Another Great Falls Republican Bringing Legislation to Help Himself

First, we had Republican Senator Jeremy Trebas bringing a bill to exempt a building he owned from existing fire code regulation.

Then there is Representative Steven Galloway who is also a large landlord in Great Falls bringing numerous bills which promote his own business interests.

And now we have Republican Representative Scot Kerns introducing a bill to allow “expunging” the criminal record of certain individuals convicted of DUI. Turns out one of the people who could be allowed to clean up his criminal record would be Scot Kerns himself.  Here’s the story.

In September of 2021, police found Kerns “asleep” in his car with an open beer bottle “within an arm’s length” from him.  A witness reported that Kerns had been driving the car with the beer inside and had hit a curb before coming to a stop in the Smith’s Grocery parking lot. When the police arrived, Kerns refused a field-sobriety test. An officer informed him he was being detained and asked him to exit the vehicle, according to court records. The police officer’s report describes a scuffle and obstruction was added to the charges he faced. Kerns was prosecuted,  his license was suspended,  he was fined, and he was given a week under house arrest.  He has appealed the sentence, and it is currently pending in court.

Not surprisingly, Kerns disagrees with the witness account, saying he had left a party and decided he shouldn’t drive, so he parked and went to sleep. Kerns said his license has been reinstated, and he has undergone treatment.  

As a legislator, he has introduced several bills relating to DUI. Kerns’ House Bill 704 creates a presumption that a person convicted of a first-offense DUI, who was inside their car but not “in a gear that allows self-propulsion,” and who had not been involved in a collision, could get their record expunged.

Kerns said that, based on a discussion with his lawyer, he did not believe the new law would apply to him but was unable to explain further. He also failed to disclose to the committee hearing the bill that it could affect him personally, as is generally required when presenting a bill that affects the sponsor. All of Kerns’ bills relating to DUI enforcement have died.

For a complete story from Montana Free Press, follow this link.