Montana Human Rights Network

After a chaotic and confusing hearing in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, where state agencies directly contradicted assertions made by the Office of Budget and Planning (OBPP) in their fiscal note, committee members today passed SB 458 out of committee with a vote of 11-8.

Senate Bill 458 is the most aggressive and disturbing anti-LGBTQ bill at play in Montana – and likely in the entire country.

As Montana medical experts explained in testimony, this bill incorrectly defines sex as exclusively male and female on the basis of a person’s reproductive capacity. The definition of sex in this bill

is based on an unscientific and archaic understanding of basic biology.

Not only is this a gross and malicious attempt to legislate transgender, nonbinary, and intersex people out of existence, but this bill will also have devastating effects on our economy, the Department of Justice, and the Montana University System (MUS).

Discussion before executive action in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee revealed the Governor’s office withheld relevant technical information on the fiscal note from the Department of Justice.

Emails given to senators on the committee show that the OBPP did not include technical notes from the Montana University System showing a significant and detrimental impact to the state’s colleges and universities.

When directly asked about this information, OBPP misrepresented the MUS response. The intentional exclusion of relevant information demonstrates the harmful attacks on the LGBTQ community are calculated, coordinated, and go all the way up to the governor’s office.