Through NEAT, constituents continue to leave large numbers of voicemail and email messages every day and have been for the past few weeks. In a state like Montana that has a Republican Governor and Legislature, there are not large numbers of forces on the ground mobilized to fight anti-LGBT bills like these which is why the work of NEAT and our dedicated year-round volunteer army is so critical.
Representative Mallerie Stromswold, the only Republican so far to vote against the bills, was quoted in the Montana Free Press estimating she had received 4,000 calls, emails and texts asking her to vote against.
“When I got calls from constituents in Montana telling me their stories and letting me know what this experience was actually like, I was dumbfounded,” Stromswold said, referring to the debated health care procedures. “I was like, wow, I’m really uneducated, and I can’t imagine everybody else [on the committee] is all that much more educated, because it is a taboo issue.”
Late last week the Montana House Judiciary Committee advanced House Bill 112 (Save Women’s Sports Act) to the full House of Representatives which, if passed, would bar trans youth from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity. On Friday, a House committee approved House Bill 113 (Youth Health Protection Act) which would prevent doctors from offering medically appropriate health care to trans youth under 18.
As of January 25, both bills will now advance to a full vote on the House floor. Elected in November 2020, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte has not said if he will sign the bills if they reach his desk, but he is known for his opposition to LGBT rights including past gifts of over $1 million to leading organizations that oppose LGBT rights.
** In this campaign NEAT is supporting the local coalition that includes (amongst others) Montana Human Rights Network, ACLU Montana, and Montana Women Vote.