House endorses bill that would ban bullying in schools
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana has moved one step closer to joining every other state in the country in making anti-bullying policy law under a bill endorsed by the House.
House Bill 284, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kimberly Dudik of Missoula, passed on second reading by a vote of 74-26 Wednesday.
The bill would define bullying, ban it in public schools and require public school districts to adopt their own policies addressing the issue. The bill has also been amended to give it more teeth as one lawmaker said, allowing parents and students the ability to bring action in court against a bully.
The measure would explicitly define bullying as any repeated harassment, hazing or threatening online or in person.
If it passes third reading, the bill will go to the Senate for consideration.
Effort to seize Nebraska land for pipeline remain on hold
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The company trying to build a pipeline to carry Canadian oil south to the Gulf Coast says its efforts to force Nebraska landowners to agree to the project remain on hold because of several pending lawsuits.
Earlier this month, a Holt County judge issued a temporary injunction blocking TransCanada’s eminent domain efforts there. Company spokesman Mark Cooper says a York County judge is expected to issue a similar order Thursday.
Cooper says TransCanada plans to ask judges in seven Nebraska counties to delay action on its other eminent domain cases until the lawsuits are resolved.
The proposed pipeline still needs presidential approval before it could be built across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to connect with existing pipelines. It would carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
Montana man pleads guilty to killing grandmother with chair
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man has pleaded guilty but mentally ill to beating his grandmother to death with a chair in December 2013, shortly after he was released from the state psychiatric hospital.
Tyler Dan Perry entered his plea to deliberate homicide Tuesday under a deal with prosecutors.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks says the plea agreement calls for a 60-year commitment to the psychiatric hospital when Perry is sentenced on May 12.
Prosecutors charged the 25-year-old Perry with killing his 72-year-old grandmother, Carol Perry, while she was lying on the couch watching television.
Court records say Tyler Perry told investigators his grandmother had a “third eye” and that “everybody knew we had to bash her over the head.”
Supreme Court upholds restitution in kidnapping case
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has rejected a Glasgow man’s arguments that he should not have to pay restitution for his kidnapping victim’s mental health counseling because it is being paid for by state-assisted programs.
The court, in a 5-0 ruling Tuesday, found that Richard Joseph Jenkins should be held responsible for $18,000 in potential counseling costs for Connie Sharp.
Jenkins was convicted in April 2012 of kidnapping, assault with a weapon and intimidation for cutting Sharp with a knife, burning her with cigarettes, tying her up and threatening to throw her into the river if she refused to drive him to Kalispell.
Sharp was able to escape in Havre.
The court ruled that when Jenkins starts paying restitution, the state programs that covered Sharp’s counseling costs can seek to recover that money from Sharp.