There was lots of action this week in the legislative session, so if you’re having trouble keeping up, we understand!  
 
Please do what you can! Remember that an email that is 2-3 sentences long is enough to let your legislators know why you support or oppose a bill. If you’re an expert on a certain issue, then a longer email is a good strategy.  

Please note that we try to list these issues in order of when hearings or votes will be taken. Some action will happen early next week, so please take a few minutes this weekend to write about these issues.  
 
Please keep in mind that schedules do change at the last minute, and we’ll try to let you know about that on our Facebook page

Here’s an overview of this action items for this week. 

  • NO on HB 112 and 113, anti-transgender legislation

  • YES on SB 4, HB 35, HB 36, and HB 98, which support MMIW efforts

  • NO on HB 102, which would remove permit requirements for concealed carry and allow guns on college campuses

  • NO on SB 100, which would make it harder for people to apply for public assistance

  • NO on HB 136, HB 140, HB 167, HB 171, anti-choice legislation

  • NO on HB 176, which would repeal Montana’s same-day voting registration 

  • NO on SB 67, HB 144, HB 121, HB 145, and SB 108, which remove authority from county health boards


How to contact your legislators
 
CALL (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for your legislator. Switchboard hours are 7:30am-5pm, Monday through Friday and during Saturday sessions.   

EMAIL using this formClick here to look up your legislator.
 

Here are the most pressing issues for next week!  

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The second week of the 2021 legislative session is done! Here are MHRN’s updates on legislation we follow and action items you can take. 

This weekend, you can write to support some important legislation that addresses the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and people, help stop harmful legislation targeting transgender youth, and support your local board of health. 
   

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 sessions.  

EMAIL using this formClick here to look up your legislator. 

Here are the most pressing issues for next week! 

NO on House Bill 112 and House Bill 113 

Hearings on these bills are scheduled for 8 am on Monday! Please contact the House Judiciary Committee and your legislators to tell them to vote NO on HB 112 and HB 113. Montana Free Press did an excellent article highlighting the need to defeat these bills.
 
Want to do more?
MHRN is hosting a phone bank to prevent HB 112 and HB 113 from becoming law. We will be calling Montana citizens and encouraging them to talk to their legislators to vote NO on HB112 and HB113. The phone bank will take place Wednesday, January 20th, from 3PM -5PM. Click this link to sign up! 

 

If you are unable to make calls next week, feel free to sign up for another time at this link by clicking “sign up to make calls.”
 
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For decades, MHRN has warned about the risk of violence by anti-government, white nationalist, and other Far-Right movements. Grounded in racism, antisemitism, and sexism, these movements stridently oppose efforts to create a multi-racial, inclusive democracy. When they lose at the ballot box, they turn to the cartridge box.

The violent actions on January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C. that included an attack on the U.S. Capitol didn’t come out of nowhere. Instead, it was a culmination of decades of organizing and practicing these types of anti-democratic tactics with the intent of harming all of us and scaring us away from accessing and using our rights. These anti-democratic forces have been normalizing their strategies in the West in many ways, including attacks on government workers on public lands and public health officials at their homes. They’ve attacked statehouses in Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The warning signs were there long before the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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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. 

EMAIL using this form. Click here to look up your legislator.

 

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.


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On the same day that armed insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent act that shocked people and leaders across the nation, the Montana House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill that weakens public safety tools to prevent violence, amplifies the suicide epidemic in the state, and further burdens individuals, universities, businesses, and local governments to provide security necessities.

According to the Montana Human Rights Network, the primary activist behind creating House Bill 102, Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, has longtime connections to the militia movement.

“Gary Marbut is no policy expert. Instead, he likes to bully elected officials with the threat of gun politics and gives a megaphone to militia ideas,” says Rachel Carroll Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network. “Most folks want stability after what happened Wednesday in D.C. Marbut, who has recommended that Montana secede from the Union and offered organizing tips to militia groups, should not be driving policy about public safety right now.”

