Legislative updates 2/15/19

Legislative updates: 2/15/19
(From Montana Women Vote, Bryce Bennet, Under the Rotunda, Women’s Foundation of Montana.)
Round-up of bills in the last two weeks. There’s a lot going on, so please let us know if there’s something we’ve missed.


1. –Rep. Peppers Bill to Expedite Missing Persons Reports for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Passes Senate

This bill introduced by Rep. Rae Peppers that would seek justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women, 
HB 20, passed in the Senate 49-1 on third reading and will head to Governor Bullock’s desk to be signed into law. Hanna’s Act also passed out of committee 19-0. We will keep you updated on the status of these very important bills as they move along in the legislative process.


2. –The House voted 62-38 to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Montana. Rep. Shane Morigeau’s bill, HB219, would also make it so that Columbus Day would not be recognized as a holiday in the state of Montana. This is a welcome step towards recognizing the contributions and accomplishments that Indigenous people have made in shaping Montana to be the state it is today.


From Jan Strout, member of the Legislative Committee on behalf of NOW
Dear Montana NOW members and Allies,
We congratulate the leadership of Bozeman IPD founder Marsha Small and her team for this visionary work to remove Columbus Day and replace it with a statewide Indigenous People’s Day.  As you know, Montana NOW – with our priority commitment to advanccing racial justice and all forms of diversity – has been proud to co-sponsor both the City of Bozeman Proclamation and now this Montana bill #219 currently before the Legislature.


3. –House Bill 144, carried by Rep. Alan Redfield, would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides tax credits for working families while retaining the Capital Gains Tax Credit, which primarily benefits the wealthiest 1% of Montanans.


 4. –Rep. Schreiner’s education bill, HB 225 provides a comprehensive funding package for public schools. The bill would do three things:

1. Provides ANB funding for four-year-old children who are voluntarily enrolled in a preschool program in a public school.

2. Funds and reauthorize a teacher loan repayment program that helps rural schools recruit and retain teachers.

3. Provides for inflationary funding increases for school funding and adds special education to the list of components that will annually receive an inflationary increase.


5. Gov. Steve Bullock has made investing in preschool one of his top goals for the session. During his State of the State Address on Thursday, he laid out his proposal: $22 million for public schools to offer preschool, and $8 million to continue the STARS Preschool program for Head Start and other private and community programs.


6. –Greg DeVries-R Whitehall introduced HB 303 in the House Education Committee this afternoon. This bill would remove school compulsory attendance laws, lower education standards, and prohibit any enforcement of the few remaining benchmarks.


7. — HB 354 by Rep. Rodney Garcia (HD 52) – a bill that “Restricts sexually explicit materials and sexually oriented businesses” from being within a certain range of schools.


8. –Sexual harassment and discrimination policy update:
revisions have been made to the sexual harassment and discrimination policy, changing some language and restricting the policy.
Ultimately, most Democrats voted for the bill package, believing that having some policy to address harassment and discrimination was a step in the right direction.


9.–Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell Proposes Bill to Pay Workers a Living Wage
recent report showed that Montana has the fastest growing rate of income-inequality in the United States. To help more Montana families make ends meet, Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell of Helena introduced HB 345, to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour this year and would increase minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.


10. –The House Education Committee had its first hearing on Rep. Chris Pope’s bill HB 298, which would provide funding to Montana schools to help students with special needs stay in high school until they turn 21 in order to obtain a high school diploma.


11.–HB 378 would require SNAP participants, including parents of children aged 6 and up, to participate in a workfare program, unless they are working or exempt. 


12.–Greg Devries “Personhood” bill”, which would redefine a person as mankind at any stage of development. His bill (HB 302) is a constitutional amendment that would criminalize abortion in Montana. In order for it to pass, two-thirds of the legislature would have to vote in favor of the proposed change. Personhood Amendment Passes House 
Republicans need 44 votes in the Senate for it to pass, and with 20 Senate Democrats, this bill is expected to fail once the Senate votes on it.


13.– SB 100 by Sen. Keith Regier (R-Kalispell)  Under this bill the doctor would be required to offer a view of the ultrasound to a woman before performing an abortion. Proponents of the bill describe this as “informed consent.”
Passes On Second Reading

Republican Sen. Keith Regier, brought forward 
legislation that would require doctors to ask pregnant women seeking an abortion if they want to listen to a fetal heartbeat or view ultrasound images. SB 100 passed on the floor of the Senate on second reading and is expected to pass on third reading before moving to the House.


14.–Rep. Funk Brings The FAMLI Act to House Business & Labor
Rep. Funk presented 
HB 208, also known as “The FAMLI Act”, to the House Business & Labor committee. The FAMLI Act would create a paid family leave insurance plan in Montana. This would help provide financial support for Montanans who leave work to care for someone in their family and for workers who are dealing with serious health problems.
Only five states in the nation and Washington DC provide paid family leave for workers who need time off to take care of family members. This bill would help women in Montana return to their jobs and is a great step towards addressing the equal pay gap. 


15.–Human Rights

House Bill 465 would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the Montana Human Rights Act, giving LGBTQ+ Montanans the opportunity to earn a living and take care of their families without the fear of being fired or denied housing.

