The House Judiciary Committee on Monday passed one of multiple bills this session to hold sheriffs and other law enforcement officials harmless if they fail to enforce an order from a local health officer.
The committee voted 16-3 to pass Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick’s SB67, which changes a part of code that would charge police that don’t enforce the orders with a misdemeanor and leave them open to dismissal.
“It isn’t good public policy rationale to have them checking on septic tanks when they have to be worrying about robberies and burglaries,” said Fitzpatrick, R-Great Falls. Proponents of the proposal also worried that current statute could lead to elected officials like sheriffs being dismissed by appointed county health officers.
The Judiciary Committee had previously passed nearly identical legislation in the form of Rep. Paul Fielder’s HB144. That bill passed out of the full House last week, 73 votes to 26.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.