Legislative update: March 27 - 31

This is a big week for ACLU supported and opposed legislation! Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the which bills are moving, and respond to our ACLU Action Alerts!

Opposed by the ACLU

SB 329 - Adopt the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This unconstitutional ban on abortion after 20 weeks is making its way to the Senate Floor. Disguised as an attempt to protect “the lives of unborn children,” this bill compromises women’s health and privacy and criminalizes abortion by creating serious legal ramifications for providers, including felony charges for physicians. Unconstitutional, manipulative, and dangerous- this legislation has no place in our state.

SB 329 passed out of the Senate last Friday and will soon make its way to House Human Services. Call your representatives and tell them to keep anti-choice legislation out of Montana! Vote NO on SB 329!

SB 97 – Prohibit application of foreign law in state courts

Senator Keith Regier has picked up this torch from last session, seeking to prohibit the application of foreign laws in our courts. Unfortunately, this innocuously named piece of legislation is far darker that the title implies. SB 97 is nothing more than Islamophobia shrouded in the idea that our judges need guidance on which laws apply in our courts and our constitution needs protection.  Regardless of whether the bill title says “foreign law,” proponents really mean Sharia law. This legislation does not reflect Montana values and its passage will only increase anti-Muslim sentiment in the legislature and the state.

This bill has made it out of the House and has been transmitted to Governor Bullock’s desk!  The ACLU has urged the Governor to take a stand and VETO this anti-Muslim piece of legislation.  Thank you to everyone who joined us at the State Capitol and helped spread the word! You can find out how your representative voted and then give them a call.

SB 571 - Create offense of concealing a person's identity

Representative Barry Usher wants to make it a felony for hiding one’s identity while protesting. While this new felony attaches only to times when a person is committing a crime AND concealing their face, the intent is obvious - criminalizing protesters. Peacefully demonstrating is a crucial and historical exercise in free speech and holding our government and institutions accountable. Both protesting and covering one’s face are protected 1st Amendment expressions.

SB 571 failed to make it out of committee Monday morning after a number of Republicans decided that not even a round of amendments could fix this bill! 

HB 611 - Make sanctuary cities illegal in Montana

This bill sponsored by Representative Derek Skees would make sanctuary cities illegal in Montana. Montana has no cities, towns or counties with sanctuary city policies so this bill does nothing more than create a civil liability for local governments, diminish distrust between immigrant communities and state agencies, and put public safety at risk - all in the name of a problem that doesn’t exist.

Call your representatives and tell them to keep arbitrary, anti-immigrant legislation out of Montana and to vote NO on HB 611!

HB 595 - Constitutional amendment to define person

HB 595, another bill sponsored by Rep. Skees, would amend our State Constitution’s definition of person to include to,“all members of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development.” This Personhood Bill would ban birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion, and if it passes out of the legislature, will appear on ballots for the November 2018 election.

HB 595 will go before House Judiciary Tuesday morning. Referendums have fewer roadblocks that other bills, so your pressure really matter!  Call your representatives and tell to vote NO on HB 595!