House Bill No. 260

Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act statutorily creating the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative commission; providing for the membership of the commission; describing the purpose and duties of the commission; assigning the commission to the office of the governor for administrative purposes; and providing for the initial appointments to the commission."

WHEREAS, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summoned from every Montanan and American qualities that guide and sustain the American spirit and our nation's commitment to equality, justice, freedom, and peace; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. awakened our national pride and the essential goodness of our people by leading an American nonviolent movement that enriched our moral purpose as a nation; and

WHEREAS, this human rights movement advocated nonviolent methods of social change in the struggle for justice, equality, and freedom and raised the consciousness of our country through Dr. King's personal dream of a nation where all people are judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was recognized on November 2, 1983, by the United States Congress and the President of the United States in the enactment of legislation establishing the third Monday in January as a national holiday in celebration of Dr. King's birthday, beginning in 1986; and

WHEREAS, the State of Montana recognizes the significance of Dr. King's life and accomplishments in human rights and, having adopted Senate Bill No. 78 in 1991 (Chapter 17, Laws of 1991), sets aside the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day; and

WHEREAS, Dr. King's legacy and ideals have been championed and continued through the Montana Human Rights Advisory Council and the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission, both created by executive orders.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative commission -- membership -- officers. (1) There is a Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative commission. The commission is assigned to the office of the governor for administrative purposes only.

(2) The commission is composed of no fewer than 7 and no more than 15 members appointed by the governor. Members serve for no compensation at the pleasure of the governor. The members shall, at a minimum, represent ethnic minorities, elected officials, and students, as well as groups associated with various religions, education, business, labor, youth, peace and justice, and civil and human rights.

(3) The commission shall elect a presiding officer and other officers as the members consider necessary.

(4) The commission shall meet upon the call of the presiding officer or upon request by a majority of commission members.

(5) A majority of the members constitutes a quorum for conducting business.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Purpose of commission -- duties -- report. (1) The purpose of the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative commission established in [section 1] is to:

(a) encourage appropriate ceremonies and activities honoring the legal holiday venerating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.;

(b) provide advice and assistance to individuals, governments, and private organizations concerning the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. day;

(c) work diligently to promote, throughout the state, education and awareness of the principles of nonviolence and respect for all human rights; and

(d) seek to involve all sectors, private and public, in a conscious effort to recognize, resolve, and resist racism.

(2) It is the duty of the commission to:

(a) facilitate workshops and training in human rights to be used by public and private sectors and school systems;

(b) develop a library of applicable data and resource materials;

(c) prepare and forward to the governor an annual report on the commission's activities and accomplishments during the previous year; and

(d) undertake other tasks, consistent with the purpose of the commission, that the governor may assign or that the commission considers necessary, prudent, or advisable.

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Codification instruction. [Sections 1 and 2] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 2, chapter 15, part 2, and the provisions of Title 2, chapter 15, part 2, apply to [sections 1 and 2].

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Transition. The governor shall make initial appointments to the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative commission created in [section 1] on or before October 15, 1997.