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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Montana Groups Sue To Stop 'Marsey's Law' From Taking Effect

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Montana Groups Sue To Stop 'Marsey's Law' From Taking Effect

A group of Montana individuals and organizations is suing to stop a list of rights for crime victims, known as Marcy’s Law, from going into effect in the state on July 1.

Montana voters passed Marcy’s Law last November.

“Many of the well-reasoned and sacred provisions in our Montana constitution were unwittingly amended,” says Alex Rate, the legal director for ACLU Montana, one of the plaintiffs.

He says the changes would harm the due-process rights of people accused of crimes and that the law's privacy provisions would extend to corporations and other entities.

"We really, honestly, at this time can’t see what the impacts of those consequences will be," Rate says.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday asks the Montana Supreme Court to rule Marsy's Law unconstitutional. Plaintiffs include a prosecutor, defense attorneys, and the Montana Association of Counties.

Chuck Denowh, a lobbyist who is the spokesperson for the Marsy's Law initiative backers in Montana, said the plaintiffs are trying to deprive victims of the rights that voters approved by a two-to-one margin.

Backers of Marsy's Law are pushing to expand it to other states since it was first passed in California in 2008.

It's been approved in Montana, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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