Week 4 Legislative Update:

January 25th-29th 

Photo of Montana Capitol building.


Next week the Section B appropriations subcommittee will be holding a hearing on the

Addictive & Mental Disorders Division (AMDD) budget. This will be on Tuesday, January 26 from 8:00 to 12:00.  A committee work session on the AMDD budget is the next day, Wednesday, January 27 starting at 8:00.

They will have a second hearing on the Disability Employment & Transitions Division (DETD) budget two days later on Thursday, January 28, from 8:00 to 12:00.  The committee work session for that budget will be the following week on Tuesday, February 2, starting at 8:00.  

Click here for the full schedule. Be sure to check it often as we have seen the schedule change with little notice.


General Bills

Monday, January 25th

At 3:00 pm, the Senate State Administration Committee will hear SB 15, “Revise election laws related to accessibility for disabled electors.” Click here to read this bill. This bill was drafted by the interim State Administration and Veterans Affairs Committee, which sought out the input of all stakeholders. This bill addresses the availability of accessible voting machines, including assuring their use in school and other non-federal elections.  It also makes various changes regarding the use of registered agents for voting, referring to applicable federal law, accessibility of polling places, and protecting people with disabilities’ ability to cast ballots and receive voting assistance. 

It is sponsored by Sen. Janet Ellis and will be heard in Room 335. 

Click here for the contact information for the Senate State Administration Committee

Tuesday, January 26th

At 3:00, the Senate Fish and Game Committee will hear SB 111, “Revising laws re conditional hunting permits for disabled persons.” Click here to read this bill. This will would allow people that have “ a permanent condition that severely limits the person's ability to draw and hold a long bow, a recurve bow, or a compound bow of sufficient draw weight to hunt a game animal” to be allowed to hunt with a crossbow if they have “purchased a Class A-2 special bow and arrow license in the past 3 years” or “completed a bowhunter education course . . . at least 1 year prior to applying for a permit to hunt with a crossbow.“  The bill is sponsored by Sen. Molnar and will be heard in Room 303.

Click here for the contact information for the Senate Fish and Game Committee.

Wednesday, January 27th

At 3:00, the Senate State Administration Committee will hear SB 107, “ Extend close of regular registration until 10 days before election day.” Click here to read this bill. This will allow people to register without having to go to the election office until 10 days prior to election day.  Currently, it is 30 days.  This bill is sponsored by Sen. Bryce Bennet and will be heard in Room 335.

Click here for the contact information for the Senate State Administration Committee



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


Goings on this week:

The House passed HB 38, “Establish legislative intent for home and community-based services waivers.”  The Senate passed SB 31, “Require consideration of less restrictive options in guardianship proceedings.”  We would love support as these bills travel on to the other house for a second hearing in the upcoming weeks.

Unfortunately, this week the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled SB 32 “Revise monitoring requirements for guardians of adults,” which would have required the submission of a plan to care for the ward when petitioning for a guardianship, as well as prohibited the waiver of annual reporting regarding the welfare and finances of the ward.  It also tabled SB 16, “Allow minors to consent to emergency shelter and services.” This bill would have allowed youth in crisis, who do not have a guardian they can trust to consent to housing and other services.

Also this week, the State Administration Committee heard HB 176 “ Close late voter registration on Friday before the election.” We opposed this bill, as we find that limitations to access to voting fall disproportionately against people with disabilities.  Many have considerable barriers to transportation and access to public services like voting – especially those who are served in institutional settings. This bill would end late registration two voting days early, and eliminate same-day voter registration on election day entirely.

Although the 2020 data is not yet available, in the 2018 general election, more than 60,488 people in Montana used same-day voter registration to register and vote on election day.

The reason given for this bill is to limit the burden upon election administrators and county election officials.  However, the Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders, which represents county election officials, did not support this bill.

The House State Administration Committee is likely to vote on this bill soon. Click here to contact members of this committee.


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.

Not sure who represents you in the Montana Legislature? 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.  


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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Disability Rights Montana protects and advocates for the human, legal, and civil rights of Montanans with disabilities while advancing dignity, equality, and self-determination.

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Disability Rights Montana
1022 Chestnut Street  | Helena, Montana 59601
406-449-2344 | Advocate@DisabilityRightsMT.org

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