This is the last of a two-part series looking at how bills, by subject, fared at the Montana Legislature.
HELENA - Montana lawmakers introduced nearly 1,400 bills over the past four months, on hundreds of topics, with about half the bills passing.
Here is a look at how some major bills, by subject area, fared at the 2003 Legislature.
The status of the bills are divided into three categories: those that Gov. Judy Martz already has signed into law, those that have passed both houses of the Legislature and are headed to the governor's desk and those that died somewhere in the process. Martz can sign a bill into law, veto it or let it take law without here signature.
Signed into law: No new laws regarding abortion were passed.
Dead: SB274, by Sen. Dan McGee, R-Laurel, to amend the state constitution to grant the state a ”compelling interest” in fetuses; HB615, by Rep. Eve Franklin, D-Great Falls, to prohibit restricting access to health care facilities; HB460, by Rep. Penny Morgan, R-Billings, to prevent an abortion from being performed unless the woman upon whom the abortion is being performed has been offered an anesthetic or analgesic for her fetus; HB462, by Rep. Clarice Schrumpf, R-Billings, to increase the licensure fees and regulations on abortion clinics; HB 730, by Rep. Jeff Pattison, R-Glasgow, to make it a criminal offense to kill or injure a fetus.
Signed into law: HJR8 by Rep. Carol Juneau, D-Browning, will establish a legislative interim committee to study dropout rates among American Indian youth; HJR22, by Rep. Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek urges the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to rename ”Halfbreed Rapids,” because it is generally offensive, to ”Pine Island Rapids,” the name given to the rapids along the Missouri by the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Passed both houses: HB608, by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, requires the state to consult tribes on issues and policies that directly affect the tribes. It also requires quarterly meetings between state and tribal officials and makes certain state employees get annual training on tribal issues. HB609, also by Windy Boy, honors American Indian veterans by requiring recognition of them in an American Indian Monument and Tribal Flag Circle.
Dead: HB495 by Rep. Norma Bixby, D-Lame Deer, would have appropriated $120,000 for American Indian curriculum in Montana's public schools. HB422 by Rep. Carol Juneau, D-Browning, would have given hiring preference to Indians in school districts on reservations or with high Indian enrollment. HB382 by Windy Boy would have repealed Montana's ”English only” law which designates that the state's primary language is English, which supporters say disrespects and ignores native languages.
Passed both houses: HB18, by Rep. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, raises to $10 a surcharge most litigants in court cases must pay and uses that money to pay for computers and other information technology equipment for the state judiciary.
Dead: SB184, by Sen. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, would authorize lifetime concealed weapons permits; SB388, by Sen. Bill Tash, R-Dillon, would put juvenile probation officers under the Department of Corrections; HB715, by Rep. Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman, that would have slashed by more than $50,000 the salaries of Montana Supreme Court justices and chief justice.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
Signed into law: HB402 by Rep. John Parker, D-Great Falls, will increase maximum penalties for clandestine drug laboratories from 20 to 40 years in state prison, with added years if the lab is near church or school, is constructed in the presence of a minor, or puts someone in danger of bodily harm or if a firearm or ”booby trap” is involved; SB364, by Sen. Mike Cooney, D-Helena, would make exposing a child to a drug laboratory a form of child abuse or neglect.
Passed both houses: SB362 by Sen. Duane Grimes, R-Clancy, strengthens penalties for Montana's minor in possession of alcoholic beverages law and requires offenders to do chemical dependency treatment. Originally, the bill also would have made it illegal for a minor to be around alcohol without supervision, but Rep. Jesse Laslovich, D-Anaconda, amended the bill in the House to take out that ”guilt by association” clause.
Dead: HB529, by Rep. Christine Kaufmann, D-Helena, would abolish the death penalty in Montana; HB506, by Rep. Ron Erickson, D-Missoula, would have allowed the medical use of cannabis; HB497, by Rep. Scott Mendenhall, R-Cardwell, would have prohibited strip dancing in an establishment with a liquor license. SB265 by Sen. Duane Grimes, R-Clancy would have made strippers stay on a platform and not be in contact with customers and banned full nudity in clubs. SB356, also by Grimes, would have allowed local governments to pass even more stringent restrictions against strip clubs; HB116, by Cooney, would have made failing to wear a seatbelt a primary offense for an officer to stop a motorist.
ELECTIONS AND BALLOT ISSUES:
Signed into law: HB190, by Rep. Cindy Younkin, R-Bozeman, broadly revises election law, mainly to respond to new federal regulations through the federal Help America Vote Act. Among other things, the law will require all electors to submit valid identification before voting and sends the Voter Information Packet out to voters sooner; HB108, by Rep. Alan Olson, R-Roundup, changes state law to reflect a federal appeals court's decision to overturn an initiative that would have prohibited corporate spending on ballot issues; HB309 by Rep. Roy Brown, R-Billings, revamps redistricting of legislative districts by providing population criterion that the plan has to follow. It has been signed into law.
