HELENA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana rejoined state lawmakers in Helena today as the 2023 Legislative Session reconvened after the transmittal break. ACLU of Montana Staff and advocates will continue beating back the continuing assaults on Montanans’ civil rights.
During the first forty-five days of session, politicians delivered on their promises to restrict Montanans' civil rights and liberties with attempts to limit access to abortion services, politicize Montana's nonpartisan judiciary, and target Transgender people and those who love and support them.
"Our team responded to nearly 200 bills in the first half of session" said Keegan Medrano, Policy Director for the ACLU of Montana. "The majority of these bills are patently unconstitutional and were designed specifically to remove and restrict the rights of Montanans – all in the name of out-of-state special interests of politicians and corporate extremists. That is simply unacceptable. Over the next few weeks, we will redouble our efforts to stop the bills that made it through a first chamber, including attempts to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth - SB99 - and expand the prosecution of kids as young as 12 as adults - HB614."
Although the legislature continues to harm Montana's most vulnerable communities, the ACLU of Montana is pleased with the legislative movement of two bills – HB 317, the Montana Indian Child Welfare Act, and HB 338, enforcing the Indian Education For All Act.
"Passing HB317 and HB338 shows Montana is willing to protect Indigenous youth and preserve the cultural heritage of Tribal Nations," said Sharen Kickingwoman, Organizing Associate Director for the ACLU of Montana. "Whether through the education system or family regulation system, we have a responsibility to respect, honor, and uplift Indigenous communities, culture, and history. These two bills will have tremendous impacts on Montana's youth, preserving Indigenous culture for generations to come."
"The ACLU of Montana is committed to spending the remainder of the 2023 Legislative Session fighting to stop all harmful legislation and protecting our free speech and civil liberties," said Medrano.
The ACLU of Montana will have staff in the Capitol daily throughout the rest of legislative session who are available to speak with the media upon request.