At its September 9 meeting, the Law and Justice Interim Committee members finalized their work plan for the interim and started three of the four studies assigned to the committee.

To start the HJ 36 study of compensation for wrongfully convicted persons, a recent exoneree and his father joined three other panelists to discuss the experiences of exonerees, share what other states and the federal government have adopted for compensation statutes, and make recommendations for Montana.

For the HJ 31 study of the Montana Board of Crime Control, the members heard from the board's presiding officer and the staff of the Crime Control Bureau about the board's current structure, duties and grant distribution processes. The LJIC's legal staff also presented an analysis of the Board's authority and legislative oversight after recent legislative changes to the board's structure and staffing.

Another study the LJIC is conducting during the interim is the SJ 19 study of the state's Sexual and Violent Offender Registry Act. The committee received an initial overview of the Act and its requirements and met a prosecutor at the state's Department of Justice who focuses on enforcing and improving the provisions of the registry act.

In addition to starting the interim studies, the committee members continued their agency oversight work by hearing updates from the Director of the Department of Corrections and from staff of the Department of Justice. The court administrator for the Judicial Branch also provided information to the LJIC. After hearing the update from the Department of Corrections, the committee chose to send a letter to the governor encouraging him to make appointments to the state's Criminal Justice Oversight Council. That letter, a recording of the entire meeting, and all materials are available at the LJIC's website:

Next Meeting: November 18, 2019 -- State Capitol

The Legislative News.