January 2, 2013 in City

Hutterites must pay workers’ comp

Associated Press
 

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 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus