MHRN LEGISLATIVE SESSION SUMMARY – WEEK 4
Thank you to everyone who is writing to their legislators regularly! We had a great win with the defeat of the anti-transgender bill HB 113 — your calls and emails make a difference.
Legislation is moving quickly through both the House and Senate, and MHRN is keeping tabs on bills dealing with issues in our wheelhouse:
Defeating white nationalism, antisemitism, and bigotry
Resisting the influence of militia and so-called “Patriot” groups
Protecting rights for LGBTQ community members
Supporting safety and sovereignty for Indigenous people
Maintaining access to reproductive care
Supporting economic equity
There are a lot of new bills that need attention, and we’re featuring them first. Scroll down to find information on the other bills that are still in process.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of this information, so please remember that very short emails are fine. Unless you have expertise on a certain issue, writing 2-3 sentences is enough to let your legislator know your opinions on a bill.
Click here to email your legislators or call the Capitol switchboard at 406-444-4800 to leave them a message.
NO to HB 200 and HB 223 – Anti-immigrant legislation
These two anti-immigration bills were heard in the House Judiciary Committee this week, and HB 200 has been voted to the House floor. HB 200 prohibits sanctuary cities in Montana, even though none currently exist. HB 223 would compel local law enforcement officers to be pulled into immigration issues, which could increase racial profiling and erode trust between police and Montana residents.
Testimony against HB 200 was interrupted on Tuesday when Barry Usher (R-Billings), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, shut down testimony from people opposing the bill who mentioned its racist implications.
Please contact your representative (House member) and tell them NO on HB 220 and HB 223.
NO on SB 138, YES on SB 4, HB 35, and HB 36 – Indigenous safety and sovereignty
SB 138 attempts to repeal a tribal property tax exemption for tribal nations. This exemption on land held in trust by the entire tribe has helped tribes restore and protect lands that were stolen from them. SB 138 has a hearing in Senate Taxation on Tuesday, February 2. Please contact that committee and urge them to vote NO.
YES on SB 4, which would extend the Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force that was created in 2019. Please contact your House member to say YES to SB 4.
YES on HB 35, which would establish a missing persons review commission. This is ready for a vote on the House floor, so please contact your representative to vote YES on HB 35.
YES on HB 36, which establishes a missing persons response team training. It passed the House this week, so please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them YES on HB 36.
NO on HB 209 – Sexual assault survivor’s rights
HB 209 faced harsh criticism this week for wording that appeared to amend statute 40‐6‐1001. This bill would have allowed a convicted rapist to assert parental rights if the Court determined it was in the best interests of the child. This contradicts carefully worded legislation protecting sexual assault survivors that had passed with bipartisan support in 2017.
The bill has been withdrawn for now, but a revision could appear in the future. At the request of Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, we’re asking you to contact the House Judiciary Committee and tell them NO to HB 209 until the bill is significantly amended.
NO on SB 89, HB 168 and HB 251 – Worker protection
HB 89, HB 168, SB 251 are all bills attacking the freedom of workers to belong to unions, have union dues subtracted from their paychecks, and work through union representatives to negotiate wages and benefits.
They falsely imply that union membership is coerced and represent government overreach and an assault on the freedom of speech. Public and private sector workers like nurses, educators, police, and state troopers who protect, serve, educate, and care for Montana citizens deserve to have the freedom to organize without burdensome restrictions.
We’re proud to stand with our allied union members to fight these attempts to limit their rights. It’s important to remember that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists forming and joining unions as a fundamental human right.
HB 168 and HB 251 – Contact the House Business and Labor Committee and your House member and say NO to these bills.
SB 89 – Urge your senator to say NO to this bill.
No on HB 258 and HB 102 – Gun safety
HB 258 is a new bill that prohibits the enforcement of any federal regulation regarding firearms. As you can imagine, this would remove many gun safety regulations that have been carefully created at the state and local level. This bill has a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 1. Please contact that committee and tell them NO on HB 258.
HB 102, which would allow for permitless open carry in Montana and force colleges to allow guns on campuses, is headed for a vote on the Senate floor. Please contact your senators and tell them NO on HB 102. For more information on this bill, click here.
No on HB 121, SB 108, HB 236, SB 67, and HB 144 – Militia ideology undermining county health boards
All of these bills are attempts to undermine the authority of county health boards and give more power to county sheriffs and county commissions. This shift in power toward elected county officials is a key component in militia ideology, called county supremacy. You can read more about the problems with these bills here.
HB 236 is a new bill that was heard in committee this week. We are happy to announce that HB 145 was tabled in committee, so thank you to everyone who asked your legislator to oppose HB 145!
SB 67 and HB 144 attempt to give county sheriffs permission to decide which laws they want to enforce.
We need to make sure that health care professionals with degrees in public health and medicine are in charge of public health recommendations.
SB 67 will have a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 1. Please tell them NO on HB 67.
HB 144 is going the Senate Judiciary Committee early next week, so please tell them and your senator NO on HB 144.
HB 236 had a hearing and was approved by the the House Judiciary Committee this week. Please contact your House member and tell them NO on HB 236.
SB 108 passed out of committee onto the Senate floor, so please tell your senator NO on SB 108.
HB 121 will have a vote on the House floor soon. Please contact your representative and tell them NO on HB 121.
NO on HB 112 – Anti-trans bill preventing trans youth from participating in school sports
HB 113 did not pass on its third reading, and when a motion was made to reconsider, more representatives voted against it! However, HB 112, which would prevent trans youth from participating in school sports is still in play.
Please contact your senator and and tell them NO on HB 112. When this is assigned to a committee, we’ll let you know so you can contact them.
These four anti-choice bills passed their third reading in the House on Tuesday and will now move on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please contact that committee and your senator and urge them to vote NO. You can read more about these bills here.
NO on SB 176 – Voting rights
Legislators are trying to repeal Montana’s very successful same-day voting registration law, which would prevent many young and Indigenous voters from casting a ballot. Same-day Election Day voter registration would be eliminated under HB 176, and late voter registration would close at 5 pm on the Friday before Election Day.
This bill was tabled on Friday, but supporters could revive it later in the session. Stay tuned!