The Montana Human Rights Network has detailed Marbut’s extensive links to the militia movement and other extremists in its report Shooting for Respectability and in an issue brief detailing Marbut’s efforts to get candidates for sheriff to affirm their support for militia ideas.
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Recently, the Montana Human Rights Network has posted some videos to social media featuring analysis of the Far Right. We wanted to make sure you didn’t miss them. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss these types of videos in the future!

MHRN YouTube:  History of White Nationalism in Montana: 2015 – Present
Posted December 7, 2020

Travis McAdam leads the Combatting White Nationalism and Defending Democracy program for the Montana Human Rights Network. In this presentation for a group in Philipsburg, he gives an overview of the white nationalist movement in Montana between 2015-Present. The presentation includes an overview of the Alt-Right and numerous white nationalist groups/activists, including Andrew Anglin, Richard Spencer, and the American Identity Movement (formerly Identity Evropa). It also touches on the anti-Indigenous, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim movements. This was the second of a two-part seminar. 
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Voting can be intimidating for transgender, non-binary, and two-spirit individuals. Due to ID verification requirements at the polls, gender-diverse and gender-non-conforming individuals can be misgendered and misnamed. This voting guide provides information on how to comfortably vote without facing discrimination. The guide also offers basic information on how to vote, both at physical polls and at home, for Montana citizens. The images below are the same information in slightly different formats.  If you click on the images below, you will be redirected to PDFs that will be easy to print and will have active links.

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Human Rights Groups Warn Ammon Bundy is Building an Army

 

Since its start in Idaho earlier this year with a few dozen supporters, the so-called “People’s Rights” network has spread across the country and grown to over 20,000 members. The group’s founder and national leader is Ammon Bundy, a member of the far-right family that engaged in armed standoffs with the government in Nevada and Oregon. Beyond Bundy, there hasn’t been much known about People’s Rights…Until now.

 

The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network are releasing Ammon’s Army: Inside the Far-Right People’s Rights Network, a report exploring the breadth and depth of Bundy’s latest creation. For the first time, the report reveals the names of its more than 150 state and local leaders, shining a light on this divisive and potentially violent organization and its national network.  


“This report shows how ‘People’s Rights’ is a misnomer of epic proportions,” says Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. “Don’t be fooled. Whatever they choose to call it, it is Ammon’s Army, and it marches to a far-right drumbeat of narcissistic rage and insurrection.”

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We know that national militia groups are talking about turning out at polling locations to intimidate voters. The likelihood of this happening increased following President Trump encouraging such behavior. This threatens the safety and security of our election process.


While most of Montana will be voting by mail, locations where votes are being counted and polling places for those who choose to use them may be targeted. Militia voter intimidation is always bad for the democratic process. We need your eyes and ears this Election season!


If at any point during the election process, you encounter militia members trying to obstruct or intimidate voters, MHRN wants to know. This type of activity is illegal under Montana Code. Please send a report to MHRN at research@mhrn.org and call/text 1-406-888-VOTE. MHRN wants to do our part to make sure our elections are safe for everyone, including voters, election judges, and those tallying results.   

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The Montana Human Rights Network has a long history of working for human rights, racial justice and responding to bigotry. The Combating White Nationalism and Defending Democracy program works to expose, diffuse and respond to racism, white nationalism and the extreme right by: producing original content research reports or briefings, stopping bad legislation, sharing best practices in messaging the issue, being pro-active and taking rapid response on these issues, making our research database accessible to supporters, creating model policies and practices for communities, and educating the public through community presentations. Montana Human Rights Network builds on MHRN’s current and previous programmatic work to continue the growth of new leaders in efforts for human rights, racial justice and combating white nationalism.

MHRN seeks an intern for 10-15 hours per week for 16 weeks (estimated 180 hours). The purpose of this educational internship is for the Intern to learn about the organization’s work and to gain valuable insight and experience. The Organization agrees to provide the intern with ample activities, learning opportunities, and skill building opportunities to the Intern.
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