Legislature OKs Bill to Close Montana Developmental Center

Proponents say years of assault and neglect have left the state with no other option than to close the facility

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — The Montana Legislature has passed a proposal to phase out the Montana Developmental Center.

Senate Bill 411 passed a final vote of 44-6 in the Senate Thursday.

Proponents say years of assault and neglect have left the state with no other option than to close the facility, which employs about 250. The proposal would move the Boulder patients to community-based setting by July 2017.

Lawmakers heard emotional testimony on both sides of the issue from family members of some of the facility’s 50 intellectually and mentally disabled clients.

Members of the House originally rejected the bill, but reversed their decision after adopting an amendment from Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton. The amendment added family members, a budget specialist, a workforce representative and a county commissioner to a board that will help plan the transition.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.