MT lawmakers urge health department to rescind birth certificate rule
, 2022-05-26 14:01:22,
Democrats on a state Legislature interim committee sent a letter Thursday urging the Department of Public Health and Human Services to rescind an emergency rule it enacted this week that closed the door for transgender Montanans to update the sex on their birth certificates, arguing that the process of creating the rule was “anti-democratic and insulting to Montanans.”
The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Committee, made up of five Republicans and five Democrats, has oversight of DPHHS and emergency and temporary rules created by the agency. In the letter addressed to DPHHS Director Adam Meier, Democrats said the department violated “several sections” of state law when it implemented the emergency rule on Monday.
According to a Republican-sponsored law passed during the last legislative session, departments are required to “make a good faith effort to provide special notice” to committee members and staff before adopting an emergency rule. In this instance, the letter said, DPHHS failed to do so.
Democrats on the interim committee also said the agency misused its emergency rulemaking authority when it eliminated avenues for transgender Montanans seeking a birth certificate change. The same state law directs agencies to create emergency rules only “in circumstances that truly and clearly constitute an existing imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare that cannot be averted or remedied by any other administrative act,” and to provide substantiation of such emergencies in writing.
The laws governing emergency rules “are not merely hoops to be jumped through,” the letter continues, “but are meant to prohibit exactly…
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