Legislative Update: Thursday, April 13

FM

Forrest Mandeville

Ballot-collection bill debated

By Cole Grant

The Montana Legislature is taking a break this weekend after passing more than a dozen bills Thursday.

Lawmakers tackled issues like giving loans to the owners of coal-fired power plants, raising production caps for small breweries, and asking voters if they want to limit who can collect ballots.

In a debate on the bill about ballot collection in the House Wednesday, recorded by the Legislature, Rep. Forrest Mandeville, R-Columbus said whether or not people believe voter fraud is happening, “We should still be trying to do everything we can to make sure there is no question that our election process is absolutely sacred.”

Rep. Bryce Bennett, D-Missoula says Senate Bill 352 aims at voter suppression.

“This bill is about creating barriers where none are needed, or none need to exist, because our system works as it is,” he said. “This bill hurts voters.”

Since the referendum passed the House and Senate, it will now go to the secretary of state’s office, and will probably be on the 2018 ballot.

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.

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