Bill Could Bar People Owing Child Support From Getting Hunting Licenses

Feb 7, 2017

A bill in the legislature is pushing new penalties for Montanans with outstanding child support payments. Under Senate Bill 172, people who owe child support in Montana could be barred from buying a hunting, fishing, or trapping license.

Republican Senator Mike Lang of Malta is carrying the bill.

"I had a guy that came up to me, and he said I don’t like your bill," Lang says. "I’m not paying my child support now because my wife wouldn’t let me see the children. Okay, so I said well she was bad, now you’re creating another bad, who’s really losing here? The kids are losing."

Republican Senator Jennifer Fielder of Thompson Falls says she has concerns with the bill, especially if hunting rights are stripped away from someone who provides sustenance for their families rather than hunting for sport.

"I’m really concerned that we’re actually not helping families," says Fielder. "We’re actually going to be making it worse for some families."

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB-172 this morning and did not immediately vote on the bill.

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.