Yesterday, political speech suppression legislation, Senate Bill 289, was taken from committee and placed on second reading in the House in a procedural maneuver by proponents. Sponsored by state Senator Duane Ankney (R-20), SB 289 seeks to suppress political speech by organizations such as the NRA which informs Second Amendment supporters on election-related issues and updates. This bill would impose restrictions on organizations participating in certain aspects of candidate activism and election advocacy. This legislation creates a high level of uncertainty for organizations that participate and communicate information relating to candidates and elections to individuals in Montana. If enacted, organizations such as the NRA could be required to disclose personal donor information. SB 289 contains many vague sections, leaving the full extent of the bill’s reach unclear. Other concerns are raised since a large amount of discretion and decision-making is left up to the Commissioner of Political Practices, including determinations of who would be affected under this bill without clear guidance or definition currently present in the legislation. For more information about this bill and the NRA’s opposition, please click here.
Senate Bill 289 could be brought up for a vote as early as tomorrow. It is imperative that you contact your state Representative and politely urge him or her to OPPOSE Senate Bill 289 when it comes up for a vote. Contact information for your state Representative can be found here.