Montana Senate considers eliminating premarital rubella test

Rep. Kimberly Dudik, D-Missoula

(UM Legislative News Service) A Missoula lawmaker says it’s time for the state to eliminate the requirement for women to get a premarital blood test for a disease that has not been seen in Montana for almost 30 years.

Rep. Kimberly Dudik is sponsoring House Bill 136, which passed the House of Representatives on a 95-to-3 vote in January and is now in front of the Senate. She said during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill Friday that Montana is the only state that still requires women to test for rubella before getting a marriage license.

“It’s just unnecessary and doesn’t keep up with the times anymore. Let’s just get this out of the code, it doesn’t need to be there,” Dudik said.

Dudik also said the test costs an average of $75 to administer.

Legislation passed in 2007 allowed couples to sign a waiver to skip the test. Jessie Luther with the Montana Clerks of District Courts supported the new bill during the hearing and said most couples choose to opt-out.

“A clerk in Fergus County says 100 percent of the marriage licenses she issues contain the waiver,” Luther said.

There were no opponents during the public hearings in either the House or Senate Judiciary Committees.

The Senate Judiciary Committee did not immediately vote on the bill Friday.

Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Newspaper Association.