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