The Montana Capitol with each of the state's tribal flags. (Eliza Wiley/Montana Free Press)

Dear MSSA Friends,

Good news.  MSSA’s bill for a constitutional referendum to prohibit the Board of Regents from exercising any powers that conflict with the Montana Constitution or state laws has been introduced by Rep. Jennifer Carlson as HB 197.  It has not been assigned a committee public hearing date yet.  That will happen soon, maybe later today.I highly recommend that you get on the Legislature’s Website, go to bill tracking, and set up what is called there a “Preference List” of bills you wish to follow.  You can also set this to automatically send you an email whenever something changes with a bill on your Preference List.You can enter items into your Preference List either by bill number (when we know them), or by “LC” number when the bill is in the drafting stage.  The LC# is a four-digit number attached to a bill draft request.  FYI, the MSSA-related LC#s on my Preference List are 0693, 1045, 1046, 1047, 1048, 1367, 1845, 2266, 4105, 4249, 4310, 0743, and 1074 (now introduced as HB 197).If you haven’t done so, please review the material I have provided about the legislative process and how to affect the progress of a bill.  See:

Finally, more exciting news.  For almost 30 years, MSSA has fielded the primary gun safety program for kids in Montana, our “Be Safe” program.  Be Safe is approved by the Legislature and the Superintendent of Public instruction, and is designed for kids in grades 1-3.  Since we kicked this off many years ago, we have printed and distributed an estimated 250,000 copies across Montana.  I have no idea how many lives of Montana kids MSSA has saved with this program, but surely some.  If you are interested in Be Safe, see more about it at:

I have long dreamed of making Be Safe available as an Online video, to make it more broadly available to all Montana kids.  MSSA has finally entered into a contract with an Online learning expert to produce an Be Safe video!!!!! (Yes, I’m excited!)

The only downside is that it will be expensive to get a quality job done with this new Be Safe video.  You know I hate to beg for money and almost always avoid that.  However, for Be Safe I will make an exception.  MSSA is accepting donations to help defray the cost of morphing Be Safe from paper to video.  A check can be mailed to MSSA at P.O. Box 4924, Missoula, 59806.  Be sure to put Be Safe in the memo line.

Unfortunately (or not), this donation is NOT tax-deductible, since MSSA has always avoided the political handicap of becoming a tax exempt 501(C) under federal law.

It is also possible to donate electronically via MSSA’s new membership portal at:

FYI, MSSA has already spent over $20,000 to upgrade Be Safe to video, so that’s the size of expense we are trying to recover.  Thanks so much for any help you can provide.

That’s enough for now.  You will be getting more email from me as the legislative session heats up and more MSSA bills get introduced.  Stay tuned and PLEASE watch for MSSA emails.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, president

By mssa