Montana Legislature Update – Feb. 15, 2021

The Social Justice Action Team is excited to announce their scenic and functional new website www.gallatinvalleymethodists.com created by Zach Nell, a member of the team and one who constructs websites for a living.  Go there to find who we are, our advocacy topics, loads of information regarding the 2021 legislative session, and how to help.  If you want help in getting oriented, Zach gives an overview and tour of the website at https://videopress.com/v/gWqqQGcy?at=2 

Legislation we are tracking falls into categories of LGBTQIA+ rights, voting rights, indigenous justice and tribal sovereignty, public health and safety, and more.  A sample of bills at critical points now are:

HB 102—allow permitless open carry and force colleges to allow guns on campuses, is on the governor’s desk.  Leave an online message at https://svc.mt.gov/gov/contact/shareopinion  or phone 406-444-3111 or 855-318-1330 or FAX 406-444-5529.

HB 112—prevent trans youth from participating in sports, scheduled for third reading in the House on Feb. 15, would then go to the Senate.

HB 113—prevent trans and gender-nonconforming minors from receiving gender-affirming healthcare, which we thought died on the House floor, but has been resurrected by Rep. Jennifer Carlson of Manhattan under the title “provide for youth health protection.”  We will continue watching it.

For updates on other bills, we urge you to go to www.gallatinvalleymethodists.com. Again, if a bill is still in a committee 1) call 406-444-4800 and leave a message for the whole committee or individual legislators OR 2) go to https://leg.mt.gov/ and send a message on the web.  Say whether you want them to vote yes or no and a sentence or two about why. It doesn’t have to be long.  OR 3) sign up on the website to give testimony.

If the bill has passed committee and is in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, use the same phone number or website to contact your representative or senator as appropriate.

In other news, Allie Zanieri-Hale is stepping away from co-chairing the team for a few months.  Zak Wangler and Pastor Alison Skillman are stepping up to join Gloria Zimmer in co-chairing in her absence.  Zak is Family Case Manager at Family Promise and Pastor Alison, who is appointed to Living Waters UMC in Belgrade, works with Pastors Amy and Eric on many ministries across the Gallatin Valley.  The three co-chairs will continue the work of following bills in the Montana Legislature through the end of the session in April and collaborating with the BUMC Missions Team on projects regarding food insecurity and homelessness.

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