 136 - ban abortions at 20 weeks, regardless of the health of the pregnant person or fetus, and criminalize doctors who provide them.    
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HB 140 - Require that healthcare providers record whether a patient chose to view an ultrasound or listen to a fetal heartbeat.    
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HB 167 - Puts patients' health and privacy up to a vote with the ultimate goal of banning abortion altogether. This bill's inflammatory language to drive a false narrative and stigmatize abortion in Montana.    
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HB 171 - Prevent Montanans from accessing medication abortion, delaying access to health care, and creating barriers to care — especially for those in rural areas.    
       
       

Voting Rights

   
The right to vote is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. We will fight any bills that make it harder for people to vote.    
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HB 176: Close late voter registration on Friday before the election

 
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Revise voter registration requirements.