Contact Us

Host of New Montana Laws to Come Into Effect Starting October 1

lady justice
Photo courtesy of Scott*/Flickr

October 1 is a big day for changes in Montana health insurance, but it is also the start date for a host of new laws that were passed by the 2013 session of the Montana Legislature.

“We have several new public safety laws that are going to take effect,” said Montana Department of Justice spokeswoman Anastasia Burton. “They represent a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of different people. I think that we’ll have improved law enforcement infrastructure in Montana. We’ll be able to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, and we’ll be able to take on DUI offenders. A lot of good things are going to start happening.”

The list of new laws is expansive, but the Montana Department of Justice is trying to get the word out on a few of the big changes. Below is a list sent out by the staff of Attorney General Tim Fox.

Consumer protection for the elderly and developmentally disabled

HB 287 imposes stiffer consumer protection penalties for individuals or scammers who target the elderly or mentally disabled.

Establishing a THC impairment level for DUI purposes

HB 168 establishes a 5 ng/mL limit for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in DUI cases for illegal users of marijuana. Currently, this standard is in place for medical marijuana cardholders. This law will make Montana’s highways safer by establishing a standard of THC impairment that is universal for all drivers. THC is the physiologically active component in marijuana. Previously, only medical marijuana cardholders had to abide by a set limit of 5 ng/ml of THC in their blood. There was no standard for drivers using marijuana illegally.

Requiring out-of-state sex offenders to provide DNA sample when they move to Montana

SB 213 requires offenders who move into Montana to provide a DNA sample to our state crime lab. Montana was one of only four states in the country lacking such a requirement, but we closed the loophole when it comes to convicted sex offenders – felons who often pose a continued risk to society. Previously, when a sexual or violent offender from another state was released from supervision, that offender was able to move to Montana and was required to register here as a sexual or violent offender. However, that offender did not have to provide a DNA sample to be entered into the Montana state DNA database.

Assigning tier levels to undesignated sex offenders

HB 335 allows a district judge to designate a tier level to sex offenders who lack one. The majority of sex offenders in Montana do not have a tier level because they predate the tier system, did not receive one at sentencing, or come from a state with a different tier system. Since an offender’s tier level determines the frequency s/he must report to authorities, this is an important step toward protecting Montanans from dangerous offenders by giving Montana’s prosecutors and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to keep our communities safe.

Criminalizing new designer drugs

HB 140 bans synthetic drugs that mimic dangerous, illegal drugs, but that were not designated as unlawful in state law previously. Now, the manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of designer drugs, including those designer drugs labeled as “bath salts” or “Spice,” is illegal in Montana.

Requiring DPHHS to disclose all instances of child abuse to law enforcement

HB 74 requires disclosure of child abuse to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to law enforcement in all cases. The new law addresses cross-reporting of child abuse and neglect cases, which would allow information to be disseminated quickly between social services and law enforcement in cases of suspicious child deaths, suspected child sexual assaults, and other circumstances.

Increasing penalties for infant assault

SB 198 increases the maximum penalty to 20 years when someone assaults a child aged 36 months or younger. If the abuse caused serious bodily injury, the penalty would rise to 40 years in prison.

More from AM 1450

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://kmmsam.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on AM 1450 KMMS quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on AM 1450 KMMS quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!