Specifically MCA 10.3.104 provides emergency powers to the Governor to “control ingress and egress to and from an incident or emergency or disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises within the area.” Governor Bullock has illegally extended this to include the ability to shutter business and limit social interaction despite the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Federal law extends the rights codified in the Constitution to individuals, and requires that State law aligns with the Federal Constitution. Governor Bullock’s directives that limit the right to assemble are illegal, and poorly conceived.
2/28/2020 – OPI and DPHHS require schools to have a communicable or infections illness procedure that requires people with possible infections to be isolated and potentially evaluated by a local health department. Schools are encouraged to practice basic preventative measures.
3/3/2020 – Governor Bullock activates the China Flu task force.
3/12/2020 – Governor Bullock sends a letter to Montana business owners and managers. He touts his multi-agency task force, and asks for compassion and leniency in sick leave policies.
3/12/2020 – Governor Bullock declares a state of emergency due to the China Flu.
3/13/2020 – Montana Department of Corrections suspends visitation at all facilities.
3/14/2020 – The declaration of emergency is amended to align with the federal state of emergency, meaning that Montana’s emergency response will be in effect so long as federal authorities believe there is a continuing threat.
3/15/2020 – Governor Bullock closes public K-12 schools for two weeks – from 3/16 to 3/27. Note the following week is Spring Break.
3/15/2020 – Governor Bullock directs that:
- Gatherings are limited to 50 people.
- Organizers should refrain from planning new gatherings and cancel existing gatherings.
- Individuals should refrain from attending.
- Persons age 60 or older should not participate in any gatherings, especially those gatherings of more than 20 people.
- Persons who are immunocompromised or with chronic health conditions should not participate in any gatherings, especially those over 20 people.
- Parents should avoid, if possible, placing children for childcare with grandparents, family members, friends, or providers over the age of 60 or immunocompromised persons.
3/17/2020 – Governor Bullock announces that uninsured Montanans will receive China Flu testing and treatment.
3/17/2020 – Governor Bullock waives the one-week waiting period before receiving unemployment benefits.
3/17/2020 – Governor Bullock announces small business emergency loans of up to $20 million in 30-year loans at 3.75%.
3/19/2020 – Governor Bullock advises self-quarantine for international travelers.
3/20/2020 – Governor Bullock extends telemedicine to include people that don’t have access to video conferencing capabilities.
3/20/2020 – Governor Bullock closes dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses.
- Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other similar establishments.
- Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, special licensees, clubs, and other establishments offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
- Cigar bars
- Health clubs, health spas, gyms, aquatic centers, pools and hot springs, indoor facilities are ski areas, climbing gyms, fitness studies, and indoor recreation facilities.
- Move and performance theaters, nightclubs, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls.
3/23/2020 – Governor Bullock extends Montana’s tax filing deadline.
3/23/2020 – Governor Bullock temporarily waives the bidding process to procure or distribute emergency supplies or contract for additional space to care for patients. The directive also waves compliance with reporting requirements around the transfer of certain patients, and discharge of patients to get them back into their home without delay. This reduces the administrative paperwork burden for health care providers.
3/24/2020 – Governor Bullock provides local governments with the ability to suspend office hour requirements, set human resource policies that support health-affected local government employees, and suspend certain statutory deadlines during the emergency.
3/24/2020 – Governor Bullock extends the closure of schools, dine-in food service, and alcoholic beverage business through 4/10. He also mandates social distancing.
- Non-essential social and recreational gatherings are prohibited if social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Retail business are required to establish and enforce social distancing except at grocery stores, or health care facilities.
3/25/2020 – Governor Bullock allows counties to have “all mail elections” and expand early voting for primaries. The directive requires continued social distancing during voting activities. The Governor also extended the closure of voter registration until 10 days before the election.
3/26/2020 – Governor Bullock issues a stay at home directive effective 12:01 AM 3/28/2020 until 4/10/2020. This requires Montanan’s to stay at home and closes all nonessential businesses.
- All non-essential social and recreational gatherings are prohibited when social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Travel is limited to essential travel, and travel for essential activities.
- Essential activities are:
- For health and safety
- For necessary supplies and services
- For outdoor activity.
- For certain types of work
- To take care of others.
- Health care and public health operations are essential
- Human services operations are essential
- Essential infrastructure is not limited.
- Government is essential
- Essential business are:
- Stores that sell groceries and medicine
- Food and beverage production and agriculture
- Charitable organizations and social services – all business that provide food, shelter, and social services for economically disadvantaged and needy individuals.
- Gas stations and business needed for transportation
- Financial and real estate services and institutions – banks, etc.
- Hardware and supply stores
- Critical trades – building and construction
- Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services
- Laundry Services
- Restaurants for consumption off-premises
- Supplies to work from home
- Supplies for essential businesses and operations
- Home-base care and services
- Residential facilities and shelters
- Professional services
- Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries.
- Critical labor union functions
- Hotels and motels
- Funeral services
3/27/2020 – Governor increases capacity to transport by increasing the legal load weight by 10%, and relieving the “hours of service” requirements for truckers.
3/27/2020 – Governor Bullock waives out-of-pocket copayments for Health Montana Kids (CHIP), waives premiums for Medicaid, and allows immediate registration of out-of-state care providers.
3/30/2020 – Governor Bullock directs international and inter-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days if the trip was non-work. The National Guard is directed to conduct temperature checks at airports and rail stations: effective until 4/10/2020.
3/31/2020 – Governor Bullock prohibits landloards from terminating a lease or refusing to extend a lease. Late fees and other penalties due to late or nonpayment of rent are prohibited, in addition to rent increases. The directive stops foreclosures, liens, and late fees. Tenants are required to pay rent, and borrows must pay mortgages. Utilities may not be suspended, and prohibits late fees.
3/31/2020 – Governor Bullock offers financing to small hospitals.
4/1/2020 – Childcare facilities are deemed essential.
4/2/2020 – Governor Bullock directs that drivers license renewal and vehicle title and registration deadlines are extended.
4/2/2020 – Governor Bullock suspends new transfers into the Department of Corrections (COR), except where authorized by the Director. The Board of Pardons and Paroles considers early release for certain inmates.
4/7/2020 – Governor Bullock protects first responders by notifying them in advance of potential exposure to China Flue, if possible.
4/7/2020 – Governor Bullock waives the 2 mill levy for emergency relief. This is so Montana has access to Federal CARES funding. The Governor estimates that $1.25 Billion will provide by CARES in Montana.
4/7/2020 – Governor Bullock extends all 4/10 deadlines through 4/24/2020.
4/7/2020 – Governor Bullock sells $33 million state bonds at 1.56%. Remember bond rates are low when there is a lot of demand. Montana receives and AA+ rating from Fitch and Moody’s. This is the first bond sale that will total $80 million.
4/8/2020 – Governor Bullock receives FEMA funding for the National Guard’s response to the China Flu.
4/9/2020 – Governor Bullock directs the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, unicorns, friendly dragons and other magical creatures are essential, and may engage in any activity the deem essential as long as social distancing is maintained.