Passed both houses: HB277, by Rep. Monica Lindeen, D-Huntley, would extend legislator's term limits from eight to 12 years in a 24-year period. The measure will go on the November 2004 ballot.
Dead: HB719, sponsored by Rep. Alan Olson, R-Roundup, revising the ballot initiative process by moving the deadline for submitting petitions back by two months. HB651, by Rep. Christopher Harris, D-Bozeman, would move Montana's presidential primary to February or March to give the state some priority for presidential campaigns.
Signed into law: HB700, by Rep. John Brueggeman, R-Polson, gives the Board of Environmental Review, an administrative appeal board, the right to require people challenging environmental laws to put a bond equal to the ”costs and damages” the polluter may incur as a result of the challenge; HB437, by Rep. Alan Olson, R-Roundup, stipulates that legal challenges to environmental permits must be filed in the jurisdiction where the pollution will take place.
Dead: SB436, by Sen. Debbie Shea, D-Butte, would send a 1998 voter initiative banning cyanide leach gold and silver mining back to the voters. The measure would also stiffen environmental laws governing such mines and require independent inspections of all cyanide leach operations; HB367, by Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, would require the state to put money in a special account to pay for perpetual water treatment at the defunct Zortman Landusky open pit mines near the Fort Belknap Indian Community; HB432, by Rep. Paul Clark, D-Trout Creek, which would have forbidden any mining company that has forfeited a reclamation bond in any other state from mining in Montana; HB401, by Rep. Eileen Carney, D-Libby, would require the state pay a deposit for all aluminum pop cans, beer and pop bottles to encourage recycling.
Signed into law: SB183, by Sen. John Bohlinger, R-Billings, to set up a fund to give any convict exonerated by DNA testing a free education at one of the state's universities; HB256 by Rep. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, to allow campus police to expand jurisdiction per agreement with local law enforcement.
Dead: HB376, by Rep. Bernie Olson would allow local communities to levy six mills for the campus of the Montana University System in that city; HB547, by Rep. Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman would eliminate the Montana University System's enrollment in the WWAMI program, which allows Montana students to attend professional schools in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana or Idaho (WWAMI) while the state pays the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition; HB595, by Rep. John Brueggeman, R-Polson, would give income tax credit on student loans from the Montana university system graduates; HB281 by Rep. Scott Sales, R-Bozeman would eliminate the office of the commissioner of higher education.
Signed into law: SB13, by Sen. Dale Mahlum, R-Missoula, to lower the legal definition of drunk from a blood alcohol content level of 0.1 percent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08. percent.
Dead: HB61, by Rep. Jesse Laslovich, D-Anaconda, would clarify that a person under 21 in the presence of other people under the age of 21 drinking alcohol cannot be charged with possession of alcohol if the accused is not also drinking; SB39, by Sen. Dale Mahlum, R-Missoula, would make it against the law to drink while driving on Montana highways or riding in a vehicle.
Signed into law: HB293, by Rep. Frank Smith, D-Poplar, prohibits racial profiling in the state and requires all law enforcement to set up clear policies and definitions of racial profiling.
Dead: HB52, by Rep. Brad Newman, D-Butte, would extend Montana's hate crime law to include harassment or intimidation because of sexual orientation, gender or disability; HB294 by Rep. Tom Facey, D-Missoula, would change state law books to reflect a Montana Supreme Court decision that overturned a state law that made sexual conduct with a person of the same sex deviate sexual relations, a crime; HB607, also by Facey, would have legalized same-sex civil marriages in the state; HB692 by Rep. Rosie Buzzas, D-Missoula, would have extended health benefits to domestic partners, even if the couple is not married.
Passed both houses: SB424, by Sen. Linda Nelson, D-Medicine Lake, to require schools to use about 15 percent of the federal money they receive for education programs to pay the retirement benefits of some employees whose retirement benefits are currently paid through other sources.
Signed into law: HB60 by Rep. Joe McKenney, R-Great Falls, to exempt schools for the deaf and blind from spending reductions.
Dead: HB73, by Rep. Holly Raser, D-Missoula, to increase K-12 school funding by $50 million over the biennium; HB302, by Rep. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, to create a statewide school employee health insurance pool; SB259, by Sen. Bill Glaser, R-Huntley, to create a statewide health insurance plan for school employees; SB369, by Sen. Bob Story, R-Park City, to reorganize the Office of Public Instruction under the Board of Public Education; HB704, by Rep. Dave Kasten, R-Brockway, to create charter schools and charter school districts; SB 276, by Sen. Don Ryan, D-Great Falls, to require home schooled and non-public school students to take the state's public school assessment tests.
- This story was compiled by the reporters at the Lee Newspapers State Bureau: Allison Farrell, Courtney Lowery and Jennifer McKee.