Montana Legislature Update – April 26, 2021

As we said last week, “No bill is officially defeated until the legislative session closes.”

1) SB 379 that would put Montana ratepayers on the hook for NorthWestern Energy’s investments in Colstrip and prevent the Public Service Commission from placing limits was tabled, but then the language added by amendment to the unrelated bill HB 695. Contact your senator and ask for a NO vote on HB 695.

2) SB 159 would cut the income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.75% benefitting Montana’s wealthiest and resulting in state revenue losses of $30 annually was revived. Contact your representative to ask for a NO vote on SB 159.

Contact Governor Gianforte and ask him to veto for one last chance

1) HB 112 would ban transgender athletes from school sports.

2) SB 280 would require trans people to present proof of surgery in court to change the gender marker on their birth certificate.

Summary of Investigation on the Montana state’s judiciary system for alleged bias

Legislators have launched an investigation of alleged bias in the Montana Supreme Court justices and district court judges by the Special Select Committee on Judicial Transparency and Accountability.

The committee is expected to release a report this week about findings on the use in the judicial branch of state time and resource for lobbying, compliance with public the record law and the judicial code of conduct, public trust in the judiciary, and the authority of the state Supreme Court to enjoin legislative subpoenas issued to itself. The committee plans to meet after the legislative session is adjourned.

This investigation is likely unconstitutional as it violates the separation of powers between three co-equal branches of the Montana state government. This puts the Montana Supreme Court and other judicial judges at crossroads of a constitutional crisis and an opportunity for lawmakers to politicize the state government.

Phone 406-444-3111 to contact Governor Greg Gianforte.

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

https://leg.mt.gov to leave a web message for a legislator or committee or to sign up to testify.
For updates on other bills, go to Key Issues and Bills at www.gallatinvalleymethodists.com or Look Up Bill Information at https://leg.mt.gov.

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