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Public records lawsuit filed against Gianforte

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (2) – 9/23/21

Gov. Greg Gianforte has been sued after failing to release Agency Bill Monitoring Forms created by Gianforte and his staff. Although the exact contents of the documents are not known, it is believed by the plaintiffs that they show whether the Gianforte administration believed bills advancing through the legislature had serious legal problems or were unconstitutional. Montana citizen Jayson O’Neill requested the Agency Bill Monitoring Forms from the Governor’s Office in May 2021, but the request was denied. The lawsuit claims that the public has the right to examine the documents under the Montana Constitution’s Right to Know provision—a constitutional directive that guarantees citizen access to documents and deliberations that public bodies use and produce in their decision-making process.

“These forms tell the story of what the Governor knew about bills that threatened Montanans’ constitutional liberties,” said attorney Raph Graybill in a press release from his firm. “Montanans have a constitutional right to observe the deliberations of their government. Montanans need to know whether the Governor’s Office knowingly signed off on unconstitutional legislation or otherwise played a role in creating and passing unsound and unlawful policies to the detriment of Montanans’ freedoms.”

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