Court Rules Marsy’s Law to Take Effect in July

Constitutional amendment did not include an effective date

By Molly Priddy

HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that a voter-approved constitutional initiative known as Marsy’s Law will take effect July 1.

The constitutional amendment setting rights for crime victims did not include an effective date, leading to a disagreement when election results were certified in December.

The initiative’s organizers and the Montana attorney general’s office argued the measure is self-executing and should take effect immediately. The ACLU of Montana and city and county government associations asked the state’s high court to decide the issue.

Tuesday’s 5-0 Supreme Court decision cites a Montana Constitution provision that says a constitutional amendment becomes effective on the first day of July unless the amendment states otherwise.

Initiative organizer Chuck Denowh said Wednesday he hopes officials across the state use that time to plan and begin implementing the necessary changes.

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