Montana Public Radio

SK Rossi

Inmate Populations for Select County Jails in Montana
Charles Bolte / Montana Public Radio

County jail populations dropped this spring as the state reacted to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, with cases of COVID-19 on the rise, inmate populations in several of Montana’s largest county jails are growing and cell blocks are crowded. Some advocates are calling for more action to reduce the number of people locked up during this time. But local sheriffs say they’re balancing virus risks and public safety. It’s all leaving some inmates worried about their health.

Rep. Brad Hamlett, D-Cascade, wants to require prosecutors to provide indisputable biological proof that a person committed a capital crime before that person can be sentenced to death. File photo.
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana lawmaker wants to require prosecutors to provide indisputable biological proof that a person committed a capital crime before that person can be sentenced to death.

Montana Lawmakers Hear Testimony On 'Revenge Porn' Bill

Jan 28, 2019
Montana Capitol.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

HELENA -- Montana would be the 42nd state to criminalize nonconsensual pornography if a new bill introduced in the Montana Legislature becomes law.

Rep. Marilyn Ryan, D-Missoula, is sponsoring House Bill 192, which would make the distribution of sexual images of people without their consent a felony.

Bill Would Repeal Montana’s Switchblade Ban

Jan 21, 2019
Rep. Casey Knudsen, R-Malta, presents his bill to repeal the ban on switchblades in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 21, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA — The House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would repeal the statewide ban on switchblade knives.

Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings, is sponsoring a bill to criminalize bullying in schools at the request of a group of school resource officers. Jan. 21, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- Montana lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would criminalize school bullying.

House Bill 199 is sponsored by Rep. Barry Usher, R-Billings. It would make bullying in a school a misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500, county jail time or placement in a youth detention facility. If the bullying results in death or serious bodily harm, the defendant could be charged with a felony.

S.K. Rossi, of the ACLU of Montana, speaks at a press conference at the Montana Capitol Wednesday in support of bill that would stop the state from suspending the driver’s licenses of people who fail to pay their court debts. Jan. 9, 2019.
Tim Pierce / UM Legislative News Service

Montana lawmakers are considering a change to when drivers licenses can be suspended. Critics of current law say taking away some people’s ability to drive criminalizes poverty.

The bill draft would take away the ability of a judge to suspend someone’s license if they fail to pay court fines, costs or restitution.