Republican lawmaker wants to block mandatory diversity training for state Montana employees

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A Republican lawmaker in Montana wants to prohibit mandatory diverseness training for authorities labor pinch a measure whose connection matches a Florida rule that is temporarily blocked by nan courts.

The projected "Montana Individual Freedom Act," would prohibit diversity, equity and inclusion training arsenic a information of authorities employment if nan training is aimed astatine having nan worker judge that a group of group are responsible for "and must consciousness guilt, anguish, aliases different forms of psychological distress," for humanities injustices.

A House committee heard grounds Monday aft nan Senate passed nan measure connected statement lines.


"I find it absorbing and confusing that we're trying to legislate affectional responses," nan executive head of nan Montana Human Rights Network, Angelina Gonzalez-Aller, said Monday erstwhile she testified successful guidance to nan measure earlier a House committee.

"I person nary doubts that this is small much than a censorship effort rooted successful a coordinated nationalist effort to rotation backmost advancement connected group and social justice," Gonzalez-Aller had said past period erstwhile nan measure was heard by a Senate committee.

The sponsor, authorities Sen. Jeremy Trebas, said that nationally, diverseness training is getting excessively political. He did not propose that what he considered politically slanted training was taking spot successful Montana, but that his measure seeks to preempt it.

"I deliberation we request to activity connected definitions, past talk astir what's due to train and to whom we should beryllium training connected these topics," Trebas said.

Rep. Jeremy Trebas takes notes during a gathering successful Helena, Montana, connected Jan. 14, 2021. Trebas is sponsoring authorities that would artifact diverseness training for authorities employees.

Rep. Jeremy Trebas takes notes during a gathering successful Helena, Montana, connected Jan. 14, 2021. Trebas is sponsoring authorities that would artifact diverseness training for authorities employees. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

The House committee has not yet voted connected it.

"This measure is simply a gross mischaracterization of what is conventionally called DEI, aliases diverseness equity and inclusion workshops," said Chris Young-Greer pinch nan Montana Racial Equity Project.

"We attraction connected lifting up what each of america bring to nan array pinch respect to our very different and important backgrounds," she said Monday. "Diversity is nary much than acknowledging differences. Equity intends that we each get what we request to beryllium successful. And inclusion intends that each of us, nary matter our differences, are included, welcomed and accepted."

Opponents based on nan bill’s connection is word-for-word successful immoderate places for illustration Florida’s challenged Stop WOKE Act passed successful 2022.


Trebas' original measure was amended to make it clear nan chat of captious title mentation arsenic portion of world instruction was allowed — eliminating 1 of nan reasons Florida's rule was blocked. Critical title mentation is simply a measurement of looking astatine American history done nan lens of race.

Montana's administrative rules require nan Department of Administration to guarantee each caller labor person diverseness and inclusion, adjacent opportunity and harassment prevention training wrong 90 days of being hired. Employees must participate successful refresher training each 3 years.

Attorney Don Harris said nan section supports nan bill.

The effort to modulate diverseness training appears to person its roots successful executive orders issued by then-President Donald Trump successful September 2020, aft a summertime of protests complete group injustice successful policing.


The first bid banned payer dollars from being spent connected diversity training for national labor if nan training implies that anyone is racist aliases sexist based connected their race, activity and/or nationalist origin. He later expanded nan prohibition to training for nan military, authorities contractors and different national grantees.

Opponents based on nan bid prevented workplaces from addressing nan concepts of achromatic privilege, systemic racism and unconscious bias.

Trump's bid cited examples of specified training, including a position by nan Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of African American History & Culture that said, successful part: "If you place arsenic white, acknowledging your achromatic group personality and its privileges is simply a important measurement to thief extremity racism. Facing your whiteness is difficult and tin consequence successful feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, defensiveness, aliases fear."

President Joe Biden revoked Trump's 2nd executive bid connected his first afloat time successful office. The U.S. Department of Labor had already suspended nan bid arsenic it related to national labor aft a national tribunal successful California granted a preliminary injunction against nan order.