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SENATE BILL NO. 292
INTRODUCED BY A. BISHOP
BY REQUEST OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE
AN ACT CLARIFYING THE APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN CAMPAIGN LAWS DECLARED TO BE INVALID; ELIMINATING RESTRICTIONS ON SEEKING VOTES ON ELECTION DAY; ELIMINATING WILLFUL OR NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION OF A CANDIDATE'S VOTING RECORD AS A CRIME; AMENDING SECTION 13-37-131, MCA; AND REPEALING SECTION 13-35-233, MCA.
WHEREAS, in National Right to Life Political Action Committee v. Argenbright, Cause No. CV 96-85-H-CCL, U.S. District Court, Helena Division (1997), section 13-35-233, MCA, prohibiting solicitation of votes on election day, was declared unconstitutional; and
WHEREAS, in Parisot v. Argenbright, Cause No. CDV-96-1555, First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County (1997), the negligence standard for publishing false statements about a candidate's voting record was declared invalid.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 13-37-131, MCA, is amended to read:
"13-37-131. Misrepresentation of voting record -- political civil libel. (1) It is unlawful for a person to
negligently make or publish a false statement about misrepresent a candidate's public voting record or any other matter that
is relevant to the issues of the campaign with knowledge that the assertion is false or with a reckless disregard of whether or
not the assertion is false or to make or publish a false statement that reflects unfavorably upon a candidate's character or
(2) It is unlawful for a person to
willfully or negligently provide false information to a candidate concerning another
candidate's public voting record when the person knows or should know that the information will be made public during the
course of a campaign misrepresent to a candidate another candidate's public voting record or any other matter that is
relevant to the issues of the campaign with knowledge that the assertion is false or with a reckless disregard of whether or
not the assertion is false.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the public voting record of a candidate who was previously a member of the
legislature includes a vote of that candidate recorded in committee minutes or in journals of the senate or the house of
representatives. Failure of a person to verify a public voting record is evidence of the person's
willful or negligent conduct
reckless disregard if the statement made by the person or the information provided to the candidate is false.
(4) A person violating subsection (1) or (2) is liable in a civil action brought by the commissioner or county attorney pursuant to 13-37-124 for an amount up to $1,000. An action pursuant to this section is subject to the provisions of 13-37-129 and 13-37-130."
Section 2. Repealer. Section 13-35-233, MCA, is repealed.
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Latest Version of SB 292 (SB0292.ENR)
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