As you may know already, HB 264 was signed into law by Governor Gianforte yesterday. This was a concerted effort by many folks to help increase first responder safety on Montana’s roadways. While no bill is perfect, this creates a stronger penalty for the offender with the burden of proof being on them instead of the officer. It also always the first responders to utilize some tools to control speeds that we have never had before. There will be a concerted effort to update the TIMS trainings to get folks educated about how to best utilize the tools given in this new updated version of the Move over Law.
Special thanks goes out to Representative Ross Fitzgerald and Jim Hamilton. Representative Hamilton who is also a volunteer firefighter in Gallatin County was the Bill requester and he collaborated with Representative Fitzgerald to have Representative Fitzgerald sponsor and carry the Bill.
Representative Fitzgerald was instrumental in getting some agreed upon amendments drafted into the bill to may it palatable and get it passed through the House transportation committee unanimously and the through the House floor on a unanimous vote. It then advance tot eh Senate Transportation Committee and was passed out of that Committee on a 9 to 4 vote, with Senator Jeff Welborn out of Dillion carrying it on the Senate floor where it ultimately passed 42 to 6. It was then sent to the Governors office.
Again, a lot of work by a lot of folks. To Representatives Hamilton and Fitzgerald, and Senator Welborn, thank you! To the families of Nick Visser and Casie Allen who made several trips to testify on behalf of their family members who were killed unnecessarily doing their jobs, a heartfelt thank you! To the members of the Montana State Council of Professional Firefighters, who testified in support of the Bill and lobbied in its behalf, and to John Semple, the lobbyist for the Montana Fire Alliance, who also worked very hard to keep this Bill moving, thank you! Also to Jerry Prete representing TIMS and the Move Over Montana Facebook page, Jim Dusenberry on behalf of the Montana Towers Association as well as many of the other Associations that testified, the MSPOA, the Troopers Association, and any others that others that I may be forgetting, thanks to each and everyone of you!
Yesterday was a great day for helping to protect Montana’s First responders, even if just a little bit more. Nick and Casie…….job well done and RIP!