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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Judge strikes down sections of new law regulating political activity

A gavel and scale of justice.

A Lewis and Clark County judge has ruled part of a new law that regulates political campaign financing is unconstitutional due to the way lawmakers passed the legislation.

During the 2021 legislative session, the bill was amended at the last minute to restrict political activity on college campuses and judges’ ability to rule on cases involving political donors.

A coalition including Lewis and Clark Sheriff Leo Gallagher, nonprofit Forward Montana, an association of criminal defense attorneys and others challenged the bill, alleging the provisions were added without public input.

District Court Judge Mike Menahan ruled Thursday in their favor, writing that the amended part of the bill changed the original purpose of the legislation and therefore violates the part of the state constitution that regulates bill drafting. A bill’s title must accurately describe its content.

The other sections of new law dealing with campaign finance, fundraising and reporting rules still stand.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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