The Montana State-Tribal Relations Committee is seeking public comment on nine bill proposals related to runaway youth, motor carrier services, missing persons and federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe.
Jason Small, a Northern Cheyenne tribal member and chairman of the committee, says that while some of the bills are focused on clarifying language, others could have a larger impact, such as a proposed requirement for trucks on reservation highways to use tire chains to lower accident rates or a bill to provide resources for homeless minors during the pandemic.
"What we're trying to do is find a place for these kids to go when they have nothing. We're trying to create them a little opportunity to stabilize their lives for a bit," Small said.
The committee will review comments and consider changing the proposals based on public feedback. Chairman Small says this is an important part of the legislative process because the public often has new ideas or knows of unintended consequences the committee may be unaware of.
"One of the big things we hear about government is transparency, and this is one pretty transparent method for everybody to get an idea of what's going on, what we're trying to accomplish and do," Small said.
The Montana Legislature is expected to consider the proposed bills next January.
Comments must be submitted by August 6. More information about the proposed bills and information about how to leave a comment can be found here.
Kaitlyn Nicholas is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report for America tribal affairs reporter.