Legislators hear State of the Tribal Nations address
By Freddy Monares
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman Vernon Finley asked legislators at the State of the Tribal Nations address in the Montana House chambers Wednesday to remember their collective history.
He said he’s proud that despite national rhetoric, legislators are able to shake hands and disagree.
“Even though we have extreme right and extreme left in our state, in the final analysis common sense usually prevails,” Finley said.
He asked legislators to keep the history of the state in mind as they continue their deliberations during the legislative session.
“Being able to shake hands with one another and disagree in a healthy way is a trademark of Montana that I’m always proud of,” Finley said.
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.
Bill aims at new crime designation
By Cole Grant
Senate Bill 153 would make strangulation of a family member or partner a felony.
Rep. Margie MacDonald, D-Billings, said she thinks it is most critical, in the domestic violence setting, to treat the crime as a felony.
“And that that is the place where it probably is most often been passed over and diminished in terms of its significance as an assault,” she said.
Strangulation is currently considered assault, which could be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the crime.
MacDonald said the law could be broadened later to include making the crime a felony in other situations. But because the proposal came out of the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission, she said, family members and partners have been the focus.
The bill defines the crime as blocking airflow to the nose and mouth, or applying pressure on the throat or neck.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB 153 Thursday morning.
Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.