Week 17 Action Alert: HB 691

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Please contact Governor Gianforte regarding HB 691.

HB 691, “Community crisis for people who have developmental disabilities" is on Governor Gianforte's desk. Read this bill here. This bill fills a gap in our current community developmental disability system – It creates a good crisis diversion program.

Some information about HB 691:

  • Crisis is when someone with a developmental disability becomes upset, afraid, or angry and acts out in a way that causes disruption. Sometimes it causes them to harm themselves or others. This is the type of situation that is likely to end up in an involuntary commitment to the Intensive Behavioral Center (IBC) at Boulder.
  • Our current crisis system is just three staff who work for the Developmental Services Division in Helena. These staff are called a "behavior consultation team."  The team is largely unused by community developmental disability service providers, making it largely ineffective.
  • This bill replaces that team with a new model. It is patterned after a program in New Mexico that has eliminated all use of institutional settings like the IBC. 
  • It has three levels: 1) Training current staff at group homes and other locations, 2) intervening and helping train staff during low level crisis situations and 3) helping when there are more serious crisis events by guiding stabilization activities in an alternative placement. 
  • The bill funds the new program by taking the current appropriation for the “behavior consultation team.”  The bill requires that those funds be used by the crisis team, which must be provided by a private entity.  The bill is designed as a pilot and the Department can determine in what part of the state it is most needed.  

Crisis intervention is important.  Not only is it expensive to have a disruptive crisis, but it also has the potential to cause serious harm to the person or others around them. We need a system so people can be safe and stay in their homes and placements. This bill creates that.

Please do one of two things today:              

  • Call the Governor’s office at 406-444-3111 and leave a message with the front desk in your own words, something like: “Please ask the Governor to sign House Bill 691 to improve community crisis services for Montanans with developmental disabilities."


  •   Email the Governor with the same message by clicking here. 

Click here to read this bill.


How to Contact Legislators During the Session

Online Messaging

Use the online messaging form to message a legislator (click button below). This is one of the quickest and most effective ways of contacting your legislator. 

Phone Call

Regular office hours during the session are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to adjournment on Saturdays. Callers may leave messages for legislators or acquire general legislative information by calling the Information Desk at (406) 444-4800. Callers may leave messages for up to 5 individual legislators or 1 legislative committee per call.

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To listen to audio/video streaming of committee hearings, click here.


Stay Informed

We will be posting an electronic newsletter each Friday during the 2021 legislative session. We will give you information about upcoming budget and general bill hearings, developments for other bills we are following and action alerts when these bills are coming up for votes.  


If you have accessibility needs and would like to receive the newsletter in another format, please contact Disability Rights Montana at advocate@disabilityrightsmt.org or call 800-245-4743.


Do You Have the Assistive Technology You Need to Participate in the 2021 Legislative Session?

Do you have what you need to share your story or voice support of bills that impact the lives of Montanans with disabilities? Borrow equipment from MonTECH for 30-60 days so you'll be prepared to write, call, or testify.

MonTECH houses a wide range of equipment to help you get connected. Borrow iPads, adapted keyboards, hands-free mice, laptops, wearable speakers, headphones, webcams, voice amplifiers, or devices that allow hands-free video calls with motion tracking. Spotty or nonexistent internet? If you’re in range of a cellular tower, borrow a Jetpack Mobile Hotspot and connect up to 15 devices! MonTECH provides free shipping and return shipping anywhere in Montana, and serves any Montanan who has a disability (including learning disabilities). The program is easy to use and does not require medical verification of a disability to borrow this type of equipment. Call or write if you have questions or need help accessing our program: montech@mso.umt.edu, 1-877-243-5511. We look forward to helping ensure you are heard during the 2021 legislative session!


Protection & Advocacy Service Training

We are more than happy to provide training and workshops to others. We welcome nonprofits, clients, workplaces, and more, to reach out to us if you would like for us to present about our services, and how we can provide assistance. Call 406-449-2344 or email Advocate@DisabilityRightsMT.org.


"Advocating for justice is our individual and collective responsibility."

Executive Director,
Disability Rights Montana
Bernie Franks-Ongoy



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