Montana Legislature Update – March 8, 2021

March 3rd was the transmittal date at the Montana legislature.  Any bills not sent to the second chamber are dead for the session.

The three bills lifted up last week are still very much alive, and we encourage taking action to stop them:

1) HB 259 prohibits Montana cities and towns from enacting inclusionary zoning which requires a certain percentage of affordable housing within an area. Contact the Senate Local Government Committee.

2) SB 215 allows the use of religion as an excuse to discriminate against and harm others.  Contact the House Judiciary Committee.

3) HB 427 bans some gender-affirming healthcare to minors. This is very similar to HB 113 which was defeated in the House.  Contact your state senator.

406-444-4800 to leave a message for a legislator or a committee.

https://leg.mt.gov to leave a web message for a legislator or committee or to sign up to testify.

Other bills to stop:

1) HB 112 prevents transgender youth from participating in school sports.  Contact Senate Judiciary Committee.

2) SB 280 forces transgender people to have surgery to get a court order to change gender on a birth certificate. Contact House Judiciary Committee.

3) HB 121 allows the governor or local officials to overturn recommendations issued by county health boards. Contact your senator.

4) HB 279 increases the allowable tax credit for individuals and corporations for donations to private and for-profit schools from $150 to $200,000 at the expense of funds available for public schools. Contact the House Education Committee.

For updates on other bills, go to Key Issues and Bills at www.gallatinvalleymethodists.com. Also, take a look at the Media and Resources tab for summary statements about the session from various organizations. Some good bills died in this legislative session, such as SB 94 and SB 146 which would have added Indigenous People’s Day as a Montana holiday.

However, there was relief some other bills didn’t make it:

1) SB 245 could have allowed professionals to deny care to LGBTQ people. 2) SB 259 would have prevented youth from privacy when getting health care.

3)  SB 282 would have forced release of medical records to parents, potentially problematic to children suffering abuse because of their place in the LGBTQ community.

4) HB 455 attacked the absentee ballot process by complicating the system.

5) SB 158 would have allowed legislators to carry concealed weapons on the floor of the legislative chambers.

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