The Missoulian (of course) printed the most info on the HB 516 hearing yesterday:
A crowd of people, many of them from Missoula, showed up Monday to oppose a bill that would nullify the city’s 2010 ordinance that protects residents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender and gender expression.
A smaller group of people, some of whom fought the Missoula ordinance last year, came to support House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, at a hearing before the Senate Local Government Committee.
It was a low-key hearing compared to the at-times boisterous House Judiciary Committee hearing last month.
Hansen’s bill would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances or other policies like Missoula’s that cover, as a protected class from actual discrimination, any groups not now included in the Montana Human Rights Act.
She questioned the legality of the Missoula ordinance, saying it could take several years for such a challenge to get through courts here.
“My bill prevents that,” she said. “It declares that the state is preemptive in the field. I believe that state law does preempt in this area.”
I even got a mention:
Gregory Smith, who was a chaplain to the Legislature in 1993, said he is a therapist whose patients includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“I am a gay man and a native Montanan,” he said. “We want to live our lives happily and from fear in the state we grew up in.”
Smith said the bill ignores a suffering segment of Montana’s population and is “enshrining bigotry and discrimination.