Committee tables Earl Old Person memorial, citing ‘unwritten rule’

Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet tribe sings an honor song in honor of all the graduates during the start of the ceremony.

PARKER SEIBOLD Missoulian

The Montana Senate on Friday approved a “blast motion” to hold a second reading for a bill that would establish a Chief Earl Old Person Memorial Highway on the Blackfeet Reservation.

The second reading, where senators will debate the bill, will occur on Monday, Jan. 16.

Sen. Susan Webber, D-Browning, motioned on Friday to “blast” Senate Bill 120 from committee, where it was tabled. A “blast motion” allows a bill that was tabled in committee to reach the floor for a full vote.

Senate Bill 120 directs the Department of Transportation to install two signs along U.S. Hwy 89 and to include the memorial highway name on the next publication of the state map. The cost of the project is estimated to be $4,437.

Old Person, who died in 2021 at 92, was the longest-serving elected tribal leader in the nation. Lawmakers, tribal members and others spoke in support of the bill Thursday, citing Old Person’s

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