MTPR

ACLU of Montana

Montana’s Supreme Court has ordered Attorney General Tim Fox to respond to the American Civil Liberties Union’s complaint about the language of a so-called "bathroom privacy" ballot initiative.

On Monday the court gave Fox 20 days to explain why the ballot language his office wrote for the initiative being promoted by the Montana Family Foundation is fair and accurate.

Montana Supreme Court Temporarily Halts 'Marsy's Law'
(PD)

The Montana Supreme Court has ordered a temporary stop to Marsy’s Law, the constitutional amendment approved by voters last fall.

The court halted Marsy’s Law, which increases the rights of crime victims, until another legal case challenging the constitutionality of new law is resolved. The constitutional amendment was scheduled to go into effect July 1.

Montana Supreme Court Temporarily Halts 'Marsy's Law'
(PD)

A group of Montana individuals and organizations is suing to stop a list of rights for crime victims, known as Marcy’s Law, from going into effect in the state on July 1.

Montana voters passed Marcy’s Law last November.

A float in the Helena Vigilante Day parade depicting the Madison Buffalo Jump has been criticized by the ACLU and others for its portrayal of Native Americans.
Courtesy Meg Singer

One of the longest-running high school parades in the United States has been criticized by the ACLU and others for its portrayal of Native Americans.

“This is racism, 21st century racism," says Meg Singer, a Helena resident and member of the Navajo Nation.

She says Helena High School students at the Vigilante Day Parade last Friday dressed in Hollywood-style Native American costumes with short skirts and other scantily-clad clothing.

The ACLU Montana is investigating a human rights complaint at Montana State University-Northern in Havre. The Sweetgrass Society, a Native American student group, says there’s a deeper issue on campus—and it's been going on for months.


The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Cascade County Wednesday for allegedly failing to comply with several Freedom of Information Act requests.

ACLU of Montana’s Legal Director has had it with Cascade County:

The Montana House, on a 56-44 vote, gave preliminary approval to a bill that would ban the application of foreign laws in state courts. Proponents and opponents have dubbed Senate Bill 97 the Sharia law measure. Opponents said it targets Muslims.


Hearing room.
William Marcus

Thursday morning, The Senate Judiciary committee heard the first two bills in a package of 5 that aim to overhaul state law on sex crimes.

One bill would allow a judge to soften penalties on teenagers who have consensual sex.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

Debate over the constitutional amendment voters passed this year has now turned into a lawsuit filed with the Montana Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, along with several county and attorney associations, filed a lawsuit today to block the constitutional change known as Marsy’s Law from taking immediate effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

Donald Trump’s election has proven to be a windfall of sorts for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana.

A high school homecoming football game on the Flathead Indian Reservation drew fans and protesters alike Friday night. A crowd of about 50 people amassed against the outer fence surrounding the football stadium during halftime.
Nicky Ouellet

School administrators in Polson are figuring out how to move forward, after pictures of two students wearing t-shirts with a Confederate flag and "white power" slogans to a school event garnered national attention last week.

Nicky Ouellet

A high school homecoming football game on the Flathead Indian Reservation drew fans and protesters alike Friday night. A crowd of about 50 people amassed against the outer fence surrounding the football stadium during halftime. They held signs and chanted “No more hate” across the fence.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Montana legislators are considering overhauling Montana’s sexual assault laws during the next legislative session. On Tuesday, Montana lawmakers reviewed potential bills that could change the legal definition of rape, revise the mandatory minimum sentences  for rape, and rework laws regarding the penalty for the distribution of sexual images or recordings.

Debate Over LBGT Civil Rights Reaches MT Campaigns

Apr 7, 2016
Anthony Romero, attorney and executive director, of the ACLU
Courtesy ACLU

Debate over new law in North Carolina aimed at civil rights for the LBGT community has become a campaign issue across the country, including Montana’s gubernatorial contest. Anthony Romero, attorney and executive director of the ACLU, is scheduled to be in Montana April 13 and 14, 2016 to discuss this and other civil liberty issues. 

Montana ACLU Director On 'Home Ground Radio'

Jan 6, 2016

Just about everybody says they support the constitution. But which parts? The American Civil Liberties Union has 50 state affiliates that take controversial cases to court. Caitlin Borgmann knows. She’s director of the ACLU of Montana, and today's guest on "Home Ground Radio"

Montana lawmakers will review proposed new campaign-finance rules Tuesday. The rules, written by political practices commissioner Jonathan Motl, are controversial. Steve Jess reports that they might be delayed.

