When he’s not working diligently to keep his rental tenants in poverty with his hand out at their doors, he’s working in the House to make sure they can join the growing unhoused community in Great Falls. That’s right, Great Falls’ reigning Dairy King and local landlord, Rep. Steven “Mr. LOLA” Galloway, is heading legislation (HB-282) to speed up the eviction process for renters in Montana.
Specifics noted in the bill include:
- Protections for landlords to issue 24 hour notices for property access or to correct rental agreement violations with tenants facing eviction proceedings within 3 days for refusing property access.
- Putting extra stress on our already overloaded courts by significantly shortening the filing due dates and hearing scheduling windows. Meaning, where courts and tenants typically had a cushion of anywhere from 10-20 days before, multiple lines of Sections 70-24 and 70-33, MCA have been amended to an allowance of only 5 days instead.
Interestingly, or maybe better put – strategically, in reference to the 24 hour notices, there are no exceptions for tenants who may be working out of town, be hospitalized, on vacation, or otherwise. In sum, tenants who are working hard, severely ill, or enjoying time off away from home can find themselves in the crosshairs of their landlord’s impatience.
Rep Galloway was quoted by Montana Public Radio as saying this legislation is an attempt at “alleviating the stress on the judicial system that has more pressing issues”, but if that’s truly the case, why shorten their working time? With Rep. Galloway himself identifying that our courts have more pressing issues, these amendments read as a greasy attempt at further overwhelming the courts and floating their eviction actions with little to no pushback.
While some supporters of the bill say this proposed legislation will be used for “worst case scenarios”, anyone with any kind of sense can see that this is the first of many blows to deliberately weaken already feeble tenant’s rights, and Rep. Steven Galloway is more than happy to be the champion of those endeavors.