Montana State Legislature

HJ 48 - Study of Facial Recognition Technology


Legislative Council assigned the House Joint Resolution No. 48 study to the Economic Affairs Interim Committee. The study ranked fourteenth among the polled studies.

Final Report

Behind the Mask: HJ 48 Study on Facial Recognition Technology 

October 2022:

The committee held an ad hoc meeting after an article was published regarding facial recognition technology in schools. While not required in the HJ48 study resolution, individual legislators were interested in hearing testimony on the subject in order to gather information for potential individual legislation. Panelists included the Sun River Valley School District, the Office of Public Instruction, the Montana School Board Association, and the School Administrators of Montana.

October meeting materials:

September 2022:

The committee reviewed the draft final report and final version of PD0002, listened to public comment on the study as a whole, and then held a work session to conclude the study. PD0002 was moved to advance as a committee bill with unanimous support, with Senator Bogner offering to sponsor the bill. A motion was made to advance PD0011, which was a draft considered at the August meeting but not on the agenda for the September meeting. The committee discussed the bill at length and the motion failed on a roll call vote of 4-6. Finally, the committee moved to adopt the final report to conclude the study, and the report was adopted on a 9-1 vote.

September meeting materials

August 2022:

The committee reviewed the draft final report and listened to public comment on all of the committee bill drafts for the study, PD0002, PD0007, and PD0011. The committee voted to make changes to PD0002 based on the recommendations from the current legislative advisory council member, and directed staff to present those changes at the September meeting. Members of the committee moved to advance PD0011 as the version of the main committee bill for the study, but the motion did not pass. 

August meeting materials

July 2022:

The committee held a stakeholder panel to collect feedback on draft bill PD6-HJ48-2 and the idea of a moratorium on facial recognition technology use by state and local government agencies in Montana. Stakeholders invited were the: Department of Administration, Department of Corrections, Department of Justice, Department of Labor & Industry, Compliance Monitoring Systems, Montana Association of Chiefs of Police, Montana County Attorneys Association, Montana Police Protective Association, and Montana Sheriff & Peace Officers Association. The stakeholders provided responses to questions the committee provided prior to the meeting, and answered follow-up questions from committee members. After public comment and committee discussion, the committee moved to submit additional amendment ideas to staff for PD6-HJ48-2 to review at the August 2022 meeting.

July meeting handouts: 

June 2022:

The committee held a work session to review two provisional bill drafts. The committee reviewed a memo of draft options and the draft bill for PD2-HJ48-1 and voted on options for additional provisions for the bill. The committee will review an updated version of PD2-HJ48-1 at either the August or September 2022 meeting. The committee then reviewed a memo summary and the draft bill for PD6-HJ48-2, listened to public comment on the bill, and held a lengthy discussion on if it should move forward. The committee requested staff to schedule a stakeholder meeting in July 2022 for further discussion on the direction of the bill.

April 2022:

The committee held a work session to review potential policy options for a committee bill. After reviewing the staff briefing paper, hearing public comment, and committee discussion, the committee requested staff to prepare two provisional draft bills for the June meeting:

  • A committee bill to update the advisory council appointment process in 44-5-501, MCA. 
  • A committee bill to establish general policies for government use of facial recognition technology.

February 2022:

The committee held a Q&A panel for the Montana Fusion Center, Nlets, and, regarding privacy policies, access to, and security of data, including personally identifiable information and biometric information. The committee also listened to a presentation by Clearview AI on the use of facial recognition technology for criminal investigations. Staff provided a briefing paper on privacy policies for facial recognition in Montana. The committee decided during its work session to request further information from and the Department of Labor and Industry, who has a contract with The committee also decided to begin looking at policy ideas for a committee bill and requested time at the next meeting to begin developing those ideas.

February meeting handouts:

Work session handouts:

Follow-up questions:

November 2021:

The committee heard from the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Justice on how those agencies use facial recognition technology for identity verification purposes for unemployment insurance and within the motor vehicle division. Staff also provided a briefing paper on the difference between facial verification (one-to-one matching) versus facial identification (one-to-many matching). The paper included information on the Department of Correction's use of facial verification software through a contracted vendor's services. After the presentations by the agencies, public comment, and discussion by the committee, the committee requested the following:

  • More information on the privacy policies, access to, and security of data by:
    •, the contracted provider of facial verification software for the Department of Labor & Industry
    • the Fusion Center, and
    • the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS)

November meeting handouts:

September 2021:

The committee reviewed a background paper on facial recognition technology and discussed study topic ideas and a suggested timeline

Study topics chosen by the committee:

  • Use of facial recognition technology by state agencies, including uses in investigations and criminal actions in Montana, and uses for unemployment insurance fraud.
  • Security of facial recognition data and data sharing among local, state & federal agencies.
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