Alerts & Actions
MHRN 2023 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY, WEEK 14
The 2023 Montana Legislature has been full of chaos and vitriol, but we’re not giving in. We’re meeting the attack campaigns on essential rights and the people we love with determination.
We have the power to keep speaking up and celebrate everything we love about Montana! Please join us on Thursday, April 13 in Helena to resist all of the anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-drag legislation during this session. Here are the events planned with Montana Pride, drag performers, and other organizations for a day of joy and resistance!
11 am – Drag Show & Rally on the Capitol steps
3:30 pm – Drag Story Hour, Capitol
7 pm – Drag Trivia, Western Bar at 406 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena
For this event, members of the Montana Drag Community are encouraged to attend in drag, if possible. However, if you are not a member of the Montana Drag Community, organizers respectfully ask that you not attend in drag, but instead wear lavender clothing to identify yourself as an ally to the Montana Drag Community.
Until then, please read on and send a few messages to your legislators about the bills we’re resisting or cheering on.
How to contact your legislators
It’s easy to contact them by phone or email, so don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts with them.
Look up your legislators here.
Call the very friendly Capitol operators at (406) 444-4800. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and you can leave messages for up to 5 individual legislators or 1 legislative committee per call.
Send an email using contact information from the legislative roster or using the online email form. The email form is especially helpful when you’re emailing an entire committee.
Click here to sign up to testify via Zoom, even if you live hundreds of miles from Helena. You must register by 5 pm on the day before a hearing.
Use our online action forms! If we have one active, it will be linked here.
We’re working hard to reject bills in the Slate of Hate at every point during their trip through the Montana Legislature. If they make it through, we’ll help fight them in the courts, because discrimination has no place in our state.
Here’s what you can do to let your legislators know that anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is the wrong choice.
Updates on the Slate of Hate
No on SB 99 – Would ban medical care and support for transgender, nonbinary, Two Spirit Montanans. It’s passed through the legislature and will land on the Governor’s desk soon. He’s being pretty evasive about his opinion of SB 99, so please email him here to urge a veto on this harmful bill.
No on HB 361 – Gives students permission to deadname and misgender transgender and nonbinary students. This bill passed through the legislature this week, so please tell the Governor to veto this bill.
No on HB 359 – Opponents to this drag show ban bill were powerful this week! Looks like the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on this bill next week, so please tell the committee to reject it.
No on SB 458 – Would define “sex” in the binary as male and female using inaccurate definitions that are not supported by medical professionals. This bill would erase the existence of trans and nonbinary people and could cause Montana to lose up to $7 billion in funding. SB 458 has a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee at 8 am on on Thursday, April 13, so please tell them to vote no. We’ll send a reminder email with information on how you can testify.
No on HB 303 – Would allow any employee at any medical facility to refuse to treat anyone for any reason of “conscience” without consequences. This bill passed the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee and is on its way to the Senate floor. Please tell your Senator to vote no.
No on HB 676 – A “parental rights” bill that removes privacy protections for children’s medical care. We are especially concerned about how “parental rights” bills could be used by abusive adults to control and harm children. This will probably have a floor vote in the Senate on Tuesday, April 11, so please contact your Senator.
No on SB 518 – Another “parental rights” bill that attacks that privacy rights for students and public schools. This bill has a hearing scheduled in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, April 14, so please tell that committee to vote no.
No on HB 234 – Will classify LGBTQ and other diverse stories and books as “obscene” and punish school librarians. This bill recently had a tense hearing in the Senate Education & Cultural Resources Committee on Friday, and we are so grateful to everyone who took time away from work or school to attend. The committee will take action on the bill next week, so please email the committee and urge them to vote no!
It’s all good news on a number of bills supporting essential rights for Tribal nations and Indigenous people! Please keep writing to confirm your support for these bills.
Yes on SJ 6 –This bill would recognize the harm done by Indian Boarding Schools and recommend a National Day of Recognition. It unanimously passed the House Energy, Technology, and Federal Relations Committee and is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor next week. Please tell your Senator to vote yes.
