HELENA – The state Justice Building is now named after the late Attorney General Joe Mazurek under a bill signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday.
Bullock, surrounded by a large crowd of Mazurek’s family, friends and former staff, along with Attorney General Tim Fox, made it official at a ceremony in the governor’s reception room.
Both the Senate and House passed Senate Bill 258 by near-unanimous, bipartisan margins. The new law took effect immediately.
Mazurek, attorney general from 1993 to 2001, died in August 2012 of Alzheimer’s disease. He previously served in the state Senate for a dozen years and as its president in 1991-1992.
Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich, R-Bozeman, sponsored the bill at Fox’s request. Rep. Galen Hollenbaugh, D-Helena, guided it through the House.
The bill also authorizes the installation of a three-level water feature and artwork commemorating Mazurek in the garden area next to the stairs on the southwest side of the Justice Building’s main entrance. Money for the project will be raised privately to cover the water feature and artwork, including its installation and maintenance.
Bullock ran Mazurek’s campaign for governor in 1992 and worked for him at the Justice Department as assistant attorney general and later as his acting chief deputy.
“I’m incredibly honored to sign SB258 renaming the Justice Building the Joe Mazurek Building and authorizing a fountain at the front of the building,” Bullock said. “This will be a fitting tribute to Joe – to his dedication, his high ethical standards and his boundless enthusiasm for life and for serving the people and the state he loved.”
Fox said he requested the legislation because Mazurek was “a model statesman.”
“When he passed away last year, I lost a friend and mentor, and Montana’s civic life lost a treasure beyond comparison,” Fox said. “Gov. Bullock and our state legislators have my gratitude and deserve the thanks for all Montanans for giving Joe and his family this special honor.”
First lady Lisa Bullock will lead the fundraising effort for the project. The Helena Rotary, where Mazurek was a longtime member, will handle the accounting.
Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to Joe Mazurek Memorial Fund, Helena Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 333, Helena, MT 59604.
Tom Mazurek, the eldest of Mazurek’s three sons, expressed the family’s gratitude for the honor and thanked everyone who helped.
“My dad was an inspiration to all of us and we are extremely proud that his legacy will continue with the naming of the building that meant so much to him,” he said.
The building, located at 215 N. Sanders in Helena, houses the Montana Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s office, the State Law Library and the State Library.