Legislature Hears Passionate Testimony On Discrimination Protections For LGBTQ Montanans
Josh Burnham

Bozeman's Stacey Haugland never thought she'd live to see the day when gay marriage would be legalized nationwide. The Supreme Court today guaranteed that right.

Edward O'Brien

Montana’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has only had one executive director since it was established in 1988, Scott Crichton. And now Scott Crichton is stepping down. He stopped by MTPR’s studios recently to talk about his 27 years as Executive Director of the Montana ACLU.

Caitlin Borgmann, director of the Montana ACLU.
Photo Courtesy CUNY Law School

The Montana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has hired a new executive director. That position has been held by only one person since Montana’s ACLU hired him in 1988, Scott Crichton. Crichton is now retiring. He says the new director is a Missoula native.

Lawmakers To Consider Limits On Where Sex Offenders Can Live

Apr 13, 2015
Montana capitol, Helena.
William Marcus

Tuesday at the Montana Legislature, lawmakers hear a bill that would restrict where high-risk sex offenders can live and work.

Montana lawmakers are moving closer to giving cities the power to deal with the problem of public intoxication.

Current state law treats alcoholism as a disease to be treated rather than a crime to be punished, but Billings city officials say that hampers their efforts to deal with public drunkenness, a problem that costs the city over eight million dollars a year.

New West Health Services is sending out notices to 25,000 customers after a data breach that potentially exposed the personal information of current and former New West customers.
(PD)

A pair of bills intended to increase privacy in the digital age are making their way through the Montana legislature. They were each heard today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will vote on them later.

ACLU

A new report says too many of Montana's county jails are unsafe for inmates.

The president of the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association says it makes some valid points and adds there’s a reason for those conditions.

Chris Hoffman is also sheriff of Ravalli County and says operating jails isn’t easy.

"It is difficult work. Our mandate is to keep those facilities clean and safe for both the inmates and detention officers. It's a challenge every day."

Montana Legislature

In the Montana legislature Tuesday morning, two bills were heard, offering two very different answers to the same question: Does a terminally ill person have a right to die on their own terms, instead of waiting for their illness to run its course, often with much pain, and little dignity?

ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana says the state's county jail system is unsafe and badly in need of reform.

The organization issued a report today detailing an overview of what it says are the poor conditions of Montana's local jails.

ACLU Executive Director, Scott Crichton, says too many of Montana's detention centers are old and physically deteriorating.

Legislators Debate Changes To Sexual Abuse Prosecutions

Jan 28, 2015
Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R) SD7
Montana Legislature

Gay Marriage Plaintiffs React To Judge's Ruling

Nov 19, 2014
Courtesy ACLU of Montana

For certain Montana residents today will be one of those days when they remember where they were when they heard the news. Sue Hawthorne was out shopping with her sister when, as she puts it, her phone started ‘exploding’ with calls and texts from friends. Federal Judge Brian Morris had ruled in a lawsuit in which Hawthorne was a plaintiff. Her marriage to Adel Johnson of Helena, performed in Washington state several months ago, was now legally recognized in Montana:

The ACLU of Montana says a federal judge in Great Falls should rule in favor of gay marriage, without taking their lawsuit to trial.

The group filed suit to overturn Montana’s gay marriage ban in April, on behalf of four same sex couples,
some were married in other states, others are trying to get married in Montana.

Today they asked U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris to rule in their favor without a trial, since the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over Montana struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada on October seventh.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana

The state ballot measure to end voter registration on election day will be especially bad for Native Americans.

That is according to the lawyer who has argued and won some of Montana’s most significant Native American voting rights lawsuits.

"Any restriction on the ability of people to register to vote ought to be invalidated," says Laughlin McDonald, director emeritus of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project.

A civil rights organization filed a lawsuit Monday against the state over the treatment of mentally ill inmates at the Montana State Prison and at the Montana State Hospital.

Disability Rights Montana sued seven top officials with both the state Departments of Corrections and Health and Human Services, saying mentally ill inmates are “subjected to a cruel system that exacerbates, rather than treats and ameliorates their mental illness.”

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