Upon review of this bill, it was determined the bill is in actuality a revenue bill and as such the deadline has been changed to reflex the deadline category of a revenue bill. Translation - the devastating effects of the Judiciary Committee's decision to leave institutionalized children in Montana unprotected from abuse and maltreatment has been wiped clean, and we have one more chance this session to give these children a voice!
This requires ACTION! Representative Ellie Hill and Jenny Eck have requested the assistance of anybody who cares about the safety of children to send a message to every MT House Legislator, pleading that they vote "YES" on what is called a Blast Motion so that HB 236 can have a full hearing on the MT House floor.
There are two ways to do this:
1) You can use the online message form by clicking here.
2) You can call 406-444-4800 and leave a message for up to five (5) legislators.
Thanks to the efforts of Tim Sabens (former houseparent at Pinehaven), here is a list of all the Republican MT House Legislators (last name, first name):
MOORE DAVID ( DOC )
Please take the time to speak up and be heard. Please stand up for the rights, health and safety of Montana's most vulnerable children.
Here is the message that was submitted by James P. Mason. Feel free to use it as a guide if you are not entirely familiar with the issue at hand.
Please ensure that all children in Montana, especially those most vulnerable to physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse – have equal protection under the law, no matter who they are living with. Please ensure that these children have a way to report abuse, have full access to medical care, and are treated with the same loving care you seek for your children.
I was one of these children. If there had been oversight of my care while residing in Montana at a faith-based program – I may have not been raped, my roommate might still be alive, and I may have left Montana unbroken. Yet protections were not in place and I was raped, I was abused, and my roommate is dead.
HB 236 is not about religion, or a church’s right to include religious foundations in their program. The constitutional rights of these owners are not in jeopardy. What is in jeopardy however, is the rights of the children in their care who have no way of reporting, no guarantee of medical treatment, and no guarantee of familial communications.
We give these rights to felons in State Prison and terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, but not our children.
Please stand up for the children of Montana and give HB 236 the chance to be heard.
Vote “Yes” tomorrow on HB 236.