House votes on dozens of bills, including abortion and gun legislation

House lawmakers voted on dozens of bills Tuesday running up to the transmittal deadline on Thursday

House lawmakers voted on dozens of bills Tuesday running up to the transmittal deadline on Thursday

Montana Lawmakers are making their final push to vote on Legislation before what’s known as the transmittal deadline on Thursday.

As we reported, all non-money bills have to transfer over to the opposite chamber from where they started by then, or they die.

In a morning House Floor session, lawmakers took an important vote on a bill which would require parental consent before a minor can seek an abortion. The bill passed second reading 59 to 41, mostly on party lines.Sponsor, Rep. Jerry Bennett (R-Libby) says this bill follows up on a ballot measure passed by voters last November which requires parental notification before a minor’s abortion.

“This act, when passed will reinforce the right and responsibility that Montana parents take seriously, to be involved and get permission for a medical procedure involving their child.”

Missoula Democratic Representative Jenifer Gursky spoke against the bill, saying the vast majority of teens who are considering abortions do consult with their parents. Those that do not, she says, may have important reasons not to tell parents.

“They’re hard cases,” she said, “they’re the cases that include rape, incest or other situations that make it unsafe for a young girl to go to their parents.”

The abortion consent bill needs to pass one more final vote. If it does, it will move to the Senate.

In the morning session the House also gave final approval to a bill raising the amount of campaign money people can give to candidates.

Another bill to prohibit wrongful birth or wrongful life lawsuits–those are lawsuits against doctors who do not provide information to parents of birth defects in a fetus. The bill to prohibit those passed its final vote and heads to the Senate.

After the lunch hour. Representatives debated nearly two dozen more bills. A bill from Columbia Falls Republican Jerry O’Neil to allow guns on school grounds in locked vehicles was resurrected. The bill failed last Saturday on a 49 to 51. But the House voted to bring it back up for debate with a major amendment—striking the guns in locked vehicle component.

Representative O’Neil says he now agrees with some who voted against the bill: “The school trustees are the ones who should be responsible for deciding if their schools have shooting sports programs, whether their students should be allowed to bring their own firearms and how any firearms used in such programs should be stored while on school property.”

The bill now only changes how incidents where kids bring guns to school are handled. It changes language from a school official shall suspend that student to an official may suspend that student. There also would need to be a public hearing if the student was expelled. As amended, the bill passed 55 to 45. It still needs to pass a final vote before heading to the Senate.

Lawmakers will be voting on dozens more bills yet to be debated before Thursday.

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