Bill to Punish ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Tabled

Bill would deny local governments their share of some state revenues if they declare themselves sanctuary cities

By Molly Priddy

HELENA — A bill seeking to punish so-called “sanctuary cities” in Montana has been tabled by a legislative committee just hours after being endorsed on the House floor.

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday afternoon set aside the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Derek Skees of Kalispell. The 11-11 tie vote means the measure does not go to a final vote on the House floor.

The bill would have denied state money to communities that provide safe haven to people who enter the United States illegally and fail to cooperate with authorities from the Department of Homeland Security.

The measure was controversial from the start, but managed to pass an initial House vote 58-41 earlier Wednesday.

It would have given $50,000 to the Montana Attorney General’s Office to enforce the law, and would have withheld oil and gas taxes, as well as some proceeds from coal.