Legislative update: April 10 - 15

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!

Status Update

HB 611 - Make sanctuary cities illegal in Montana

HB 611 by Rep. Skees would have made sanctuary cities illegal in Montana, created a civil liability for local governments, diminished trust between immigrant communities and state agencies, and put public safety at risk – all in the name of a problem that doesn’t exist.

HB 611 missed the Transmittal Deadline at the end of March, but that did not stop Republicans from trying to revive the bill when they took it off the table in committee last week. From there, HB 611 passed 3rd Reading in the House and went before the Senate where Republicans motioned to suspend the rules to allow a late acceptance of the bill. Luckily the motion failed to gain the required 2/3 support of the chamber.

SB 97 – Prohibit application of foreign law in state courts

Senator Keith Regier (R) picked up this torch from last session, seeking to prohibit the application of foreign laws in our courts. Regardless of whether the bill title says “foreign law,” proponents really meant Sharia law and passage of the bill would have increased anti-Muslim sentiment in the legislature and the state.

With the support of House and Senate Republicans the bill made its way to the Governor's desk but was vetoed on Thursday! Thank you to everyone who reached out and helped hold our elected officials accountable and this dangerous piece of legislation out of Montana!

HB 501 - Generally revise laws related to boycotts of Israel

Austin Knudsen’s 501 that pledged solidarity with Israel by promising to cut ties with companies supporting the pro-Palestinian movement would have infringed upon 1st Amendment Rights and set a dangerous precedent for the role our government would play in matters moving forward.

HB 501 failed 3rd Reading in the Senate on Friday (18 – 31)!

Supported by the ACLU

SJ 25 - Interim study of use of solitary confinement

SJ 25, sponsored by Senator Roger Webb, requests an interim study on the extent of the use of solitary confinement in state and county institutions in Montana. Solitary confinement is the most expensive form of incarceration and the least effective in rehabilitation. The ACLU has been working for many years to find better alternatives for our state institutions. This study, which focuses on current practices used with juveniles and individuals with mental illness, would allow for a deeper investigation and understanding and an opportunity to review the findings and make legislative recommendations before the 66th Legislature.

SJ 25 will have Executive Action in the Senate Judiciary this week. Call your Senators and tell them to support this important study! Vote YES on SJ 25!

Opposed by 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 House Judiciary Committee along party lines and will be carried on the House Floor by Rep. Manzela (R). Call your House representatives  and tell them to keep anti-choice legislation out of Montana! Vote NO on SB 329!

SB 282 – 24 Week Abortion Ban

This unconstitutional piece of anti-choice legislation is sponsored by Senator Olszewski. Unfortunately, it flies in the face of over 40 years of SCOTUS precedent on the right of women to access abortion services. The Supreme Court has found again and again that states are prevented from setting a viability marker and that viability should only be determined by a doctor on a case-by-case basis. Sen. Olszewski’s bill also does not make an exception for post-viability abortion when the life of the mother is at risk, another provision that violates Supreme Court precedent. Though the sponsor says that SB 282 is about protecting women, we know it is really the latest in a long list of attempts to make abortion almost impossible to access. This bill passed off the senate floor and is now on its way to a hearing in the house.

SB 282 will have its 3rd reading on the Senate Floor on Tuesday, April 11th. Call your House representatives and tell them to get the government out of private, medical decisions!

Stay informed / Get involved / Protect Liberty

ACLU of Montana is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National