September 2014 Update
We have a lot to report so lets get to it. The last Law and Justice committee meeting was Sept. 3rd and it was a great one. The committee voted on all of the bills and this is how it played out.
- LClj90– revise executive clemency laws – passed 9-3 McDonald
- LClj91- prohibit Board from adding programs – failed
- LClj92- increase size of Board – failed
- LClj93- revise laws relating to Board presiding officer – failed
- LClj94– Gov. may change Board presiding officer – passed
- LClj95– revise parole criteria – passed 12-0 Lenz
- LClj96- died
- LClj97– require hearings to be recorded – passed 10-2 Eck
- LClj98– revise MAPA provisions related to Board – passed Hill
- LClj99- died
- LClj51– housing assistance – passed 8-4 McDonald
- LClj52– revise law inmate workers and re-entry costs – passed 8-4 Lenz
- LClj50– study of CCC and DOC contracts of regionals – passed 8-4 Driscoll
- Draft Letter for Shelby audit – passed 7-5
If any of you would like the bill drafts either all or some of them let me know which ones and I will send them to you. LClj90 if passed this session will let the Governor see all clemency applications and he can make the decision on each case. That would be so much better than the way it is now because now he only sees ones that the Board approves first then the Gov. makes the final decision. Barry Beach’s case was brought up again as an example and many feel that he would have benefited if this law were in place now. LClj94 will allow the Governor to replace the presiding officer of the Board at any time. It was reported that Sen. Hill would like McKee to be replaced in one month when his term is up instead of reinstating him as Chairman. Most of the committee was in favor of LClj97 which would mean all hearings will be recorded by video and not just audio. Many Senators felt that body language and facial expressions play a big part at the hearings, there was discussion on how long to keep recordings and the verdict on that was 3-5 years. LClj51 will allow the DOC to give housing vouchers for rent up to 3 months. That will be very helpful for re-entry. The committee wants to move forward with their investigation of Shelby but also wants to include the regionals and private contracts under LClj50. They have drafted the letter for the audit of Shelby and are moving forward with that as well. I thought it was a great meeting of course all of these bills have to make it through the next session to go into effect so we will be praying for these positive changes to happen in 2015.
Connections is getting a new intern for this year her name is Hannah Kops. I have known her and worked with her before as she has updated some Hep C teaching tools for me in the past. Maybe I will be able to catch up on mail once she takes over some of my other responsibilities. Quite a few of our advisory board members have moved on to parole and probation so as always we are looking for new ones to replace them. If you are interested in helping in that way please let me know and I will send you the application.
I have tried to get that survey to the Native American population and it doesn’t seem to make it to you. I will try one more time to send it individually and see what happens. I really wanted to help the Indian Peoples Action group they are working on some good issues. Hope you are getting ready for fall and had a good summer. Thank all of you for all the work you did to help us help all of you. We appreciate your time and dedication to our organization. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers and we wish all of you good health and many blessings.
Connections Box 4142 Bozeman, MT 59772 406-813-8209