Legislative update: February 13-17

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!

Supported by the ACLU

HB 417 – Include LGBT people in the Montana Human Rights Act

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people can still be fired, denied housing, or kicked out of a business because of who they are and who they love. Even after the US Supreme Court’s historic ruling for marriage equality, Montana laws still do not protect the basic dignity of our LGBT friends, family, and neighbors. Rep. Kelly McCarthy (D) will be presenting HB 417, to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Contact your Representatives and tell them it is time to provide fully inclusive non-discrimination protections to the LGBT community in Montana – vote YES on HB 417.

HB 366 – Death Penalty Repeal

Representative Adam Hertz (R) presented his bill to replace the death penalty with ‘life without parole’ to the House Judiciary Committee last week. This has been a decades long fight in Montana, with faith leaders, advocacy groups, and criminal justice reform advocates joining forces session after session to repeal this archaic, broken, and cruel practice. HB 366 was tabled (voted down) by the House Judiciary Committee, but the fight isn’t over!

Call your Representatives TODAY and ask them to finally abolish the death penalty in Montana.

SB 145 – Revise laws regarding when individuals may be transferred to Dept. of Corrections

Senator Roger Webb (R) is carrying this very important piece of legislation, which will provide greater protection to those who suffer from a mental disease, disorder, or developmental disability who enter the criminal justice system. SB 145 will provide guidance on, and restrictions for, when someone in a mental health or residential facility can be transferred to a correctional facility. It also provides requirements for mental health screening and treatment after the transfer and provides a process for when a person should be transferred back into mental health facility from a corrections facility.

Call your Senators and ask them to support SB 145. 


Opposed by the ACLU

SB 97 – Prohibit application of foreign law in state courts

Senator Keith Regier (R) has picked up this torch from last session, seeking to prohibit something that has never actually happened in the United States – the application of foreign laws in our courts. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous piece of legislation is far darker that the title implies. Each time it has been heard, the true motives have been revealed through proponent testimony. SB 97 is nothing more than Islamophobia shrouded in the idea that our courts need protection.  Although 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 passed out of the Senate and is on its way to House.

Call your Representatives and tell them to vote NO on SB 97.

HJ 8 and SJ 12  - Calls for a Constitutional Convention

Both HJ 8 and SJ 12 are resolutions which direct Congress to call a Constitutional Convention. As an organization that protects civil liberties and constitutional rights, we vehemently oppose any attempt to edit, rewrite, or tinker with our United States Constitution. There has not been a Constitutional Convention since the original – not only are the risks too great, but we have no way of knowing how a convention would operate.

Contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them to leave our US Constitution alone – vote NO on HJ 8 and SB 12.