HELENA — With the signing of House Bill 619, Montana joins 20 other states in passing legislation for deaf and hard-of-hearing kids.
On Thursday, July 13, a press conference was held outside the capitol to celebrate the passing of the legislation.
Governor Gianforte signed this bill into to law on May 18, 2023. The goal of the law is to prevent language deprivation and to support academic and literacy readiness for those kids.
“The work this volunteer committee will do all lay the foundation for good thing to continue long after they sunset. they will work will OPI and DPHHS to create an unbiased parent resource on language developmental milestones for both spoken English and American sign language,” said Katie James, a stakeholder.
This committee will also support the distribution of those resources, create language assessments for those children, and serve as a resource and support for those assessments.
Under the new law Montana families of deaf and hard of hearing children ages zero to nine, will now have access to resources and regular monitoring of their child's language development.
The law is modeled after national LEAD-K legislation that ensures deaf and hard-of-hearing kids have a strong language foundation for success in school.
“I’m very grateful for Montana changing for deaf kids and hard of hearing like me. Thank you,” said Levi, a hard-of-hearing child.