January Update 2017

Happy New Year Everybody,
I know this is a big surprise and some of you might have been wondering why you haven’t heard from me in awhile. As you know my health hasn’t been the best last year but I have been doing all I can to correct that issue. I also lost my Mom last May which was a huge loss for me. I know my Mom would want me to carry on with my work so that is exactly what I intend on doing. No time like the present to jump on board and get back in the loop.
I am inclosing the bills that concern us as felons. We need to bury the legislators in calls, e-mails and letters of support. There will be more as we go through the session. This could be the year things move forward for everyone. Also a call to local legislators by everyone will also be a great help. Here are the Senate Committee members that need to be contacted showing support for the following Bills:
SB59 -Jail/Incarceration Diversion ( Community Treatment/Community Service rather than incarceration)
SB60 – Pre Sentence Risk assessment (using real fact based assessment tools to give fair sentences)
SB61- Requires licenses for institutions that provide mental health services such as prisons and pre-release. This makes sense if your providing and charging for services that require training and State license they should be required to comply.
SB63 – Creates a system where if an individual is doing well on probationary supervision, then according to a set schedule, an individual would be moved to a conditional discharge status.
SB64 – Creates a system where if an individual is doing well on parole supervision, then according to a set schedule, an individual would be moved to a conditional discharge status. It also makes the Board a professional board rather than appointed volunteers with specific rules to follow.
Bills  SB 63,64 address revocations for rule (technical) violations, I believe they will stem the back to prison flow based on violations of rules  like missing an appointment or getting laid off from work. The Bills require a minimum 3 separate violations before filing for revocation and the violation level is elevated minor infractions leading to imprisonment.
The other Bills require licensing of prisons and pre-releases if they are providing mental health services. Such institutions should be required to have licensed individuals provide these services. Also use of a real tested risk assessment tools in sentencing and release decisions move the decision from nature of crime to risk to community as the key factor.
Committee Members.
(S)Judiciary — Standing Committee
Sen. JENNIFER FIELDER (R)–Vice Chair
Sen. JEN GROSS (D)
Sen. STEVE HINEBAUCH (R)
Sen. JEDEDIAH HINKLE (R)
Sen. MARGARET ( MARGIE ) MACDONALD (D)
Sen. MARY MOE (D)
Sen. KEITH REGIER (R)–Chair
Sen. SCOTT SALES (R)
Sen. DIANE SANDS (D)–Vice Chair
Sen. NELS SWANDAL (R)
Sen. CHAS V VINCENT (R)
A well-written letter is one of the best ways to let your legislator know your thoughts and opinions about a particular issue. Here are some tips for getting your message across effectively:
⦁ Be brief. Legislators have many demands on their time. They appreciate letters that are short and to the point.
⦁ Put the message in your own words. Form letters and petitions don’t have the same impact as personal, informed opinions.
⦁ Address your letter to a specific legislator or legislators. Depending on your message, you may want to write to the sponsor of a bill, certain members of a committee, or your own legislators. Don’t address your letter to the entire Legislature.
⦁ Identify bills by their number, title, and sponsor.
⦁ Explain your position on the bill and ask for the legislator’s support or opposition.
⦁ Give any sources of information that you use to make your point.
⦁ Include your name, address, and a little about who you are (for example, where you work or what school you attend).]
Address letters to:
Senator XXXX
Montana Senate
PO Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500
or
Rep. XXXX
Montana House of Representatives
PO Box 200400
Helena, MT 59620-0400
If you have a problem getting your letter through you can always send them to me and I will personally deliver them when I go to testify. Please ask family and friends to visit our facebook page at mtconnections or our website at mtconnections.org. They can always call the office if they need help with their email to legislators. I hope this update finds all of you well and hope to hear from you soon.
Many Blessings,
Casey
Connections  Box 4142  Bozeman, MT 59772   406-813-8209 or 406-451-9995