The Capitol Switchboard is open weekdays from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Call your legislators today at (406)444-4800, or send them a message through this online form



For further information on any of these bills, or for keeping up on bills you care about go to: 2019 Session Information – Montana State Legislature
Susan and Kelly

 Legislative Updates

Dear BPW Members:

In an effort to help keep you up-to-date on legislative issues, especially those pertaining to women and families, here is a roundup of information received from “Under the Rotunda,” IWPR, MontanaWomenVote, and Senator Bryce Bennett.


  1. Rep. Rae Peppers Helping Cut Red Tape in Missing Child Reports

    The House Judiciary heard testimony for HB 20, which would allow any law enforcement officers in the state to be able to file a missing child report as soon as the child is reported missing. Representative Rae Peppers is sponsoring this critical piece of legislation, which also allows tribal law enforcement to fill out a missing child report. Currently, tribal law enforcement can’t fill out missing child reports if they are seeking assistance from federal or state investigators.


  1. Representative Marilyn Ryan Introduces Bill to Criminalize Revenge Porn

    Montana is one of only nine states left in the country that has zero laws regarding revenge porn. During the last session, a bill was drafted to criminalize this practice, but ultimately failed. Thankfully, Democrats Rep. Marilyn Ryan and Rep. Kim Dudik are introducing legislation this time around to address this growing problem.

    “I’m hopeful that our Legislature this time will understand that this isn’t a game, that this detrimentally impacts too many people’s lives and that people shouldn’t be allowed to act that way toward others and terrify them by the use of these images,” said Rep. Kim Dudik, who also helped out on this bill.

  2. House Minority Whip Rep. Morigeau & Rep. Dunwell Present Legislation to Remove Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse
    Montana law prevents victims from being able to seek justice against their abuser after 20 years have passed. Democratic lawmakers Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell & Rep. Shane Morigeau are working to change that.

    Rep. Dunwell’s bill, HB 109, deals with the statute of limitation on the criminal side of the law. Rep. Morigeau’s companion bill, HB 202, revises civil law to allow victims the opportunity to sue their abuser at any point in time. Currently, Montana only allows victims to file lawsuits within three years of the crime being committed or within three years of when the victims discovers that the injury was caused by the abuse.

  3. Medicaid Expansion

Montana’s Medicaid Expansion provides health insurance to nearly 100,000 Montanans. In 2015, the Legislature expanded Medicaid, but without legislative action, the program is set to expire in July 2019.

Representative Mary Caferro’s Keep Montana Healthy Act (LC 1088), would lift the Medicaid expansion sunset, and protect the healthcare coverage of nearly 1 in 10 of our friends and neighbors.

If you want to support this bill, the Capitol Switchboard is open weekdays from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Call your legislators today at (406)444-4800, and ask them to SUPPORT LC 1088.

  1.  Anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy:

The Senate Rules committee took up discussion of the rules which will govern work during the upcoming session and interim. One of which is sexual harassment.

Republican leaders on the committee removed the long list of protected groups which included “race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, marital status, military service, veteran status, citizenship, culture, social origin or condition, or religious ideas.”

Another amendment to the rules requires legal review notes to be filed so the public won’t see them.

  1.  Lobbyist Code of Conduct Bill Introduced by Sen. Pomnichowski

Sen. JP Pomnichowski’s bill–SB 105— to create a lobbyist code of conduct and require lobbyists to complete a harassment training was heard by the Senate State Administration committee. Currently, lobbyists are not required to go through any sort of harassment training before working the legislative session.

  1.  A SNAP bill has been introduced in the State Legislature – HB 290 (Peggy Webb, R, Billings)requires child support cooperation for SNAP eligibility (from both custodial and non-custodial parents).

To help you keep up on this year’s Legislation:

Go to: legislative website: https://leg.mt.gov/. There is also a link to a page for tracking bills. You can make a preference list of legislation you want to follow by setting up an account here: https://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law0203w$.startup?P_SESS=20191. You can see the status of bills being drafted, in committee, on the floor, etc.

To contact legislators with email, texts, phone calls and personal visits:Here’s a contact list for legislators: https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-information/.

Fifty-one bills have already been introduced and 2836 bills are waiting to see if they pass, get drafted and make it to committee.

Previous News: 

  1. Check out a great article from Institute for Women’s Policy Research on the lasting effects and repercussions of intimate partner violence:


  1. 13th Annual Women’s Policy Leadership Institute in Helena. 2/8-2/9. BBPW is offering two scholarships to attend this amazing weekend. For more information on scholarships contact either Susan or myself.For more info on the weekend go to MontanaWomenVote.org.


  1. Our next meeting is Thursday, February 7 at 9 am at Café M on Kagy. Hope to see you there! We will be discussing, among other things, our 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work campaign. We’d love your help!


Thanks much!

Susan and Kelly


Bozeman BPW’s mission is to support business and professional women in our community through advocacy, education and information


Susan Neubauer & Kelly Simmons, Co-Chairs

Bozeman BPW Legislative Committee


Helping Women succeed…Professionally, Personally and Politically