MTPR

Montana Office of the State Public Defender

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

This week, lawmakers are considering how to fund the Office of the State Public Defender, that provides legal counsel to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

During the last two days of hearings, attorneys from across the state gathered in a small third floor room in the Capitol, telling lawmakers about budget cuts that they say are adding to their already burdened work.

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

As Montana lawmakers begin hearings this week to figure out how to fund public defenders in the state, attorneys say they don’t have enough resources, and their caseloads are rising.

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

A bipartisan group of lawmakers agreed today to fund new judges for Montana’s burdened court system. But, as lawmakers focus on cutting spending statewide, the future of other services in courts are uncertain.

Shards of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as crystal meth.
Radspunk (GFDL)

Lawmakers in Helena Wednesday considered a proposal to study how increased reports of meth use in Montana are impacting the state’s social services.

Representative Ellie Hill Smith, a Missoula Democrat, says the state needs to find a solution for, what she describes as, a meth problem that’s draining state resources:

Kimberly Dudik is the sponsor of a bill that would require the state health department to work with other organizations to develop a plan to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Mike Albans

A bi-partisan task force of lawmakers is proposing a package of 7 bills this legislative session aiming to improve the work of Montana’s Public Defender Office.

Two of those bills got their first hearing Monday in the House Judiciary committee.

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