Anti-sanctuaries bill headed to governor, and immigration-detainer
Good news! Rep. Ken Holmlund's bill HB 200 ("Establish laws prohibiting sanctuary cities in Montana") passed the Senate last week without amendments. It will soon be sent to Governor Gianforte for his signature, and he's said explicitly that he wants to sign it.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bill Mercer's HB 223 ("Create statutory authority for sworn law-enforcement officers to hold aliens"), which is necessary to make the Holmlund bill fully effective (it mandates that state and local law enforcement agencies in Montana honor immigration detainers issued by the feds), has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, 7-4, and will be on the Senate floor for "Second Reading" on Tuesday afternoon, 3/22. If it passes Second Reading, it will be up for Third Reading, typically the next day. (Third Reading is generally a formality, allowing legislators to change their minds after a day's reflection, a relatively unusual occurrence.)
The Senate committee made modest, clarifying amendments to HB 223, so if it passes the full Senate, the bill will go back to the House for a vote on the amended version. But right now, the important thing is to have the bill approved by the Senate!
So Montana addressees on this note should, please, contact their state senator ASAP with the simple message, "Help combat illegal immigration in Montana by passing HB 223."
- If you know who your senator is, you can find his/her email address and phone number here: https://leg.mt.gov/
legislator-information/ (For "Session," use "2021 Regular" from the drop-down list.)- If you don't know your senator's name, start here: https://leg.mt.gov/map/
The votes on the HB 223 so far (in the House committee, on the House floor, and in the Senate committee) have been essentially party-line, with all Democrats opposed. The chance of changing their minds is slim. Nevertheless, if your senator is a Democrat, it still makes sense to email or phone him/her and urge a "Yes" vote on HB 223, so he and she will have some sense of public sentiment on the subject.
Especially with the ongoing chaos on the southern border, we can hope that senators will be moved to take this state-level action to combat illegal immigration.
Please take a few minutes to nudge them in that direction!