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Lake County Commissioners are asking Montana’s legislature to withdraw from an agreement that lets the state prosecute felonies for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
(PD)

Lake County Commissioners are asking Montana’s legislature to withdraw from an agreement that lets the state prosecute felonies for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Feds Dismiss Tongue River Railroad Permit
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A yearlong federal review shows coal sales from public lands need to be modernized to deal with climate change and give taxpayers a fair return. The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year. It's now considering raising royalty rates and requiring compensation from mining companies to offset coal's effect on climate change.

The comment period for the "quiet waters" initiative ends Feb. 12, 2017.
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The last of several public hearings on proposed changes to the way Montanans use motors on some streams and rivers happen tonight in Helena and Great Falls. There have been four public comment meetings on the "quiet waters" initiative so far.

Keith Regier (R) SD-3
Montana Legislature

A new bill in Montana's Senate would decrease the amount of information people who donate to political campaigns must reveal to the public.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Keith Regier from Kalispell says he doesn’t think donors should have to share their employer or occupation when giving money to a political candidate or committee:

Whitefish, MT rail depot.
Flickr user Roy Luck (CC-BY-2)

The neo-Nazi website proposing an armed march through Whitefish on Martin Luther King Day now says it's postponing its planned demonstration, after failing to submit a complete event permit application earlier this week.

Capitol Connections: Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Jan 11, 2017

State Attorney General Tim Fox has made investigating, enforcing and prosecuting crimes related to human trafficking a priority. In this week’s Capitol Connections, Fox talks about why this issue is important to him and the Montana Department of Justice.

In part two of the program, Senator Diane Sands, D-Missoula, provides an update on the work to update Montana’s sexual assault laws. In the 2015 session, Sands sponsored the bill to study sexual assault. She’s also a member of that Law and Justice Interim Committee that worked on a package of bills working their way through the 2017 session.


Libby superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

People living in Libby and Troy have until the end of March to contact the Environmental Protection Agency to have their houses checked for asbestos contamination for free. The EPA issued a "last call" notice Monday.

Budget Cuts Threaten Human Trafficking Investigations

Jan 11, 2017

Possible budget cuts to the Department of Justice could force investigators to cancel proactive investigations into allegations of human trafficking in Montana. It was just one of the impacts brought to lawmaker’s attention if a 5% budget reduction is adopted.

The 2017 Legislature is faced with a dwindling savings account and slower revenue growth as they work to balance the state’s budget for the coming biennium. Joint House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are delving now into the agency’s budgets.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pushed back its target date for a formal decision on whether to take Yellowstone-area grizzly bears off of the endangered species list.
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pushed back its target date for a formal decision on whether to take Yellowstone-area grizzly bears off of the endangered species list. Last year the agency said it hoped to issue that decision by the end of 2016. Now it’s saying July is more likely.

Ellie Hill Smith (D) HD-90, is the sponsor of House Bill 129.
Mike Albans

Representative Ellie Hill Smith, a Missoula Democrat, says across the country more states are creating laws making it illegal to share explicit images or videos of a person without their consent:

"Non-consensual pornography transforms unwilling individuals into sexual entertainment for strangers," Hill Smith says. "Vengeful ex-partners or opportunistic hackers can upload an explicit image of a victim to a website where thousands of people can view it and hundreds of other websites can share it in a matter of minutes."

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