Yes on SB 119 – Offers a tax exemption for Indigenous landowners who are changing the status of the private land they own on a reservation to trust land. This is one small factor that helps undo decades of land theft that occurred from the Dawes Act of 1887. The House Taxation Committee approved this bill, so please tell your Representative to vote yes.
Yes on HB 317 –The Montana Indian Child Welfare Act had a successful hearing in the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee and was again endorsed by many child welfare advocates! Please tell that committee to vote yes on this bill.
Yes on HB 338 – The Indian Education for All Act, reinforces the requirements to teach public school students about the past and present of sovereign Tribal nations in Montana. This bill was approved by the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee this week, so please tell your senator to vote yes.
Yes on HB 287 – This bill increases the role of Tribal nations in language preservation and gives the Office of Public instruction oversight. This bill passed second reading in the Senate this week, so please tell your senator to vote yes.
We’ve got some work to do to protect voting rights, student rights, and keep extremist ideology out of our law enforcement departments. Let’s not take this for granted!
No on SB 272 – Senator Theresa Manzella proposed a constitutional amendment to enshrine the extra-legal concept of “constitutional sheriffs” into the Montana Constitution. Click here for more information about the problems with this misinterpretation of the constitution. The good news is SB 272 failed to get a simple majority of votes on the Senate floor, bottoming out with only 22 senators supporting it. The bad news is that, since it could theoretically still get the 100 total votes needed to pass, it is still headed to the House.
SB 272 is scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, April 14. Please tell the House Judiciary Committee to table the bill, and go ahead and send a note to your representative asking for a no vote if it gets to the floor. We want to make sure SB 272 doesn’t get the needed 78 votes on the House side!
No on HB 915 –This proposed constitutional amendment would take away power from Montana voters to elect our Supreme Court judges. The governor would appoint Supreme Court judges, and the Montana Senate would confirm them. This would allow partisan operatives to stack the court and remove citizens’ right to elect judges. HB 915 passed the House and has a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 12, so please tell that committee to vote no.
No on HB 712 – This unnecessary bill forbids undocumented immigrants from voting in Montana elections, ignoring the fact that they are already prohibited from voting. This wasteful and redundant bill is rooted in debunked conspiracy theories and racism, so let’s get rid of it. HB 712 is waiting for a floor vote, so tell your Senator to vote no.
No on SB 109 – This bill, sponsored by Keith Regier (R-Kalispell), creates gerrymandered Public Service Commission districts. Towns and counties would be split up in a way that will give an advantage to extremists over moderates. The bill just passed out of committee and will be heading to the House floor. Tell your Representative to vote no.
Anti-choice legislators are doing all they can to move these bills quickly to the Governor’s desk. We don’t have the luxury of staying silent. Please speak up for your reproductive rights!
Upcoming Senate votes – both April 11
No on HB 625 – Copycat of LR-131, which was soundly defeated by Montana voters. This bill prevents families from accessing compassionate care during pregnancy emergencies. Please tell your Senator to vote no.
No on HB 575 – A forced birth bill which does not allow for abortions later in pregnancy. This bill is especially cruel because many pregnancy emergencies do not happen until later in pregnancy. Please tell your Senator to vote no.
No on SB 721 – Mischaracterizes and attempts to ban abortion procedures that are needed in emergency situations, especially when it is discovered that a fetus has health problems that make it incompatible with life. This bill passed the Senate, so please tell the Governor to veto this bill.
No on HB 786 – Creates unnecessary bureaucracy and government interference related to medication abortion. Also passed the Senate, so please tell the Governor to veto this bill.
No on HB 862 – Prohibits the use of public funding for abortion, with very few exceptions. This bill erases the reality that abortion care is necessary in pregnancy emergencies and discriminates against people with lower incomes. This bill just had a hearing in the Please tell the Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee, so please tell committee members to vote no on this bill.
No on HB 968 – This bill removes privacy for minors seeking abortions, which means that children abused by parents could be forced to carry a pregnancy to term or could be abused for revealing that they are pregnant. This bill just had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, so please tell them to vote no.
If you have questions or need help with talking points, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!