Feds deny Montana request to delay driver’s license law
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Federal homeland security officials say Montana residents won’t be allowed to use their driver’s licenses to access military bases, power plants and federal facilities starting Jan. 30.
And unless the state commits to meeting the requirements of driver’s license rules under the federal Real ID Act, its residents will need another form of identification to board commercial aircraft in 2018.
Alain Bersin and Philip McNamara of the Department of Homeland Security sent Gov. Steve Bullock a letter Tuesday rejecting the governor’s request to delay implementation of the 2005 federal law.
The law was passed to prevent terrorism and identity theft.
The state Legislature voted in 2007 not to comply with the federal law over concerns of federal overreach and that personal information could be breached.
Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox say Montana licenses are secure.
Yellowstone National Park sees increase in lake trout kill
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone Lake has had another record year for lake trout removal after about 366,000 of the nonnative trout were netted and killed to make way for the fishery’s native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
The Billings Gazette reports that only 315,000 lake trout were taken last year. Intensive efforts to remove the invasive fish have been ongoing since 2012.
The National Park Service’s latest attempt to find a way to kill lake trout eggs is by dumping the dead nonnative fish on the eggs. The process has so far proved successful, killing all the embryos over the course of about two weeks.
Populations of native fish are slowly increasing in the lake’s tributaries, with numbers in Clear Creek totaling 750, up from the 500 to 600 fish counted in 2008.
The Latest: Second lawsuit seeks to fix initiative mistake
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Another medical marijuana advocacy group is trying to undo a mistake in a voter-approved medical marijuana ballot initiative that delays dispensaries from reopening for eight months.
The Montana Cannabis Industry Association on Tuesday asked District Judge James Reynolds of Helena to rule that the initiative to lift a three-patient limit on medical marijuana providers should be effective immediately.
Voters approved the initiative earlier this month, but because of an error in drafting the measure, it doesn’t take effect until July 1.
Earlier Tuesday, four medical marijuana patients and a different advocacy group released a draft update to a lawsuit they filed in September that will ask Reynolds to block the three-patient limit until the initiative takes effect.
Marijuana dispensaries across the state shut down on Aug. 31 when the three-patient limit took effect.
Woman charged with stabbing man accused of molesting sons
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A north-central Montana woman is charged with assault with a weapon after she reported stabbing the grandfather of her sons, who was accused of molesting them.
The man was charged on Nov. 10 and was free after posting bail when he was stabbed on Saturday. It wasn’t clear how the woman and the grandfather were related.
Court records say the woman drove to a fire station where she reported stabbing the man in the neck and back. Officers found him and took him to the emergency room.
The woman had reported her sons’ allegations to police on Nov. 3.
Both she and the grandfather have made initial court appearances and have requested public defenders.
The Associated Press is not identifying either party to avoid identifying the victims of sexual abuse.
Wilsall hunter died of apparent accidental gunshot wound
LIVINGSTON, Mont. (AP) — Park County officials say a 37-year-old Wilsall man who died during a hunting trip last week may have been killed when his rifle discharged as he tried to cross a fence.
Gavin Peck was found dead late on Nov. 15 near his vehicle northeast of Wilsall, several hours after he was reported missing.
Sheriff Scott Hamilton says the coroner will likely release Peck’s cause of death after the state crime lab completes testing on the rifle.
Officers investigating homicide near Butte
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Butte-Silver Bow law enforcement officers are investigating a homicide at a residence west of Butte.
Sheriff Ed Lester says 59-year-old Stanley Gene Booker was found dead on Sunday afternoon. Officers did not say how Booker died, but said his death is being investigated as a homicide.
Anyone with information about Booker’s death is asked to call the sheriff’s office.