Montana Voices: Faith groups, rights activists question bill

By Montana Human Rights Network

A coalition of Montana faith, human and civil rights, women, and immigrant and refugee support groups in Montana is questioning a legislative action early this week on an anti-Muslim bill.

The Montana Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA) expressed concerns about both the process and substance of SB 97, sponsored by Keith Regier, R-Kalispell. The groups have opposed the legislation in the Senate prior to its advancement to the House on both moral and particular grounds.

While appearing to have no hesitation about passing anti-Muslim “foreign law ban” SB 97, out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, off of the Senate floor, and then out of the House Judiciary Committee, the Republican majority took the unusual step of not scheduling the bill for 2nd reading on the House floor the following day.

Common practice would dictate that once a bill leaves committee with no amendments and has no need to go through Appropriations, it would be placed on the House floor agenda for the next legislative day.

So what could the problem be? Did the vile, racist, xenophobic testimony of the proponents put some Republicans off? Did pro-business types finally see that SB 97 would cause chaos in contracts, family law, and the courts? Or did the Republicans get wind that Montanans don’t see their welcoming values reflected in SB 97 and planned to protest its passage?

Regardless, Montanans will stand with our Muslim friends and neighbors in opposition to SB 97, whether that’s tomorrow, the next day, or the last day of the 2017 legislative session.

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