Senate rejects Montana Developmental Center bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm •  Published: March 21, 2013

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state Senate has rejected an attempt to revive legislation to downsize or even close a state-run center for the developmentally disabled.

Senate Bill 254 dealing with the Montana Developmental Center had been tabled in committee but Democratic Sen. Mary Caferro of Helena attempted to bypass the committee and move it to the Senate floor Thursday.

The measure failed 26-23.

Bill supporters say center staffers have shown a "pattern of abuse" underlined in 2010 when a staffer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a center resident.

They say the center is a remnant of a time past and its residents should be integrated into community centers.

Opponents of the bill say the center serves people with serious behavior problems. They question the capability of smaller facilities to adequately serve them.