Bad Bill Bob's Commentary on SB9
For over the last 8 sessions this bill has been introduced.
And here it is again.
If passed this bill will require all drivers of vehicles to wear seatbelts,
or else they will be given a citation. In some states these tickets can exceed $200. This
is called the primary seatbelt law. Only 28 states have such a law. The big push by the
federal government (Transportation Department) began with an order from President
Clinton to request all states to pass primary seatbelt legislation.
Everytime this bill has been introduced in MT, it has been at the request of the Attorney General.
In a previous session, 28 associations testified in favor of it. While a handful of private
citizens opposed it. It ultimately failed in committee. And in preparation for one
session, the Attorney General worked with others in a massive campaign to push for this
issue. The AG and fellow democrats have organized a website and begin advertising
campaigns on television across the state.
There is no doubt that seatbelts can save lives in some accidents. But the issue here is
personal responsibility. It has never been the role of government to issue citations to
citizens for doing things that government does not agree with.
To sum up this issue, previous Republican Platforms state it the best:
"We oppose laws that would change Montana's seatbelt law from a secondary offense
to a primary offense. Montana drivers should be punished for driving in a reckless
manner, and not because the driver was driving in a safe manner, without wearing
This is a bad bill that should be defeated by citizens who favor personal responsibility,
rather than top-down government with more laws.