Governor Gianforte Champions New Laws to Promote Public Safety, Strengthen Schools

Governor's Office
  • June 09 2023

POLSON, Mont. – Continuing his third annual 56 County Tour in Flathead and Lake counties, Governor Greg Gianforte today championed new laws to promote public safety and strengthen schools.

“Montanans want greater opportunity, good-paying jobs, the best education possible for their kids, affordable, accessible, high-quality health care, attainable housing, and safe communities,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I’m proud we delivered on their priorities this session, making our families, schools, communities, and state stronger.”

HB256 and HB791 Signing

Gov. Gianforte ceremonially signing House Bills 256 and 791 in Kalispell

At the Flathead County Courthouse this morning, Gov. Gianforte ceremonially signed two bills to build safer, stronger communities.

Sponsored by Representative Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell, the two bills increase penalties for fentanyl traffickers and support auxiliary law enforcement officers as they serve and protect their communities, respectively.

Since 2019, Montana has experienced an 11,000 percent increase in fentanyl seizures. Cracking down on drug dealers and investing in law enforcement are top priorities of the Gianforte administration.  

“My family has been a part of the Kalispell community for over 100 years,” Rep. Sprunger said. “Thanks to law enforcement officers, we are ensuring our community remains vibrant and safe for a hundred more.”

Congressman Ryan Zinke joined the governor, Rep. Sprunger, and law enforcement officers at the event.

Traveling to Lake County this afternoon, Gov. Gianforte championed two new pro-student, pro-parent, pro-teacher education laws at Linderman Elementary School in Polson.

Teacher Education Laws

Gov. Gianforte, pictured with Rep. Reksten [center] and Sen. Salomon [right], addressing Polson students, parents, and educators

The governor ceremonially signed House Bill 321, sponsored by Rep. Linda Reksten, R-Polson, increasing funding for school districts to invest in maintenance and capital improvement projects.

“I am pleased and honored that the governor has signed the bill to fully fund our schools while reducing the taxpayer burden,” Rep. Reksten said at the event.

Earlier this year, Gov. Gianforte funded Montana’s K-12 public education system at record levels.

Gov. Gianforte also ceremonially signed Senate Bill 373, carried by Sen. Dan Salomon, R-Ronan, making it easier for qualified professionals to teach in Montana.

“A lot of our schools in rural Montana have a hard time finding teachers, like the governor said. This is a long-term, practical solution for our students and for the folks already living in the communities they are going to teach in,” Sen. Salomon said.

The governor’s 56 County Tour continues this afternoon in Missoula.