ACLU Petitions Supreme Court Over Start Date of Marsy’s Law

Petition argues local governments need time establish and fund crime victim rights efforts

By Justin Franz

HELENA — The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana along with representatives of city and county governments are asking the state Supreme Court to declare that a voter-passed initiative regarding crime victims’ rights not take effect until July 1.

The state constitution says that any amendment approved by voters takes effect on the July 1 after it is passed, unless the amendment provides otherwise.

The ballot language approved by the attorney general’s office and included in the voter information pamphlet said if passed, Marsy’s Law would become effective immediately.

The petition filed Friday argues that the initiative itself did not include an effective date and that Attorney General Tim Fox misinterpreted a section that said the amendment is “self-executing.”

The petition argues local governments need time establish and fund crime victim rights efforts.

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