MHRN Legislative Session Summary week 1
The 2021 session is open! Welcome to MHRN’s weekly summary of important issues from this week and what’s ahead for next week.
Bad legislation is coming in fast, and most of it is from well-known extremist sources. Attacks on LGBTQ rights, public health, and public safety are at the top of the list.
It’s easy to contact your legislators about these issues!
CALL (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for your legislator. Switchboard hours are 7:30am-5pm, Monday through Friday and during Saturday hearings.
Here’s what you need to know about these bills.
NO on House Bill 112
This bill would prevent transgender and nonbinary youth from participating in school sports under the guise of protecting women’s sports. Full text here.
Why HB 112 is harmful
Excludes trans women, two-spirit, and non-binary youth from team sports
Allows cisgender athletes to sue the school if transgender athletes participate
Could open the door for invasive physical checks for all student athletes
Applies to athletes in elementary school through the collegiate level
If legislators want to effectively support women’s sports, they should increase funding women’s sports instead of singling out transgender youth.
NO on House Bill 113
This bill would prevent transgender youth from receiving medically necessary and affirming health care. Full text here.
Why HB 113 is harmful
Youth would be prevented from receiving necessary care
Health care professionals would be fined for providing the standard of care for youth
Legislators would be determining health care access, not physicians
Studies show that when transgender youth are able to access medically appropriate medical care, suicidality drops by 70%
Contact your legislators and the House Judiciary committee for this bill.
NO on HB 102
This bill would allow for the carrying of concealed weapons almost everywhere in the state without a permit, while also allowing guns on college campuses, including in dorms rooms and at sporting events. Full text here.
Extremist Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) is behind this dangerous legislation. Given Marbut’s ties to the militia movement, it’s not surprising that HB 102 is a page out of the pro-militia playbook by stripping states of essential permitting and training standards for carrying concealed guns in public. After what happened at the U.S. Capitol this week, we shouldn’t be considering legislation like this that weakens the tools available for public safety.
Why HB 102 is harmful
Training is one of the cornerstones of responsible gun ownership, and removing that element is risky
HB 102 will take away training requirements and dismantle an important permit system that we’ve relied on for decades
Removes the right of colleges to determine safety for dorms, classrooms, sporting events, and more on their campuses
Colleges in states that have forced similar bills on schools are now struggling with increased costs in security and public safety
Contact your legislators and the House Judiciary Committee for this bill. House Judiciary is expected to take action on the morning of Monday, January 11.
You can read more about Gary Marbut’s connections to militias and other extremists in MHRN’s report Shooting for Respectability and in an issue brief about Marbut’s attempts to rally sheriffs’ support for militia ideology.
NO on HB 121
This bill would reinforce the anti-government doctrine of county supremacy by taking authority away from local public health officials and giving it to county commissioners. Full text here.
Why HB 121 is harmful
As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need nonpartisan public health professionals who follow evidence-based science making the decisions that keep people safe.
The act of giving more authority to county officials is consistent with a longtime anti-government, pro-militia doctrine called county supremacy.
This bill would allow county officials more power to make public health a partisan issue.
The House Local Government Committee will hear HB 121 on Thursday, January 14. Please click here to contact committee members and tell them to vote no.
NO on SB 67 and SB 71
These bills would undermine the authority of county health boards by removing consequences for sheriffs who refuse to assist county health departments in carrying out public health directives. Click links for the full text of SB 67 and SB 71
Why SB 67 and SB 71 are harmful
Health care professionals should be setting policies and recommendations on public health, not local sheriffs.
More problems with county supremacy. Consider:
Militia activists like Ammon Bundy and his People’s Rights group have been trying to recruit sheriffs to their cause during the pandemic by encouraging them to refuse to enforce public health measures to slow the spread of COVID.
Gary Marbut of the MSSA has made repeated attempts to get Montana sheriffs to endorse this anti-government notion that sheriffs can decide which laws they enforce. Militias like the Oath Keepers constantly try to recruit sheriffs with the same idea.
These bills will lend a sense of legitimacy to these militia ideas about sheriff supremacy, which posit that sheriffs can decide which laws they want to enforce.
Removing checks and balances from the democratic processes can lead to an abuse of power, especially in places where a few people like county commissioners already hold a lot of authority.
Both bills are being heard by Senate Judiciary on Wednesday, January 13. Please click here to contact committee members and tell them to vote no.