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 tracked and prioritized during the 2021 legislative session.

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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HJ 31 - Interim study of criminal-justice system data in Montana - 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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SB 361 - 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. Read our press release

   
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LC 2921 - Study mental health     
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HB 244 - Revise death penalty laws related to lethal injection. 
This bill would restart executions in Montana with fewer safeguards for how they're carried out.

 

   
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HB 691 - Community crisis for people who have developmental disabilities    
       
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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.    
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HB 481 Protect critical infastructure: This bill would increase penalties on those that protest or support protests and dissuade people from exercising their First Amendment Right. Everything covered in this bill is already punishable by law, but this bill singles out particular kinds of infrastructure for special treatment. HB 481 also includes a provision of guilt by association, also ramping up the consequences for organizations who support civil disobedience.

   
       
       

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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SB 280 - Would require trans people to prove they've had gender-affirming surgery before they can get a birth certificate that acurately reflects their identity. 

 

   
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SB 215 - Establishes the "religious freedom restoration act", which could allow the use of religion as an excuse to discriminate against and harm others. 

 

   
       
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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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HB 200 -  Establish penalties for local governments that opt out of enforcing immigration detainers.

Letter from Montana Immigrant and Refugee Advocates asking Governor Gianforte to veto HB 200.

   
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HB 223 - Ask local law enforcement to take on the role of federal immigration officials. 
 
   
       

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.
  • Read our statement that we shared as part of a press conference on 1/25/21 after numerous anti-abortion bills passed the House.
   
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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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HB 406  - Revise absentee and mail ballot laws (Reinstate BIPA). 

 
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HB 530 - This policy targets a crucial means of voter access for rural, and Indigenous voters.