HB 615: Montana Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Montana’s RFRA died in the house 50-50 and it is past its transmittal date so there is little hope for resuscitation. HB 615 was a referendum that would have been sent to the citizens for a vote. It would have required that the government demonstrate a compelling interest before burdening religious freedom. This shadows the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993 which currently only impacts the federal government. Its death is not too surprising given what has recently occurred in Indiana, and Arkansas. Both, after facing extreme backlash, greatly scaled back their bills. In Montana, we failed to even do that. You can track the bill here.
HB 596: Creation of Public Charter Schools
This bill passed through the House 52-47. It would create public charter schools and would increase parents’ ability to find the best education for their children. It is currently in the Senate Education Committee Please contact the Senate Education Committee and tell them to vote YES to HB 596. You can do so here. You can track the bill here.
HB 479: “Revises laws regarding fetal surgery.”
This bill passed the third reading in the House 56 to 43 and recently held a hearing in the Senate Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee. This is a “pain-capable” bill that acknowledges children feel pain at least as soon as they are 20-weeks old even while in the womb. Please contact the Senate Health, Welfare, and Safety Committee and tell them you support HB 587. You can do so here. You can track the bill here.
HB 587: “Requiring physical presence of practitioners when performing abortion services.”
This bill passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-5. It would ban the practice of webcam abortion by requiring practitioners to physically see their patients before “performing or attempting to perform an abortion, including a chemically induced abortion, on a pregnant woman or prescribe, administer, or dispense to a pregnant woman a drug or device that is intended to cause a chemical abortion except in the physical presence of the woman.”1 Please contact your Senator and tell them to vote YES to HB 587. You can do so here. You can track the bill here.
HB 477: “Providing that Physician-Assisted Suicide is against public policy and is prohibited.”
This bill was tabled by the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-5 with Republicans Swandel and Vincent joining the five Democrats in opposition to the bill. You can track the bill here.
HB 377: “Revise laws related to K-12 accreditation standards”
This bill will “repeal Common Core©, Smarter Balanced testing and create a new accreditation process for content standards.”2 It has passed through the House and is now currently in the Senate Education Committee. There was a hearing on this bill Monday the 16th at 3pm, but still no action was taken as of yet. Please send a message to the Senate Education Committee and tell them to vote YES to HB 377. You can do so here. You can track the bill here.
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