By all accounts, football star O.J. Simpson never had a direct connection with Montana.

Simpson, who passed away this week from cancer at the age of 76, was certainly celebrated by Montana football fans during his award-winning collegiate football career, and his time in the NFL. We enjoyed his movies, and along with the rest of the world, we watched transfixed during his infamous double murder trial in the 1990s.

There was also one specific connection made by the Montana Legislature within the past decade. And it's a connection once seen as important to crime victims in the Treasure State.

RELATED: O.J. Simpson Succumbed to Cancer at Age 76

Alt 95.7 logo
Get our free mobile app

Simpson's celebrated trial left a lasting impact

Simpson's 1995 trial, and subsequent acquittal for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and friend Ron Goldman, kept everyone glued to the TV for weeks. It was one of the true national viral moments in the early days of the Internet, at the height of cable television's influence and long before social media.

It also had a long-reaching impact on criminal law, specifically involving domestic violence.

It took a while for Montana to react

While other states used the case to adjust laws, it wasn't until 2015 that a law change was proposed that was spurred by evidence in the Simpson case.

That year, Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton introduced a bill that would have allowed past accusations of domestic violence to be entered into evidence at a subsequent proceeding, similar to how evidentiary law was changed in California.

Rep. Matthew Monforton, 2015; MT Legislature photo
Rep. Matthew Monforton, 2015; MT Legislature photo

The proposal sparked concern from lawmakers

Monforton argued that he trusted juries to be "capable of sifting through evidence" and "finding the truth".

The bill did pass the House 55 to 45 but was criticized by other Republicans and Democrats for being too broad, allowing cases to expand beyond specific accusations to a defendant's character. It moved over to the Senate but died in committee.

10 Years of Data: Montana's Alcohol Consumption

Montanans are known for drinking alcohol but what does the data say? These results come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaire and include 10 years of responses.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data [online]. 2015.

Gallery Credit: Ashley