Montana Supreme Court: Hutterites must pay workers' compensation

2013-01-01T10:00:00Z Montana Supreme Court: Hutterites must pay workers' compensationThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 01, 2013 10:00 am  • 

HELENA — A divided Montana Supreme Court says forcing a Hutterite religious colony to pay workers' compensation insurance for jobs outside the commune is not an unconstitutional intrusion into religion.

Monday's 4-3 decision upholds a 2009 law requiring religious organizations to carry workers' comp insurance. The Legislature passed the law after businesses complained they couldn't outbid the Hutterites.

The Big Sky Colony sued, saying the law targeted its religion and infringed on its beliefs. Its members have no personal property and make no wages as part of their communal living, and a member that makes a claim against the colony would be excommunicated.

The majority ruled the law did not interfere with their religious practices.

Retiring Justice James Nelson says the law violates the First Amendment to appease a powerful industry.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. idiot state
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    idiot state - January 01, 2013 11:58 am
    Montana, which trails all neighboring states in its low income, low growth, anti business status, should follow and try to imitate more successful states. Politicians are bought and paid for by the labor unions there, but a good goal for Bullock would be to make Montana a Right to Work state. It'll never happen, of course. Politicians can't bite the hand that feeds them. So Montana will continue to be the dopiest (literally) state in the region. But hey - it's a great place to fish!!!
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